Community Media Association Commedia Millennium Awards

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Commedia Millennium Awards Rounds

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Selma Chalabi

Project: Land of my Father
Local Partner: Valley and Vale Community Arts
Medium: video
Round: 2
Land of My Father

Selma Chalabi was born in Britain to an Iraqi father and an English mother. In an effort to find out more about her Arabic roots, and frustrated with the portrayal of Iraq and Iraqi people in mainstream media, she set out on a journey to interview her family.

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Media Coverage

Click here for a BBC article and video about Selma's film.

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes is a short film Selma made as part of the BBC Wales Capture Wales project. The stories Selma collected when interviewing her family for Land Of My Father inspired her to make a short film about her Iraqi grandmother.

Selma's journey took her to London, Birmingham, Vienna and back to the town she grew up, Winchester. The result is an intimate insight into the thoughts and feelings of one family caught up in the politics of our time - a voice rarely heard on our screens. The interview footage was taken just after the events of September 11, and the film was finally edited as talk of war with Iraq dominates the news.

Selma said of the film "When Valley and Vale Community Arts approached me to make a film about the Iraqi community in Britain, I jumped at the chance. I have always wanted to make a documentary, and I have also always been fascinated by my Iraqi roots."

She goes on to say "On an emotional level, the journey of making this film was an important one for me to make. I learnt so much about my family, about their past, about the city that my Dad grew up in, about what he went through as a child. More importantly, I hope I was able to use the video to show how ordinary Iraqis in this country feel about the global situation and the impact it is having on them. These are people who have lived in the UK for some decades, who contribute to the work force as GPs and teachers, and who have brought their children up here - yet their voice is rarely heard. I have shown the film to a variety of audiences and it does seem to have an impact. Many people say it has enlightened them about what Baghdad was like prior to the Iraq-Iran and first Gulf War. Some people can relate to the fact that the family has been torn apart, and the deep sadness this would involve for any family. It does seem to tap into something - perhaps the sheer futility of the situation."


Rounds: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 |

Medium: video Projects | Radio Projects | Web Projects |

Themes: Human Rights | Cultural Expression | Social Issues | Equal Opportunities | Community Development | The Information Age | Health Awareness | Environmental | Disability | Testimony | Arts & Performance |

Round One Round Two Round Three Round Four Round Five Round Six Round Seven