A Full House Screening for the World Premiere Screening of Our River...Our Sky at Sarajevo Film Festival

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A Full House Screening for the World Premiere Screening of Our River...Our Sky at Sarajevo Film Festival

Our River...Our Sky, by director Maysoon Pachachi, had a full house screening for its world premiere screening at the 27th edition of Sarajevo Film Festival within a special program supported by Robert Bosch Foundation (Germany) entitled "Dealing with the Past". Furthermore, the film won rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.

The famous Film Critic E. Nina Rothe wrote about the film on MIME website, saying: "An ensemble piece, terrifically acted and perfectly written". Also, she praised Maysoon Pachachi’s works, saying: "There is a prevailing sense of poetry that runs as a thread through Maysoon Pachachi's work." and described the collaboration between producer Talal Al-Muhanna and Maysoon as "An inspiring alliance".

The narrative in Our River…Our Sky (aka Kulshi Makoo in Arabic) is set against a backdrop of sectarian violence in the last week of 2006, between Christmas and the Muslim Eid. It tells the stories of ordinary Baghdadis trying to live their everyday lives despite unpredictable events, which put them in peril. At the heart of the multi-character narrative is SARA, a single mother and novelist, who has lost her will to write in the face of unspeakable violence. Shortly before the New Year, following unexpected news, Sara and her neighbors brace themselves for an uncertain future while trying to sustain a fragile sense of hope.

Our River...Our Sky won the $100,000 IWC Filmmaker Award at Dubai International Film Festival and was written by Pachachi in collaboration with her Baghdad-based co-writer Irada Al-Jubori. The film was initially presented at the Producers Network in Carthage and later supported by prominent institutions in the Middle East, including Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation and Doha Film Institute. The film was supported in Europe by Eurimages, CNC, Visions Sud Est and British Film Institute, amongst others, and was awarded The Cell Post Production award at Malmo Arab Film Festival Market Forum in 2020.

The cast includes Darina Al Joundi (as Sara), Basim Hajar, Labwa Arab, Meriam Abbas and renowned Iraqi actor Mahmoud Abo Al Abbas. The production was initially developed by Oxymoron Films (UK) and Linked Productions (Kuwait) and made in coproduction with its other main producers Les Contes Modernes (France) and Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion (Germany). MAD Solutions handles Arab world sales.

Maysoon Pachachi is a London-based filmmaker of Iraqi origin who studied philosophy at University College London and attended London Film School as a student of British director Mike Leigh. She was a documentary and drama film editor and, since 1994, has worked as an independent documentary filmmaker, mostly making films set in the Arab world. Her films – some of which were broadcast on Channel 4 in the U.K. and ZDF in Germany - include Iranian Journey (2000), Return to the Land of Wonders (2004) and Our Feelings Took the Pictures: Open Shutters Iraq (2008). Open Shutters received a Jury Special Mention at Arab Film Festival Rotterdam and also led to the publication of a book and photographic exhibition of the same name.

Maysoon taught editing and directing in a number of countries and cities, including the UK, Palestine, Gaza, Al Quds,and Birzeit. In 2004, with her colleague Kasim Abid, she co-founded the Independent Film and Television College, a free-of-charge film-training center in Baghdad, whose students produced 17 short documentaries that were selected in regional and international film festivals.