A Documentary Film

My guide…was by creed a Yezidi (sic), whom the Muslims call devil worshippers. But They are, I believe, a most harmless and well meaning sect and what they really worship is the sun, a very proper object of adoration.

– Gertrude Bell Marc 21, 1905

Dear Friends…

We hope you had a great summer and we are delighted to share an update on our documentary film about Gertrude Bell, Letters From Baghdad

Iraq has tragically become the focus of international attention this summer due to the violent struggle with the Islamic militant group ISIS. The recent plight of the Yazidis, the religious minority group trapped on Mount Sinjar by ISIS, reminds us of the relevance of Gertrude Bell’s story. Bell came to know the Yazidis and developed a personal relationship with the sect’s High Preist, Ali (Ismail) Beg. Bell was respectful of all religions and her unmatched knowledge and close relationships with the diverse peoples of the region played a crucial role in the diplomacy necessary to form the first Iraq Council of Ministers after WWI.

In the recent New York Times article about Gertrude Bell, “For British Spy in Iraq, Affection is Strong but Legacy is Unfulfilled,” Baghdad Bureau Chief Tim Arango writes about the timeliness of our film Letters from Baghdad: “[It] comes at a time when the core of her legacy — the effort to knit Iraq’s volatile mix of religious sects and ethnicities into a stable nation — has once again become vital to the region and the world.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Project update…

Our summer has been a busy one. We continue to fine-tune our script, proceed with our assembly edit and conduct additional research including the translation and transcribing of crucial Arabic documents. An update of our website is in the works and we have been fully engaged in raising the additional funds required to complete the film.

Update from our partners…

news-mugSince the news of ISIS insurgency was reported, our partner The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI) has been out fron in calling for the protection of cultural heritage sites in Iraq: “Culture and people are inseparable: it is…culture that brings people together in meaningful, creative and constructive ways…a fundamental part of being human, living together. Important elements of Iraqi culture are under threat at the moment. At BISI we believe it is vital to resist that threat, and show solidarity and support to those on the front line.”

It’s not to late to join the LFB team…

Even if you missed our Kickstarter campaign, you can still become involved! We continue to need funds for production and post-production costs. You can donate to the film on our website, and please spread the word about Letters from Baghdad through Facebook and Twitter.

Thank You so much!

About the film…

Directed by Sabine Krayenbuhl and Zeva Oelbaum, Letters from Baghdad tells the story of Gertrude Bell who left the confines of Edwardian England to seek freedom and independence in the Arabian desert and became the most powerful woman of her day in the British Empire. In the aftermath of WWI, Bell helped draw the borders of modern Iraq and install its first king. She also founded the Baghdad Museum and wrote Iraq’s first Law of Antiquities. The first feature-length documentary on Gertrude Bell, Letters from Baghdad will explore the choices that trail blazing  women must make, and how the decisions of Bell and her colleagues in the British Colonial Office continue to influence current events in the Middle East.

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