Doc Blog


Friday's premiere screening of The Prisoner: Or How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair and Sari’s Mother, presented together, shocked the audience both on screen and on stage during the Q&A. The Prisoner follows the story of Yunis, an Iraqi journalist who was wrongfully detained by the American military in an Iraqi compound for 9 months.

After the film, Prisoner Director Michael Tucker read an email he received from an American soldier who had befriended Yunis at Camp Ganci where he was detained. Tucker then called former US soldier Benjamin Thompson on stage to speak about his experience, surprising the packed house at the Paramount. The crowd gasped and applauded as Thompson took the microphone.

Thompson mentioned how the Abu Graib scandal has taken away from coverage regarding the general conditions of the prisons. "I wouldn't keep my dogs there," said Thompson. One of the many audience members moved by Thompson's courage was director Michael Moore who afterwards, personally commended Thompson on his bravery for speaking out and the directors, Tucker and Petra Epperlein for creating the film (all seen together: left). 

Sari’s Mother, a twenty-one minute from the director of the award winning Iraq in Fragments, presented a glimpse into of how the day-to-day struggles of Iraqis have not improved since the invasion. The film presents Sari, a young boy disfigured and in pain, but arguing with his mother to let him walk to school. Sari has AIDS, and we see his mother frustrated as she seeks treatment for her ailing son. Director James Longley prefaced the film by thanking TIFF Doc Programmer Thom Powers for encouraging Longley to create something with footage that could not be worked into the original film.

Both films inspired anger and a lot of conversation, as the Q & A went on for almost 30 minutes, and the talk spilled into the lobby.

If you would like to join the discourse, please comment on the TIFF blog…

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