Mosul filmmaker uses cinema to document ISIS crimes in the city


Following the conflict that took place in Mosul in northern Iraq, one filmmaker is trying to simultaneously shed light on the scale of destruction as well as reinvigorate the city's cinematic scene.

In the city of Mosul in Iraq, a filmmaker used cinema as the medium to document ISIS’ crimes in his city. Abdulqadir al-Halabi, the filmmaker responsible for producing two short films about ISIS’ brutality in Mosul, said that in addition to documenting ISIS’ occupation, he wants to restart the film movement in Mosul.

“This city hasn’t reached its television and cinematic heights, but there are individual efforts by artists,” said al-Halabi. “Sometimes, these individual efforts are reflected on artistic and technical levels, and this is what compels the artist.”

The two films that we shot and directed by al-Halabi were first shown in the Qantara Coffee Shop in Mosul amidst a large crowd of Moslawis. Attendees expressed the need for such projects in order to document the militant organisation’s brutality against the residents of Mosul.

“The sensitive moment that we are currently living in is a transitional stage, and we need to document the many incidents, events, and crimes that occurred during ISIS’ occupation of Mosul, and the effects of the military operations that were accompanied by great humanitarian tragedies,” said Saleh Elias, the owner of the Qantara Coffee Shop.

Since the defeat of ISIS in the city of Mosul in July 2017, citizens have been attempting to document the group’s brutality while at the same time reviving the city’s rich cultural and artistic history.

Singers and musicians from the city have been attempting to bring back the city’s musical scene after ISIS banned the use of musical instruments in the city.

To revive Mosul’s musical heritage, Maestro Karim Wasfi, a musician and composer, returned to the city where he held several performances atop of rubble in the city.

“Music is my life. It’s amazing to hear it in Mosul again,” said Fadhel al-Badri, a local musician who attended and participated in some of Wasfi’s performances.

Other musicians, artists, filmmakers, and authors have also tried to revive Mosul’s art scenes while attempting to document ISIS’ brutality in their art, one way or another.

These individual efforts need to be supported in order to help Moslawi’s heal the pains of war that they witnessed during ISIS’ control over the city.