Doc Blog

Last night, at the premier screening of the outstanding doc "Heavy 
Metal in Baghdad
," I sat next to Waleed Rabia, who was the first
singer in the Iraqi metal band the film profiles.  (I met him in Baghdad in 2004, and some of the footage I shot there is in the  film.)Waleed was luckier than his bandmates -- he now attends film school in British Colombia. But last night he was emotionally shaken watching the heart-breaking story of his old friends who are still suffering in the middle east.Sitting next to Waleed put me in mind of Thomas Jefferson's comment on slavery, "I tremble for my country when I think that God is just."The movie is that moving.

Sunday we premier "Operation Filmmaker," which is something of a companion piece to "Heavy Metal."   It follows another young Iraqi --a friend of the musicians in "Heavy Metal" -- over the same period of time, from 2004 to the present.   Its great to see such a heavy dose of the Baghdad College of Fine Arts, where all these kids congregated, in this years Real to Reel.  "Heavy Metal" makes one want to do something to help the victims of the war; "Operation Filmmaker" shows what can happen when people try.  It will be very 
interesting for audience members to screen the two films in the same week.

Then "Very Young Girls" premiers Tuesday, and I think that one of our brave young subjects is going to be able to attend.  It is always tough for people to see their difficulties, traumas and stories on the big screen, shared with an audience, but I was happy to see the amazing outpouring of support the Toronto audience gave Waleed when he went through just that.  During the screening, a man he had just met reached around and gave him a pat on the leg during a particularly difficult segment; that wouldn't happen in New York, I don't think.  After the screening, many people reached out to him in a kindly way.  I've always heard Canadians are nice, and its reassuring to me that my young subjects will be in gentle hands on Tuesday when they talk about the trauma they've been through.
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