Iraq’s Filming Industry

Iraq’s Filming Industry before 2003 to 2004 War

Iraqi cinema industry started back in the 1909, though filmmaking did not go beyond a few films annually even then. The first movie that was projected in the nation was in the year 1909, but film industry became a cultural activity in the early 20s. The Baghdad Studio was established in the year1948, but afterwards, it split when disagreements arose between the co-founders who were both Jews and Arabs. In the film circle, the product was not after political gain but purely commercial, and films entailed fuzzy romances including plenty of artistic dances and songs in the scenes, which were often played in minor villages. Iraq brought the government’s film section into being in 1959 but merely produced two feature span films during the next era, along with which, they produced a few documentaries. Government financial support would have assisted the industry to jumpstart, but the industry was not regarded as of great importance towards Iraq’s economic growth and development. In fact, the latest complete span feature that was sponsored by the Government was in 1990. Self-determined film makers have thrived individually (Kami, 2012).The advancement of film making and film success in Iraq depicts the radical historical swings that Iraq nation has experienced in the recent past.


Throughout the 24-year reign of President Saddam Hussein from 1979, the filming business primarily functioned as a propaganda instrument in support of his Baathist ideology party. In addition, the industry had to produce fine art, music, and theatre works. The absorption of domestic resources during the 1980 Iran-Iraq conflict brought film making to near closure. The scarce films going through production highly concentrated on idolizing a mythic Iraqi past or rejoicing Hussein’s decree. Films concentrated largely on the 1980 to1988 Iraq-Iran warfare, depicting Iraq nation as the conqueror in the skirmish, which concluded as a stalemate and truce.

The prime of the film industry happened in the 1970s, when the state built its first playhouse, apportioned extra finances for full span movies, and involved Arab filmmakers to aid Iraq’s collapsing industry. The first colored film was made around this period.

Iraq on one occasion had 82 theatres, 64 of these situated in capital with approximately 7mln inhabitants of Iraq’s 30 million overall inhabitant amount. Gradually, they shut during the Saddam rein, when the state was in charge of the importation and assortment of films, up until only five persisted at the period of the attack ( “Iraq Aims to Revive Cinema!”, 2011).

Before the Iraq-Iran War in the 70’s, the filming industry received little or no financial support from the government. Financing proves to exist as a vital pillar for the filming industry to triumph in any nation and due to the security condition, which triggered many Iraqi entertainers and film producers to vacate the nation in pursuit of security.

Iraq’s Filming Industry after 2003 to 2004 War

After the U.S. controlled alliance and attack in 2003 and tumbled Saddam, movie records and tools were burgled, and later religious viciousness exhausted the nation of creative talent. Film making slackened to a crawl, and the set-up of the industry deteriorated. Workshops and cameras demolished into bad shape, and cinemas were closed. During this era of raids and attacks, films showing and detailing the anguish of Iraqi soldiers under U.S. captivity were greatly discouraged or even banned from the public eye. This war did not edify entertainment to clinch the peak, as films on war received zero attention in Hollywood.

The war in Iraq concurred with the onset of technological advancement, which provided soldiers with a leeway to broadcast digital films of missions that were undertaken within hours of accomplishing the tasks, with help of a cable system to deliver round- the- hour criticism from the rival nation and network’s warfare reporting.

Self-governing film production companies strained to obtain the crumbled archives, with specific distinguished achievements such as the secretly financed war film, Sonof Babylon, a creation that acquired a number of global awards and was nominated as Iraq’s official entrance for the year 2011 Academy Accolades. But the comeback of states financing meant a fresh twitch for several native directors, even though the financial aid was meager in comparison to universal standards. Under the state’s platform, financial backing for full span cinemas can scope as expensive as 1.25 billion dinars, whereas a short span film similar to A Mans Tear can obtain approximately 74 million dinars. Baghdad’s capital of Arabic culture has put in place a project in 2013, and the Iraqi Department of Culture focuses on this key industry on production of nineteen documentary and feature films in the struggle to revive Iraqi film making. So far the industry has seen through, two short span documentary films, The Cart, and Concrete, and progress on two other long feature films is programmed to be on Iraq’s screens soon (Al-Taie, 2012).

Within the agenda of arrangements to rebuild Baghdad as the center of Arabic culture coming year, the filming industry aims at finishing all the nineteen documentaries and long featured films now that they receive adequate financing from the state. The ministry apportioned ten billion dinars, which is equivalent to 8.6 million dollars, to finance the creation of the films. The ministry has initiated projects to rebuild movie cinemas and other playhouses, not forgetting the National Theatre and also the Al-Rasheed Theatre. Film officials also have a strategy to construct 40 theatres in school institutions, especially high schools and universities, and three quarters of the theatres have been completed.

After the Iraq War, the filming industry has received evident financial backing from the state, as compared to the industry’s earlier history. There are numerous film directors in Iraq now, most of whom returned to revive the industry. In collaboration with other nations, such as the United Kingdom, the industry has overwhelmingly improved. The films have greatly improved living in Iraq. The nation has become a more secure region, as movies encourage peace through pointing on topics as complex as Shi’ite and Sunni affairs and matters concerning family principle. Attraction of foreign film investors including French directors and French technical expertise on board is a healthy standing of the nation.

Prior to the war series, young people taking part in the film industry volunteered to raise money which would start renovations. This was to renovate a building provided for three years by the ministry of culture. They needed to build new film theaters and renovate the old ones (Arraf, 2010).

Point of View and Effects

One year after the U.S. troops left for America, Iraq’s oil industry has pumped barrels at the highest rate, compared to other oil mining nations. Normal life seems to be presenting signs of steadiness, and the state says that it can currently focus again on financing of the cinema industry.

Not everybody was impressed, and diaspora Iraqis, who returned to Iraq after 2003 to demonstrate techniques on film production, argued that the financial backing initiative was an exploitation agenda that was aimed at scoring highly in the political arena than endorsing home-grown filmmakers. The government’s endeavors required becoming encircled in a coordinated, continual scheme across all the arts. At a phase when the private economy is weak, the government is the key figure that can play a reinforcing role, a base to rekindle efficiency and productivity that can sprout over time. The industries officials engineer that joint efforts remain crucial towards gearing the film sector to success. The locals and the government, which are interested in cinema, have started a scheme on collecting funds which are assigned to produce films, and Iraq now has big budget cinemas. As per the leader of the ministry of film sector, only forty million Dinars, corresponding to more than thirty four thousand U.S. dollars, was apportioned to the cinema industry from the year 2004 to the year 2012.

Iraq’s filmmakers, musicians, artists, and entertainers also say that they endure the feeling of the constrictions of spiritual opposition in the present Iraq, with the presence of Islamist parties and local militia frustrating and trying to execute their deep-seated opinions of Islam on the film industry. The film industry is still facing plenty of challenges, as scenes for presenting cinemas are still few. While security has been enhanced, many citizens consider being cautious of public gatherings.

Citizens in Iraq view opening of a cinema as a way of livelihood and a way to make their daily bread. The Corroding cans of film loaded in teetering heaps and rotting in the high temperatures. These are part of Iraq’s film collections which were brought for protective custody by the Department of Culture before commencement of the 2003-2004 Iraq War. These archives depict Iraq’s heritage. Iraq film officials plan to gradually send the accumulated rejections of more than a hundred or so films that were directed at around 1946 to France to become refurbished. After the war, film directors view Iraq as Italy and Germany. The two nations after spans of war experienced deterioration in respective film industries (Arraf, 2010). Those producing and working on current films say that tight restriction and censorship during Saddam’s reign prohibited movie producers from trading freely on any themes, observing the key variation between producing films now and back then, which occurs, as nowadays there exists no taboos, whether it’s political propaganda, belief, or gender. The U.S Embassy that is situated in Baghdad hosted two well recognized American cinema executive directors in January 2013. This shows that relations between Iraq and United States of America have grown stronger, as compared to the past history. The links between the two nations inspire aspiring Iraq film producers. School institutions have as well been reinforced and cinema departments have been established within the institutions. A good example is the Baghdad University cinema department and the fine arts institutes, accommodating training for both girls and boys. Contributing to renovation and rebuilding Iraq’s film industry comprises a strategic framework of contract between the two nations.

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