"Iraqi Odyssey" Director's Presentation & Discussion


On Saturday, Nov. 14th, The Markaz presents a special preview event highlighting the release of director Samir Jamal al Din's Oscar submission Iraqi Odyssey, playing at the Laemmle's Music Hall on November 27th. The event will include a presentation by Samir about the making of this landmark documentary, as well as show excerpts of the film. Samir will discuss the inspiration behind his approach of re-telling the history of Iraq through the history of his own family. The director will also address the process of filming across the globe, the gathering of rare archival footage, as well as his decision to make a 3D version of the film. Note that the full documentary (163 ms) will screen at USC on November 17th. For more information, please visit the USC events page: https://cinema.usc.edu/events/event.cfm?id=15322

Reception with the director, 7 pm. Presentation at 8 pm followed by a Q & A at 9 pm. Tickets $10/$8 members/students. Purchase below or call 323.413.2001.

"Iraqi Odyssey aims ambitiously high in its investigation of the effects of history on one large middle class family“ — The Hollywood

"A personal, insightful and beautifully made film... I was spellbound in front of the screen."Huffington Post

 "Shedding a new light on a grossly misrepresented country, Iraqi Odyssey is the veteran director's most personal, ambitious, and accomplished feature to date." - Toronto International Film Festival


Samir was born the son of a Swiss mother and an Iraqi father in Baghdad. His family moved in 1961 to Switzerland, where he went to school. He attended the School of Design in Zurich (today's ZHdK), completed an apprenticeship as a typographer (1971–73) and subsequently trained as a cameraman with Condor Films. From 1983, he worked as a freelance director and cinematographer. From 1984 to 1991 he was a writer and member of Videoladen Zurich (Video Store Zurich). In 1994 he and documentary filmmaker Werner Schweizer overtook the Dschoint Ventschr film production company. 

From the mid-1980s, he began to make his own films. In the 1990s he worked among others on behalf of Condor Films as a director of series like Eurocops and television films for German TV stations. His list of works—as a writer, director and/or producer —now includes over 40 short and feature films for cinema and TV. In 2006 he received the Aargau Culture Award (Aargauer Kulturpreis).


While there are no precise statistics, it is estimated that four to five million Iraqis live outside Iraq today. Award-winning filmmaker Samir was born in Baghdad and has lived in Switzerland since he was a child, while the members of his extended family are scattered all over the world—Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles, Buffalo, London, Paris, Zurich, and Moscow—with only a handful remaining in Iraq. Recounting his family's stories of departures and uprootings, in Iraqi Odyssey Samir also chronicles how Iraqis' dreams of building a modern and just society after their nation achieved independence in  the 1950s were brutally dashed over the course of half a century. 

Loosely organized in three acts, the film begins with Samir's grandfather and his role in the struggle against British colonialism. The second act traces the successive waves of emigration as his relatives sought safe havens around the globe to escape from the series of coups and counter-coups in the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in the establishment of Saddam Hussein's three-decade dictatorship over the country. 

Weaving together the ironic, wistful, and witty testimonies of Samir's relatives with rare documents from private and state archives, Ottoman film footage and 3-D technology, Iraqi Odyssey is a riveting epic that creates a genuine people's history of Iraq, at once humble and majestic. Shedding a new light on a grossly misrepresented country, Iraqi Odyssey is the veteran director's most personal, ambitious, and accomplished feature to date.

How did it come to this, that all our dreams of a renaissance in the Arab world and the wish for a transformation into a modern, just society were so abruptly and brutally destroyed? Is there a possibility to reconstruct this dream by building on our experiences of migration? Iraqi Odyssey shall tell this story.” —Samir

  • November 14, 2015 at 7pm – 10pm
  • The Markaz, 5998 W. Pico Blvd LA 90035
  • $8.00 USD
  • 3 people are going
  • Marissa Alcaraz



Will you come?

$10.00 General Admission
$8.00 Students/Members

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