Doc Blog

Another Fragment from Iraq
When I came back to Iraq shortly after the US invasion in 2003, I was looking for personal stories to document that would also show parts of the bigger picture of what was happening in Iraq under US occupation. I filmed six different stories, of which three wound up in my feature documentary, Iraq in Fragments. The short film Sari's Mother (right) is one of the stories that was left out of the larger documentary, but I always felt it was one of the most compelling things I filmed in Iraq. I'm very happy that I was able to complete it as an individual work.

[Sari's Mother, 24 min, will screen at TIFF in Real to Reel alongside The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair - Ed.]

Sari's Mother tells the story of an Iraqi family living south of Baghdad, in
the area of Mahmudiyah. The Zegum family is poor; they live in a mud-brick
house and make a living by farming and selling milk and butter. One of their
eight children, 10-year-old Sari, is slowly dying of AIDS, which he contracted
through a blood transfusion several years earlier. Sari's mother struggles to
find help for her son in the shattered Iraqi healthcare system.

I filmed with the family on and off for over nine months. I wound up with about
40 hours of material. In the spring of 2004 I received death threats from local
Iraqi resistance fighters, warning me not to come to the area where the Zegum
family lived. At that point I had to stop filming the story, but was able to
continue making interviews with Sari's mother in the Baghdad hospitals and
ministries. But I never saw the rest of the family after that spring, and I
finally lost touch with all of them when I moved north to Erbil in October,
Congrats on the new film, James. Can't wait to see it seeing you again at TIFF. We'll have to do a D-Word f2f, too.
Comment By Doug Block At 26/08/2021 12:10 PM
see it AND seeing you ;-)
Comment By Doug Block At 26/08/2021 12:11 PM
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