Iraqi Mohamed Al-Daradji's movie IN THE SANDS OF BABYLON received the 5th Cinema in Motion Award yesterday at the San Sebastián International Film Festival (SSIFF). The award is worth about $50,000 in cash and services.
In the Program, San Sebastián's Cinema in Motion, together with Films in Progress, presented three films, one each from Iraq, Egypt and Palestine: IN THE SANDS OF BABYLON (Iraq) by Mohamed Al-Daradji; NOMAD'S HOME (Beit Sha’ar, Egypt) by Iman Kamel; and PORT OF MEMORY (Palestine-Germany) by Kamal Aljafari. Afterward, the participants in the program decided to grant their award to Al-Daradji.
Mohamed Al-Daradji (born in Baghdad, Iraq) is now a dual Dutch-Iraqi citizen. He studied theatre directing in Baghdad and fled to The Netherlands in 1995 where he specialized as a cameraman. Later, he graduated with a MA in cinematography in Leeds. He has created several short films and commercials.
One of his first features was AHLAAM, 2005, which took him back to Baghdad to film for four months while the war was raging. It was dangerous and difficult to film. Production was slowed as electricity would often fail. In 2006, the movie won the Brooklyn International Film Festival's Spirit Award. His other films include: SON OF BABYLON, 2009, and The Actors, Match Report and Chicken Soup, all in 2004.
For more about the SSIFF, see previous posts, and for more on the films in the 'Cinema in Motion' program, click title of this post. For all posts about SSIFF, click SSIFF in tags at bottom of this post.