Once again, Iraqi television is portraying the sectarian fighting and difficult conditions that Iraqis have experienced since after 2005. A new television series entitled The Story of a Baghdadi Neighborhood centers around Baghdad’s Christians.
The series was written by Hamed al-Maliki and directed by Fares Tohme al-Tamimi. It stars several Iraqi actors, among them Ghanem Hamid, Asia Kamal, Awatef Naim, Karim Mohsen, Batoul Aziz, Joumana Karim, Solaf, Iyad al-Ta’i, Suzan Shukri, Raed Mohsen, Ahmad Tohme, Hafez Laeibi, Ali Qasem al-Mallak, Mohammad Tohme, Samar Mohammad, Ziad al-Hilali, Asma Safa, Murtada Hneis, Saman al-Azzawi and Abir Farid.
While working on The Story of a Baghdadi Neighborhood, director Tamimi teamed up with Maliki for the first time. “We worked according to a common vision and we strove to maintain communication on the writing of each episode in the series,” al-Tamimi said.
Tamimi previously performed in a number of successful Iraqi dramas such as Mounawi Basha and Years Under the Ashes. He believes that this new series is important for Iraqi society because it illuminates the life of Christians; an important component in society with roots that go back thousands of years.
He said he was really proud of this show because it has “a profound human aspect and shows Iraq’s unity. This unity was established, consolidated and deepened since time immemorial, and it cannot be eliminated despite all of the attempts to do so.”
The series was filmed in over 64 locations in Baghdad and Sulaymaniya. The process required a special effort, since production had to remain unaffected by the sudden changes in the security system. The show was shot in locations that include hospitals, government ministry buildings, private homes, streets, alleyways and schools. Roughly 1200 scenes were shot in Baghdad, while 27 scenes, at four locations, were shot in Sulaymaniya.
Tamimi said, “We faced many difficulties but the production team worked to overcome them. There were over 60 filming locations in Baghdad and Sulaymaniyah. We also had more than 50 famous Iraqi actors and a distinctive and creative technical staff, which included cameraman Yasser Omran, Syrian director of photography Tamam Shbat and a professional production team.”
According to Tamimi, the main message of the series was that “Iraqi society is very cohesive despite the outsiders who want to corrupt it for political and religious purposes.”