On the Banks of the Tigris: the hidden story of Iraqi music has just been completed! This feature length documentary shows the human face of Iraqis and their culture – a face that’s missing from most media.
When Majid Shokor escaped from Iraq he discovered that the songs he loved as a child in Baghdad have a surprising hidden history. This film tells the story of Majid’s extraordinary journey around the world to meet the exiled musicians of all faiths who still play and sing these songs today. They are reunited in a joyful concert at London’s Barbican Centre, where music and culture transcend religion and politics.
A five minute trailer can be viewed at: http://www.fruitfulfilms.com.au/films/tigris#viewtrailer.
Making the film has been an epic journey for filmmakers Marsha Emerman and Majid Shokor. In Australia, Israel, Europe and Iraq, they filmed Iraqi musicians playing beautiful music and telling stories of love, loss, and longing for their homeland.
While the Ba’ath regime tried to purge Iraqi music of its origins, cultural identity can’t be erased. In Israel, 88 year-old musician Elias Shasha tells us: “I remember the Tigris, the boats, the fish…I can’t forget that I was born in Baghdad and I am Iraqi.”
The documentary film is part of a long-term peace education project. Marsha and Majid have spoken to schools, unis, and community groups, been interviewed on radio and in print, and run a website, Facebook page and YouTube channel to promote Middle East peace and reconciliation.
They’ve also staged concerts at London’s Barbican Centre and here in Melbourne. When the great Iraqi-Israeli musician Yair Dalal performed with local Iraqi group Mesopotamia, these Assyrian Christian musicians were amazed that they all “became friends in one minute”.
The filmmakers now need your generous support to release the film, continue their peace activities, and maximise the film’s impact. They think audiences worldwide will embrace this film that celebrates our common humanity and peaceful co-existence.
Donations of any amount are welcome and are tax deductible through Creative Partnerships Australia. You can donate by using this secure online link https://www.creativepartnershipsaustralia.org.au/artist-projects/marsha-emerman or please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your contributions will support: international film festival entries, writing and producing a press kit, a new film website with Iraqi history, music and links, producing a school study guide, and organising an educational tour.
The filmmakers express their thanks to all the foundations and generous individuals who supported production of the film, with special thanks to Dennis Martin and all the AJDS members who have helped us along the way.