Independent Film and Television College was founded in Baghdad in 2004 to be a centre for training in the field of television and film. It is a charitable project, non-governmental and non-profit and is the first of its kind in Iraq,
The aim in establishing the college was to provide Iraqi students with free teaching and training courses in filmmaking for the cinema and television industries, to help them to realise their creative projects, provide them with the necessary equipment and information about film festival and funding programmes for their future projects. What is important to us is that students learn the proper professional practices needed to work in cinema and television, in addition to understanding the basic techniques and modern working methods in order to develop their potential through a creative educational programme whose courses rely fundamentally on practical work.
The college was established independent filmmakers who have had long experience in cinema and television.
Kasim Abid: Director/Producer/Director of Photography
Maysoon Pachachi: Director/Producer/Editor
For more than 10 years, Kasim Abid and Maysoon Pachachi have administered the college and taught its students. When the security situation in Iraq is more settled, then they will be joined by trainers from other Arab countries and from Europe. The college has a team of consultants from all over the world who are experts in the field of cinema and television.
Programmes of the training courses:
The training courses offered by the college are intensive and concentrate on making films from initial idea all the way to the screen and all the theory we teach serves the practical process of building the film. The courses last between 5-6 months, they are offer free-of-charge to students aged 20-30 years. In each course about 25 students are enrolled, of which at least 25% are women. Each course covers directing, camera, sound, lighting and editing. Currently we train on digital equipment – HD CAM and DVCAM cameras – and edit on AVID MEDIA COMPOSER. Hopefully in the near future, we will be able to use 16 mm film for our students’ short fiction projects.
What we have achieved:
During the last ten years, we have offered seven courses – five documentary filmmaking courses, one in camerawork, lighting and sound, and the college has run a documentary filmmaking course in Khartoum in collaboration with the Goethe Institute of Germany in 2010. We have held a traveling festival of our students’ films in 2011 where we held screenings in Baghdad, Erbil, Basra. In 2011 we also worked with the Iraqi Association for Culture in the organization and management of the first Human Rights Film Festival to be held in Iraq (Baghdad Eye Film Festival, 2012). The films were screened in four Iraqi cities – Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Fallujah.
In 2010, filmmaker, Shushan Tan, made a long documentary film for Dutch TV sation VPRO documenting the life and times the college (Baghdad Film School).
The college also had some of its students’ films shown on Channel Four (UK) and in 2006 on the Witness strand of Al-Jazeera English, as well as 3 specially commissioned films made by our students for its People and Power strand.
Altogether the college has produced 18 documentaries, dealing with the daily issues that Iraqi people have had to deal with since the fall of the Baath regime.
Each of these films opens a window on the life of ordinary Iraqis in an extraordinary period in the history of the country and its people, among them: The election to choose an interim government, the referendum on the constitution, environmental degradation, terrorism and the problem of widows, lack of services and widespread unemployment, poverty and child labour, the problems of freedom of expression and independent thinking, violence and discrimination against women, emigration, survival, the sectarian conflicts and chaos that permeated all walks of life. Despite the difficult situation reflected in these films, but there is always a glimmer of hope and the dream of every Iraqi that the spirit of resilience, and the ability to resist the devastation, will restore life to all the cities of Iraq.
Although these films are the work of students, made without budgets and using simple and basic techniques, there is in them a pure and honest cinematic language and very dramatic reflection of Iraqi life, and the human capacity of Iraqis for resistance, survival and change.
The films have been shown all over the world at festivals, museums and special screenings – from Brazil to South Korea and the United States to Japan, not to mention Britain France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. Through the Casa Arabe five films were shown at Spanish cultural centres in Latin America. The films were also shown at Arab film festivals from the Gulf to Tunisia. We are proud of our students whose films have to date won fourteen awards at international film festivals.