What’s it like to be a child in war – not when the conflict is raging, but when the war tide is out, as it were, when kids are telling stories or playing games? The First Movie is about the “not-war”.
It came about because director Mark and producer Gill separately went to Kurdistan. They loved the place and wanted to make a film about it. Mark thought it would be best to focus on kids, because their minds are uninhibited and developing fast. A good way to try to see inside those little minds, he thought, would be to give the kids cameras and let them film what they liked.
Mark and Gill travelled around Kurdish Iraq in 2008, and chose the village of Goptapa as their location, because of its beauty and hopes for the future, but also because it has a tragic past.
Influenced a little by 1001 Nights, The First Movie is a “magic realist” documentary, one of the first of its kind. It certainly doesn’t skirt the suffering of Goptapa but, rather, it shows how such suffering co-habits with other things, such as wonder and imaginative development.
One little boy in the village said he’d like to fly slowly over Goptapa. In The First Movie, that might just be possible.