D-Squared Media today announced the production and release of a new advocacy documentary about the survival of the Iraqi Jewish Archives, over 20,000 documents and personal artifacts rescued in 2003 by U.S. soldiers from the basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters in Baghdad.
“Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archives: A Journey of Identity,” a feature-length film (56 minutes) is fourth in the series about Iraq’s Jewish community, culture and history, produced over 25 years by D-Squared Media, a full-service production company in New York City. To view a trailer, go to: https://vimeo.com/437180481/bd0925d059
The new documentary was co-directed by D-Squared Media Founder Adriana Davis and long-time client Carole Basri, an American attorney descended from prominent Iraqi-Jewish families. The two have collaborated on all films in the Iraqi Jewish series which have brought a deeper recognition of the community and its history.
“Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archives” is the first documentary to introduce images of the archives while telling the story of their discovery, rescue and, as yet, undetermined future. It utilizes first person accounts and rare news footage of 1969 Iraq, including the hangings of nine Jews in a Baghdad public square.
“This is a story of miracles many times over,” said Ms. Davis, Co-Director, Producer, Co-Writer and Editor of the film. “First, the archives were discovered by a confidential informant,” she added. “Then they survived the wars in Iraq, and an arduous restoration process by the U.S. National Archives. Now, the fact that they are finding their way to the people whose names and images are on the material is unbelievable. A significant portion of the material rescued is personal including school records from the main Jewish school in Baghdad, wedding and birth registers, religious books and Torah scrolls. Interview subjects, many of whom escaped Iraq, became emotional and expressed shock at discovering their names and images among the thousands of documents thought long ago destroyed.
“What if you lost your high school diploma, marriage license and children’s birth records?” asked Ms. Davis. “Or at least you thought you did, but then they were found? Wouldn’t you want them back and preserved for future generations to learn who they are and where they came from?
Iraqi Jewish Activists Worldwide say “Don’t Send These Items Back to Iraq”
The archives, currently in the U.S. and partially digitized, risk being returned to Iraq at any moment -- unless the worldwide Iraqi Jewish community is able to create a groundswell of support to preserve them. “Without access to the archives, the 2,700-year story of Iraq’s Jews is in danger of being lost,” warned Ms. Davis. “It is essential for this material to survive so the presence of Jews in Iraq will be irrefutable.”
Along with personal recollections, the film includes interviews with representatives from B’nai B’rith International, JIMENA, a former Department of Defense official, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, and American Sephardi Federation.
The culmination of the film is a call to action, offering potential solutions to the fate of the archives, while making it clear that sending the archives back to Iraq would be disastrous. In addition to public screenings, the filmmakers seek private showings to members of Congress, the Executive Branch and the State Department, all of whom can play a role to save the archives.
An official selection of the 23rd New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, the film’s scheduled premiere on March 17, 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A rescheduled online screening is expected this summer. Dates for other festivals and online streaming of the film are underway.
For more information about the film, go to: www.SavingIraqiJewishArchivesFilm.com
About D-Squared Media and Adriana Davis
D-Squared Media was founded in 1995 by Adriana Davis to provide consistent and exceptional video production management, writing, editing, communication and voice acting/casting services. D-Squared clients include health-care, finance, advertising, engineering, broadcasting, lifestyle, legal and publishing firms. The company has also produced the company has produced socially-relevant documentaries, television and radio programs.
Ms. Davis and her company produced and co-directed three previous films in the Iraqi Jewish series – “The Life of Frank Iny” (1999), “Searching for Baghdad” (2001) and “The Last Jews of Baghdad” (2005). The trilogy has screened at over 80 premiere film festivals in the US, Canada, Israel and Europe and has been featured on PBS and JLTV.
D-Squared Media has also produced “Play It By Ear,” a romantic comedy starring Academy Award Winner® Rita Moreno, which has screened at film festivals in the U.S. and is currently seeking theatrical distribution. The movie was written, directed and produced exclusively by women.
Ms. Davis has worked as a production manager, field producer and assignment desk editor for numerous network and cable TV and radio outlets. She is also a voice over talent with commercial and corporate credits and has directed voice actors in the U.S., UK and elsewhere. Ms. Davis is a frequent panel guest at independent filmmaking, women entrepreneur and voice acting seminars throughout the country and is a native New Yorker.
For more information about D-Squared Media, go to: www.dsquaredmedia.com/