In a show of support for London-based British-Iraqi-Emirati filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi, actors of varying cultural backgrounds and ethnicities joined forces on May 24 for a staged reading of selected scenes from Pachachis latest film project Another Day in Baghdad, a fiction screenplay co-written with Baghdad-based novelist Irada Al Jabbouri and winner of the IWC Schaffhausen […]
In a show of support for London-based British-Iraqi-Emirati filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi, actors of varying cultural backgrounds and ethnicities joined forces on May 24 for a staged reading of selected scenes from Pachachis latest film project Another Day in Baghdad, a fiction screenplay co-written with Baghdad-based novelist Irada Al Jabbouri and winner of the IWC Schaffhausen Script Prize at Dubai International Film Festival in 2012.
Presented at the Royal Court Theatre as part of a fundraiser for Pachachis forthcoming film, the ninety-minute presentation kicked-off with the screening of documentary footage from the films recent Middle East test shoot and concluded with an informative Q & A offering insightful comments from the director about the state of the film industry in Iraq and the need for creating more opportunities for young Iraqis aspiring to act and make films there (a main goal of the fundraiser).
Warmly narrated by Ruth Lass who provided succinct descriptions of each scene the wonderful cast included established British actors such as Ben Whishaw (Perfume, Brideshead Revisited) as well as up-and-coming talents like Elizabeth Wells (currently the young lead in the West End production of Matilda the Musical).
The evening was dominated by a sense of solidarity about the plight of ordinary Iraqis and a feeling of artistic togetherness – exemplified by the mixed-race ensemble of 14 performers and a well-timed programme tied together by event host Sara Griffiths an actress and radio presenter of the newly-launched Universal Soul Show.
The scenes were brought more to life with simple stage directions coordinated by event producer Chipo Chung (who also performed) and sometimes accompanied by atmospheric sounds of Baghdad in 2006; rattling gunfire and distant explosions but also the patter of rain and occasional evening birdsong.
In one of the last scenes of the reading, the sound of a detonated bomb accompanied by sudden flashes of light signaled the demise of Whishaws wheelchair-bound character made all the more tragic as his flirtations with Paris-based Fatima Adoums character got the most laughs just minutes earlier. Seasoned Iraqi actors Zaydun Khalaf and Amed Hashimi also appeared in the script reading.
Though Another Day in Baghdad is to be an Arabic-language film made in the Middle East with Arab actors, the combined native accents of the events multicultural cast – varying from East London to French affirmed how the sense of solidarity with this filmmaker has transcended borders and highlighted how the Iraqi peoples resilience in the face of war resonated with the cast all of whom donated their time to the project to raise awareness about the film.
Another Day in Baghdad (Arabic title Kulshi Makoo) is a UK-France-Germany-Kuwait co-production. The film has been supported by British Film Institute and shooting is planned for autumn 2018 in Jordan and Iraq.