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February 23, 2007

From Iraq To The Red Carpet


The Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday night.  For the first time, two contenders for best documentary feature are about the Iraq war, and both are made by American filmmakers.

The Iraq war has already claimed the lives of more journalists than either the war in Vietnam or World War II: 93 so far. So traveling around Iraq as a solo documentary filmmaker may strike some as potentially self-destructive. But that's what Laura Poitras and James Longley did. Each spent years there on their own, filming scenes that at times put their lives in danger.  

Today they talk with Dick Gordon about what they learned first hand amid the chaos and tragedy of a country at war. James says that he worried about being captured: "I hoped I wouldn't scream like a little girl." Laura had similar concerns.

I never traveled without the Abu Ghraib tapes on me. Because I figured that if I found myself in a kidnapping situation, they would be useful in terms of explaining the work that I was doing there. So it was kind of a security.

- Laura Poitras



Omar Dewachi is an Iraqi citizen who left his country in 1998. He wound up at Harvard just before September 11. But now he's stranded in Canada because in January the US Government declared most Iraqi passports invalid, including his. The only place in the world that's issuing the new passports: Baghdad. 

Dick talks to Omar about the predicament he and other Iraqis are now facing.

  • Find out more about the musical group Saffafir
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