Filmmaking and Fire – Through Courageous Eyes

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I’m excited to share with you today a short film by director and photographer Bilal Alabbood. Bilal is originally from Iraq but now lives in Columbus, OH. He is also the son of Jamal Alabbood, an artist featured on Through Courageous Eyes a few weeks ago in the post “Who Paints These Eyes?” about faces found in nature.

The Through Courageous Eyes blog series features migrant and refugee artists and is curated by Cecilia Pessoa, LIRS Communications Associate.

Videographer and photographer Bilal Alabbood
Videographer Bilal Alabbood

When Jamal Alabbood sent me the short film We Live In The Same House I didn’t know what to expect from that title. After watching it, however, it was clear that Bilal Alabbood’s work should be featured on Through Courageous Eyes.

This short film rekindles a heartfelt lament for the Iraqi people and especially those who have been forced to flee and become refugees. Below is my interview with Bilal Alabbood conducted over email.

Click here to view We Live In The Same House from BeLal El Ȝrặqíƴ on Vimeo.

Cecilia Pessoa (CP): How long have you been creating films? What made you interested in filming?

Bilal Alabbood (BA): I have been creating film and projects since 2011 when I started my first camp, which is Arab Digital Expression in Egypt; that was my first experience to build my film talent and start making my own projects. Then I started working as a freelance film director and joined some projects with popular channels to create documentary films, like Al Jazeera channel. I also work as a videographer and graphic designer at Al Hadath channel.

The Arab Digital Expression Foundation is a Cairo-based non-profit that supports and mentors talented young professionals such as Bilal. The training camp Bilal mentions is one of the Foundation’s many courses that cover art, cinema, design, web design, and media technology. Bilal’s LinkedIn profile also lists his work as a graphic designer and videographer for Chanel, the renowned fashion house.

CP: Are those video clips from actual events that happened in Iraq or neighboring countries?

BA: I think it has happened in different countries rather than in just in one. All the video clips are from actual scenes.

Even after watching it several times, We Live In The Same House continues to evoke a sorrowful response as it invites viewers to join in mourning the destruction and violence it captures. The film is an emotional one – two matches are lit above a map of the Middle East and dropped on Iraq. The fire spreads throughout the Middle East – to Syria, Iran, and Jordan – as the paper slowly blackens and curls up. Mixed in is a montage of footage of events that have taken place in these countries.

CP: Are you working on any films now, or do you have plans for new films?

BA: Sure I have, and I’m still working on different projects like short films or promos for some Arabic channels.

To contact Bilal Alabbood or see more of his video work, please visit Bilal’s Vimeo page.

Find all the previous posts in the Through Courageous Eyes series.

Through Courageous Eyes features the artistic work of refugees and migrants. If you would like to showcase your artwork as part of the Through Courageous Eyes series, please contact Cecilia Pessoa at cpessoa@lirs.org.

Banner photo credit: Johanan Ottensooser

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