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Mohamed Al Daradji's Son of Babylon feature wraps filming in Baghdad

sobFilm looks at Saddam regime's 'modern holocaust'

- second feature from Leeds based Oscar-shortlisted producers Human Film
- 400,000 bodies in mass graves found since 2003 from over 30 years of rule
- cast and crew are made up of many survivors of regime
- includes lead actress Shazada Hussein; the only woman to witness against Saddam during his trial

'If we forget the past, there is no future'
Simon Wiesenthal, KBE, Holocaust Survivor and Nazi Hunter

Son of Babylon is a Holocaust film unlike those we are familiar with. In a country embittered by decades of tyrannical rule, torture and systematic murder at the hands of Saddam’s Ba’athist party, during which an estimated one million people were displaced, a Kurdish mother and her grandson set out to discover the fate of her missing son, captured by Republican Guards 12 years earlier. Travelling across the chaotic landscape and killing fields of Iraq - paralleled by the story of her son, an Iraqi Soldier - she retraces his steps in the hope of reuniting him with his son.

Written and directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji ('Ahlaam', 2004), a Baghdad-born survivor of Saddam’s regime, having fled the country after the execution of his cousin. Produced by Isabelle Stead of Human Film (UK) & Atia Al-Daradji of Iraq Al-Rafidain (IRAQ), the film is about to wrap on location in Baghdad. The film was shot throughout Iraq and the Kurdish territories in the North of the country. Cast and crew are made up of many survivors of Saddam’s regime, including the lead actress Shazada Hussein; the only woman to witness against Saddam during his trial. Like many survivors, who lost their families to Iraq’s 30 year Holocaust, the crew of “Son of Babylon” are using this opportunity to share their experiences of suffering through this story, with the determination to prevent these atrocities from occurring again.

Since 2003, 400,000 bodies have been uncovered. The majority remain unidentified. Yet, 60 years after the Nazi Holocaust, it appears the Western world has become complacent about continuing persecutions similar in size and destruction. In a society occupied by Western Forces, millions of Iraqi, Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites continue to search for answers to the fate of their missing amongst the mounting number of mass graves. Could this obstruction prevent peace and progression in Iraq?

NB - A press conference with cast and crew of 'Son of Babylon' will be scheduled for later Saturday, 7th March, 10am at Abo Noalse Street (opposite the Sheraton Hotel.) BAGHDAD, IRAQ - anyone reading this who could go?

THE CAMPAIGN: Filmmakers from Human Film and Iraq Al-Rafidain are pledging to bring a voice to every victim of Saddam’s regime through the release of this film and the launch of the  'IRAQ'S MISSING' Campaign. The campaign will actively encourage governments and the world's media to support the unearthing and identification through advanced methods of DNA testing. The recovery of Iraq's missing people needs to be addressed to restore the confidence and trust of the Iraqi survivors in the rebuilding of a new democratic Iraq.

SUPPORT THE FILM & CAMPAIGN: The 'IRAQ'S MISSING' Campaign critically needs donations to progress by uniting organisations that can bring the facilities needed to make a difference and reunite the survivors through hope and remembrance.

As the dust has settled and the rubble is cleared, hundreds of Mass Graves containing many thousands of unidentified victims of Saddam's dictatorship still lie exposed. A  high-profile approach to Human Rights violations in Iraq is needed and once the credits have rolled on 'Son of Babylon' the work to unearth 'IRAQ'S MISSING' must begin.

'SON OF BABYLON' (Iraq/UK/France/Holland/Palestine) completes production March 09, ready for full completion in May 2009. The Film and it's associated projects have received support from: The Sundance Institute, The UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire, Fond Sud (CNC),Business Link, The Doen Institute, Hivos and Roissy Films who are heading International Sales.