Mohamed Al-Daradji

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Mohamed Al-Daradji

Mohamed Al-Daradji (born 6 August 1978 in Baghdad, Iraq) is an Iraqi Dutch film director. Al-Daradji is a dual Dutch-Iraqi citizen. He studied theatre directing in Baghdad and fled to The Netherlands following the murder of his politically active cousin in 1995,[1] where he specialised as a cameraman. Later he graduated from The Northern Film School in Leeds, England, gaining MAs in cinematography and directing.[2] He created several short films and commercials and won a Kodak student award for commercials.

His first feature film was Ahlaam, which took four months to film in Baghdad in 2004, whilst the war was going on. Filming was difficult as electricity would often cut out from time to time. Towards the end of filming, he and three members of his crew were kidnapped but managed to escape being killed by insurgents, who accused them of making a propaganda film in support of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. The captors were preparing to shoot them before they fled from the sound of police sirens. On the same day, they were said to have been abducted again from a Baghdad hospital by another group of gunmen who beat them up and then turned them over to the U.S. military, who held them in harsh conditions for six days on the suspicion that they were filming insurgent attacks for Al Qaida.

His 2010 film Son of Babylon, developed through the Sundance Institute, was selected as the Iraqi entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards,[3] but it did not make the final shortlist.[4]

In 2008, Mohamed became a Sundance fellow.

In 2010 Variety named Mohamed Al-Daradji The Middle East Filmmaker of the year. "We wanted to honour Mohamed Al Daradji, not because he is a great Middle Eastern filmmaker, but because he is simply a great filmmaker.” (Tim Gray, the editor of Variety

Mohamed is currently based in Baghdad where he continues to develop projects as well as actively working to re-establish, develop and support the film industry in Iraq.




  1. ^ Ahlaam DVD extra features, Mohamed Al-Daradji bibliographical content
  2. ^ Mohamed Al-Daradji: “Every Iraqi has ten stories for ten films” the Beaver, newspaper of the LSE Students' Union
  3. ^ "Son of Babylon selected as Iraq's entry for Oscar race". Screendaily. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  4. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". Retrieved 2011-01-19. 

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