In The Sands of Babylon wins at Abu Dhabi IFF

The award for Best Film from the Arab World was presented to In The Sands of Babylon by Iraqi helmer Mohamed Al-Daradji at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). Actress Jacki Weaver heads up the judging panel and she stated that the film “brought into sharp focus one of the most gripping, terrible and unknown episodes relating to the Gulf War.” She also praised the filmmaker for combining “dramatic reconstruction, witness testimony and archival footage.”

In The Sands of Babylon follows a harrowing narrative, unearthing the purposely overlooked 1991 Iraqi Uprising that few in the world have heard about. In response to the award, Al-Daradji dedicated the piece to “all those that fell victim to Saddam’s regime and who are still missing.” During the festival the film had two successful screenings, both of which resulted in a standing ovation.

The story follows Ibrahim, an Iraqi soldier, who has escaped from Kuwait as the army retreats. His dangerous journey home leaves him facing a path across the southern desert, the no-man’s-land between Saddam’s Regime and the American intervention. It is not long before he is captured by the Republican Guard and cast into Saddam’s infamous prisons, suspected of being a traitor. However, the Iraqi people are uprising beyond the prison walls, bringing hope to the captives.

In The Sands of Babylon is the fifth feature film by the filmmakers, following the highly acclaimed Son of Babylon and In My Mother’s Arms. The film is the product of a multi-national collaboration that has united many well-respected organisations: The Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Iraqi Independent Film Centre (IQ), Sundance Institute (US), Creative England, BFI (UK), Sanad Abu Dhabi Film Fund (UAE), Cinema in Motion (Spain).

For more information visit the Abu Dhabi Film Festival website,

1. In The Sands of Babylon, courtesy of YouTube.