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The Next Generation of Homegrown Films

The Iraqi Independent Film Center came into being “because there is no place in Iraq to receive young filmmakers with a passion for making films,” explains its co-founder Mohamed Al-Daradji. Until the IIFC, that is, which Daradji, his brother Atia and Oday Rasheed created to fill that gap by providing professional training in filmmaking.

This July, the center brought six of its 15 students to Hollywood for shooting, writing, and editing workshops; by mid-October, each participant will begin shooting a short film to be shown at international festivals. One of these films, by Mohamed Ali, tells the true story of a small boy who struggles to cross a busy highway to retrieve what appears to be a football–only to become yet another victim of a roadside bomb.

“In my time, we had no chance or place from which to start our own projects,” Daradji says. “That’s why we’re trying to give young people this chance now–and we can see that this new generation is starting to realize their dreams.”

For more info – Iraqi Independent Film Center

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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