Middle Eastern Countries Have Same Cultural Concerns

 

Mustafa Alshowki, Iraqi director and producer, has a PhD in children media. He is invited to the 30th int’l film festival for children and youth in Isfahan as a special guest.

 

Being an Iraqi director and having a PhD in children media, how do you see children cinema in Iraq?

Since there is no government support and special attention to children cinema in Iraq, we have to rely on individual activities focusing on reviving Iraqi culture and cinema. In spite of numerous obstacles and time shortage, people have managed to bring Iraqi culture back to life. To fulfil this very aim, I decided to establish a family movie complex with the motto of “for cinema, more committed culture”. This motto was chosen out of careful ponding and since then, we’ve been doing our best to thoroughly make it true. So, we started with two projects of “Children Cinema” and “School Cinema”. Cooperating with some schools and kindergartens, we planned to hold classes to show films for children, holding afterward discussions about the screened films and cinema in general.

Have children been pleased by this new idea?

They have. They all really liked it.

Are you going to proceed with the idea?

It was just the first step. We are going to provide almost all schools with such lessons, which may lead to new ways.

People usually talk about children’s concerns but actually anyone doesn’t care making sensible changes.

It really needs more time to explore the why of this strange eastern habit of “talking much, doing nothing.” In our country, most TV and radio channels are allocated to political parties, which might be the prominent reason why people do care less about culture and children. Naturally, ideologies take priority over everything in politicians’ and their fans’ minds. The other reason is somehow related to the previous one: movie production companies are reluctant working on subjects appealing to children due to poor networking.

Is this situation only true to Iraq?

Iraq and some other Arabic countries. Perhaps, it may be true to all countries limited to government media. The cooperation among media people, officials and production companies often result in unprofessional works.

Do Iranian children cinema and Arabic cinema have anything in common? In other words, is what you consider as Arabic culture for children similar to what you see in Iranian children cinema?

Arabic countries and Iran have a lot in common, culturally and artistically. Screening Iranian movies or TV series in Arabic countries always provoke great reactions. So why don’t we do the same for children cinema?

What do you think about active cooperation between Iran and Iraq on children cinema?

Let be realistic. Iranian cinema is culturally the closest cinema to the Arabic one. Therefore, it’s so important to consider a vast cinematic cooperation.

I guess you’ve already made an attempt at proceeding with this idea?

Yes. I’ve tried to make a connection between Iranian and Iraqi cinemas, and we’ve already had a successful experience in Najaf.