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A Conversation with Filmmaker James Longley

"Iraq in Fragments" (2006), a documentary feature by filmmaker James Longley

Documentary filmmaker James Longley, known for his intimate portraits of people living in the volatile Middle East, will inaugurate the Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series on October 29, 2010 with a talk in the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Longley will discuss his award-winning films, current projects, and recent MacArthur Grant.

Friday, October 29, 6:30 p.m. (reception 7:30 p.m.)
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Part of the Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series

ADVANCE SCREENINGS: THE FILMS OF JAMES LONGLEY

October 13, 7 p.m.
Iraq in Fragments (2006)
Griffith Film Theater, Bryan Center, West Campus, Duke University

October 20, 7 p.m.
Sari’s Mother (2006) and Gaza Strip (2002)
Griffith Film Theater, Bryan Center, West Campus, Duke University

Read more about this event

“For his low-budget, self-financed films, James Longley lives among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. He captures his subjects in very personal settings and situations, revealing both the inhumanity of everyday life under conditions of war, political chaos, and economic devastation and the parallel universe of courage, resilience, and resistance. While describing a place, a people, and a circumstance, Longley’s early film in Gaza and his later films in Iraq offer unflinching portrayals of the costs and casualties of civil and international conflicts. For his highly acclaimed film Iraq in Fragments (2006), he spent two years in the country without the protection of private security or the assistance of a film crew. In a trilogy of compelling and cinematically complex stories, he presents life in war-ravaged Iraq through the eyes of an abandoned young boy on the streets of Baghdad, the collective energy and obsession of Moqtada al-Sadr’s followers, and the agrarian solemnity of Kurdish family farmers. Sari’s Mother (2006), a short film about a family struggling to navigate the labyrinthine health care system in Iraq, illustrates the human casualties of a broken governmental bureaucracy and a failed medical infrastructure. Through these films and others in development, Longley is illuminating the beauty of foreign lands and providing Western audiences with a critical new perspective on communities living under extremely challenging conditions.”—From the MacArthur Foundation website

The Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series will feature artists whose work addresses significant contemporary topics of social, political, economic, and cultural urgency.  Filmmakers chosen to participate will have a recognized body of work and show promise of future contributions to documentary filmmaking. Visiting filmmakers will be invited annually to Duke for a two-day residency.

Co-sponsored by the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library, the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

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