55 films submitted for Baghdad festival

Around 55 films from across the Arab world, Europe and Asia have been submitted for screening at this month's Baghdad International Film Festival, organiser Ammar al-Arradi said.

55 films submitted for Baghdad festival

A committee will select the final line-up for the festival, which will be held at a Baghdad hotel, on the basis of "audience tastes, technical competence and humanitarian themes," said Arradi, head of the Association of Iraqi Filmmakers Without Borders which is organising the event.

The date of the festival, the first major cinematic event in the war-ravaged capital in more than two years, has been changed from mid-December to December 26-29, he added.

"Around 55 films were submitted to the festival, including features and documentaries as well as experimental and short films," Arradi said.

Countries which have sent in contributions include Egypt, France, Denmark, Belgium, Saudi Arabia for the first time, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Singapore, the Philippines, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

"Some of the films were screened in previous film festivals and won awards," Arradi said, declining to elaborate.

"Films will be showed from 9 am (0600 GMT) to 4 pm with one hour of rest," he added. "It's all that the security situation will allow at the moment."

The last movie festival in Baghdad was held in 2005, when 58 locally made short films were screened in crowded halls.

Entertainment, along with most other leisure pursuits, has come almost to a standstill with the vast majority of movie houses in Baghdad, once crammed with film-lovers, standing empty.

Iraq's film industry dates back to the 1940s and was at its most popular in the 70s and 80s, when cinema-going became a weekly family outing.

The 1991 Gulf war and the economic santions that followed it, however, saw theatres going into decline.

Since the 2003 invasion, the number of cinemas has been only a few now still keeping their doors open for an audience.

Middle East online

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Aralık 2007, 14:37