Oday Rasheed (born June 17, 1973 in Baghdad, Iraq) is an Iraqi film director and writer. He studied at the Institute for Electrical Science as well as the Faculty of Applicable Arts in Baghdad, both of which he quit early to dedicate himself to cinema. For a while he worked as freelance writer, writing essays and film reviews in Baghdad.
In 1998 he began to study film at the Faculty of Fine Arts, however, he soon quit his film studies due to the propagandistic nature of the school as well as the low standards of quality. Afterward and until the American invasion he wrote and directed numerous short films and was part of the artistic collective known as Najeen (the survivors). After the invasion he began making feature films.
Oday Rasheed's first feature film, a docufiction called Underexposure (2005), was shot on expired Kodak film that was bought back from looters in the early days of the American occupation. Underexposure was produced by Enlil Film and Arts, with Production Designer Majed Rasheed and Executive Producer Furat Al Jamil. Filming began in November 2003 with money that the crew raised by selling their own possessions. Underexposure was the first movie to be filmed in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the first Iraqi film in over a decade to not be censored by the Baath party. Filming was finished in April 2004 and Underexposure was released in June 2005 after post-production was completed in Berlin, Germany, with co-producers Tom Tykwer and Maria Kopf of X Filme Creative Pool.
Underexposure was shown in film festivals around the world, including The Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands 2005, World Premiere), the Febio Festival (Czech Republic 2005), Arab Film Festival Japan (2005), Singapore International Film Festival (2005), Arab Film Festival (Netherlands 2005), Durban International Film Festival (South Africa 2005), Munich Film Festival (Germany 2005), Osians Cinefan Asian Film Festival (India 2005), Alexandria International Film Festival (Egypt 2005), La Mostra de Valencia (Spain 2005). Additionally, Rasheed received numerous awards for his work on Underexposure, including Best Film in the Singapore International Film Festival in 2005.
In 2009 Rasheed finished filming his second feature film, Qarantina, which was scheduled to be shown in 2009 and 2010 at the Dubai International Film Festival and the Rotterdam Film Festival - however, due to complications in the post-production, neither of these showings occurred. It is now complete and scheduled for its world premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on 17 October 2010 and European premiere at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. Qarantina was one of 37 projects in 2009 to be selected for financing from the Hubert Bals Fund in the Netherlands. Qarantina examines the realities of postwar Iraq through the unlikely interactions of killer and a family that make their residence in an abandoned building. The assassin watches coldly as the family struggles with an abusive father and unmarried pregnant daughter. Then begins to kill targets that are not contracted, displeasing his clients. In the end, the fates of the characters are determined by their individual interactions and decisions.
From the Qarantina page on Facebook: Iraq is in Qarantina - people placed in Qarantina - our souls are in Qarantina. "Qarantina = Quarantine is voluntary or compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous.(Wikipedia)"
Baghdadwood: The Iraqi Independent Film Production Center
Oday Rasheed has been particularly concerned about the future of Iraqi cinema and the lack of opportunities available to young filmmakers in his country. As a result, he has been engaged in workshops for young filmmakers and the development of a modern independent film production center. Helping him in the major project is Iraq's only other prominent film director, Mohamed Al-Daradji. The two have secured a building rent-free for three years from the Ministry of Culture, provided they do the necessary renovations. In Rasheed's words, "We made it. And film life, you make it once and you made it. Forever. So, actually, we don't need this. The idea is to help those guys who sit in Iraq dreaming up films, but they don't know how to do it."
- 1997 Mud Whiteness (experimental short film, video)
- 1998 Another Introduction (experimental short film, video)
- 1999 The Introduction (short film, video)
- 2002 Gilgamesh: The Epic... The Place (documentary, video)
- 2003 A Night... before the Thousand (choreographic short film, video)
- 2005 Underexposure (feature film)
- 2010 Qarantina (feature film, in post production)
- 1997/1998 Our Town's Workshop (TV Series)
- 1998 Document 12 (TV Film)
- 2002 Once In Babylon
- 2004 Underexposure
- 2010 Qarantina
- Best Film Award, 18th Singapore International Film Festival 2005 (Underexposure)
- Golden Hawk (Best Feature Film), 5th Arab Film Festival, The Netherlands, 2005 (Underexposure)
- Best Script, Wahran International Film Festival, Algeria 2007 (Underexposure)
- Variety - Qarantina
- Oday Rasheed on IMDb
- Sydney Arab Film Festival - Film Makers - Oday Rasheed
- Sydney Arab Film Festival - Films - Underexposure
- Qantara.de - Blinking Incredulously At the Sun
- Qantara.de - Liebesbriefe an Baghdad
- LA Weekly - Lights ... Camera ... Hit the Dirt!
- X-Filme - Underexposure
- Dubai Film Festival Line-up Announcement
- CNN Article with Mention of Qarantina at Rotterdam International Film Festival
- Hubert Bals Fund
- Variety Magazine article on Dubai Film Festival
- Qarantina page on Facebook
- Radio Free Europe article by Kristin Deasy (Iraqi Cinema Revival)
- CSMontitor article by Jane Arraf on "Baghdadwood"
- BBC Article by Gabriel Gatehouse on the decline of Iraqi cinema
- Qarantina page from the Abu Dhabi Film Festival