Maysoon Pachachi wrote the film in collaboration with Baghdad-based author Irada Al-Jubori.
Iraqi film Our River…Our Sky, directed by veteran documentary filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi, received the 2023 Ecumenical Film Award at a ceremony that was part of the Church Film Festival in Recklinghausen, Germany.
The London-based Iraqi filmmaker was accompanied by the film’s lead actress Meriam Abbas and producer Talal Al-Muhanna at the festival.
After holding its world premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival, Our River…Our Sky, the film has been screened in the MENA region at Cairo, Slemani, Amman, and at Franco-Arab film festivals.
In a statement released after the award was announced, Friederike Melloh — a pastor and member of the organisers — said: “The focus of the film is humanity against the backdrop of war. Many still manage to stand in solidarity with one another as human beings, despite the divisive pressures of religion and politics. It’s about the future of women and what kind of future they can give their children. With our award-winning film, we are setting an example.”
Our River…Our Sky (aka Kulshi Makooin Arabic) is set against a background of sectarian violence in the last week of 2006, between Christmas and the Adha Eid. It tells the stories of ordinary Iraqis trying to live their everyday lives in Baghdad, the capital; despite unpredictable violent events, which put them in peril. Sara, a single mother and novelist, shocked into silence by the surrounding violence, has been unable to write one word of fiction. Shortly before the New Year, following unexpected news, Sara and her neighbours brace themselves for an uncertain future while trying to sustain a fragile sense of hope.
The film was written by Maysoon Pachachi in collaboration with co-writer Irada Al-Jubori — a Baghdad-based author.
The cast includes Darina Al Joundi (as Sara), Basim Hajar, Meriam Abbasand renowned Iraqi actor Mahmoud Abo Al Abbas. The production was initially developed by Oxymoron Films (UK) and Linked Productions (Kuwait) and made in co-production with its other main producers Les Contes Modernes (France) and Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion (Germany). World Sales are handled by The Party Film Sales, and MAD Solutions handles the film’s distribution across the Arab world.