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Haider Rashid’s Follow-Up to ‘Europa’ Is a Love Story Set in Baghdad’s Underground Hip-Hop Scene

Haider Rashid, who was awarded one of the best director prize eventually yr’s Red Sea Film Festival for his Cannes chosen movie “Europa,” was again on the occasion this week to pitch his new venture, the coming-of-age thriller “Tigris.” The Italian-Iraqi filmmaker plans to discover themes of resistance and identification via a love story between two breakdancers in Baghdad’s underground hip-hop scene.

He hopes to construct a “thematic trilogy” round “Europa,” through which a younger Iraqi man tries to cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, however finds himself hunted by militias.

“It’s not essentially a prequel because it’s not the identical character, however it’s the identical technology. This was the inception of ‘Tigris.’ How can we discuss this younger technology in Iraq who had been born simply earlier than or simply after the 2003 warfare [with the U.S.]? What’s their life like? How can we narrate their story in a method that turns into common? As a result of I feel the struggles of the youth are common all through the world.”

Iraq has a really younger inhabitants, with 60% of its residents being below 25. The love story instructed in “Tigris” will likely be positioned in opposition to the backdrop of a collection of protests led by the Iraqi youth to oppose the dearth of primary providers and security, and corruption in a rustic the place foreign-backed militias maintain sway.

Rashid has chosen to make use of hip-hop because the movie’s conducting wire. “I grew up listening to it, and I find it irresistible as a medium of expression,” he says. “And it turned one of many mediums of expression of the revolution — whether or not it was dancing, rapping or graffiti artwork. It speaks to folks. It’s quick and propagates ideas very simply. I find it irresistible as a subculture and I really like what it entails: to should show your self to have the respect of different folks. It’s not about who you might be, it’s about what you are able to do, so I feel it pertains to the best way we take into consideration filmmaking, too.”

It’s essential to have Arab administrators inform their very own tales, he says. “It’s about shifting the narrative, shifting the perspective. Let’s scale back this complete debate to humanity. On the finish of the day, we’re speaking a few human being, whether or not he’s Muslim, Christian or Jewish. Who cares?”

He and “Europa” collaborator Sonia Giannetto are writing the script and taking the primary steps within the casting course of. Giannetto can even be the movie’s inventive producer.

“Tigris” is being developed by Rashid’s Radical Plans, and will likely be an Iraqi-Italian co-production, with the director seeking to onboard different co-producers in Europe, the Center East and North Africa area, and the U.S. Filming is hoped to occur throughout the subsequent 18 to 24 months.

Talking concerning the expertise of pitching his venture at Pink Sea’s business program, the Pink Souk, he says: “Loads of us stay exterior our international locations of origin, we’re a part of the [Arab] diaspora. So even sharing a bus trip collectively, exchanging experiences and concepts about our identities, and with the ability to in some way fuse that into our filmmaking is great.”

“[Being at the Souk] impacts the venture as a result of we now have extra certainty and conviction about what we’re doing. It’s essential for the identification of the venture to begin from right here as a result of I feel if we persuade folks over right here, we are able to increase it higher. I all the time ask myself: Do we now have a proper to inform this story? That’s actually essential. I feel upon getting the vote of confidence at a market like this, we really feel extra assured concerning the venture we’re making.”

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