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STATISTICS:
46% of Iraqi women do not list any direct threats to their safety in the neighbourhood.
Returnee monitoring data obtained by the UN refugee Agency during 2004 and 2005 showed that about 80% of the returnees in Northern Iraq and more than 35% in the lower south of Iraq ended up internally displaced upon return mainly due to the lack of housing, employment and social services.
The Tenth Planet: A Single Woman's Life in Baghdad (38 min)
Melis Birder
TurkeyGALLERYCONVERSATION
 Media Center
When my friend went to Iraq on work, I asked him if I could tag along with camera in tow.

He agreed though many others told me that I was crazy to want to go to a country at war, but I was curious about what was really going on there.

In the United States, the news on the war was mostly biased. We only heard the voices of the experts and never those of the Iraqis. This arrogance was very frustrating. I wanted to hear Iraqis talk about their country and their future.

Friends who shared my opinions and outrage supported me financially and in 2004 I traveled to Baghdad. I arrived not knowing what I was going to film. I just wanted to be part of this important historical moment and I hoped to return with some interesting footage.

I was fortunate to meet Kawkab on my second day in Baghdad. She was to be my translator and guide, but became my protagonist. She introduced me to her family, friends and coworkers all of whom opened their houses, work places and hearts to me and to my camera. I was ushered right into the heart of traditional Iraqi hospitality, a place where sincerity is commonplace and candor is often astounding.

I aimed to portray an intimate and human side of Baghdad, and show the every-day joys, fears and hopes of a young Iraqi woman. I wanted my film to offer a close-up of the human and female element in this colossal tragedy.

I believe that The Tenth Planet defies the stereotypes of Iraqi women presented by western media.  Whether Iraqi or American, we all have so much in common as women. Instead of focusing on differences, I think it's time that we find and explore the commonalities that connect us.

***

FILM CREDITS 

Director: Melis Birder
Camera: Melis Birder
Producers: Melis Birder, Simon Kerr, Jay Tran
Editing: Simon Kerr, Melis Birder
Music: Jay Tran

For entire credit roll, please see added story on the right. 

For more information please visit www.visitorsdocumentary.com, www.tenth-planet.org, and www.filmist.org.

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