War, Love, God, & Madness and Budrus at The Hague!

War, Love, God, & Madness and Budrus will be screening at the 2011 Movies that Matter Festival at The Hague!

War, Love, God, & Madness makes its Dutch premiere!

While visiting Iraq in 2007 for the premiere of his first feature film, Ahlaam, director Mohamed Al-Daradji summons the courage to look back over the turbulent past three years of his life and the making of his film in a volatile war zone.

Undaunted by ever present dangers and heartbreaking chaos, Mohamed returned to his home in Baghdad in 2004. The Iraq he had once known had vanished, replaced by the gritty aftermath of 35 years of dictatorship, three wars, and the wake of occupation. Finding the once vibrant streets consumed by unemployment, poverty, and madness, he strives to fulfill his dream of making a film in the country he loves.

Determined not to succumb to physical and emotional strife, Mohamed’s camera rolls on as the world begins to unravel around him. A spectrum of society previously sidelined by images of war is introduced to the audience: a young child sings for Saddam; a father grieves for his hanged son; a young actor thinks back on his time in prison; a troubled friend becomes lost in madness.

War, Love, God, & Madness shows the huge risks filmmakers in ‘liberated’ Iraq face. There is hardly any equipment, safety cannot be guaranteed on the set and crew members, including the director himself, are arrested and tortured.

Al-Daradji’s movie Son of Babylon will also be screened at the festival. This road movie is part of the Iraq’s Missing Campaign, an initiative from The Iraq’s Missing Persons Organisation, that was founded by the filmmakers to support the families of missing persons in Iraq: www.iraqsmissing.org

Budrus at The Hague

When the residents of Budrus learn that the Israeli army plans to build the Separation Barrier through their town, cutting them off from neighboring Palestinian villages and uprooting their precious olive groves, they decide to organize. Under the leadership of Ayed Morrar, Palestinian men of all political factions come together to wage an unarmed struggle to preserve their lands. Victory seems unlikely until Ayed’s 15-year-old daughter steps in to organize a female contingent that brings the women of Budrus to the front lines in a tense stand-off with the military.

As word of the nonviolent protest spreads, Israeli citizens, international activists and Palestinians from other villages join the people of Budrus to demand that the Barrier be moved. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known movement that is still gaining ground today.

Ayed Morrar is one of the ten human rights defenders featuring in the A Matter of ACT main programme and will attend the festival.

About the Festival

The Movies that Matter Festival is the Netherlands’ main platform for engaged cinema, with dozens of documentaries and movies of inspired film makers being screened every year. Films that stir the debate about human rights, human dignity and situations where these are at stake. The Movies that Matter Festival will present over seventy human rights films and documentaries from all over the world. Many films will be screened for the first and only time in the Netherlands. All films are English spoken or subtitled.

Reservations and ticket sales starts on March 10th.