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Son Of Babylon wins prestigious BIFA Raindance Award
Ahmed played by Yassir Talib
Ahmed played by Yassir Talib in the desert landscape of Iraq

A film made by a Leeds-based production company has won a prestigious award at the British Independent Film Awards.

Son Of Babylon, which was was written and directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji, is set in 2003 after the end of the second Gulf War.

The film won the Raindance Award which honours exceptional achievement for filmmakers working against the odds.

The film has also been selected by Iraq's Department of Culture as their entry for the 2011 Academy Awards.

Funding for Son Of Babylon was aided by Screen Yorkshire's Production Fund, which invests in film and television production in the region.

Previous successes include The Damned United, Red Riding, Unforgiven, Wuthering Heights, Lost in Austen and the BAFTA award-winning, This Is England.

Son Of Babylon unearths Iraq's hidden horrors as Al-Daradji takes his audience on a journey through Iraq in 2003, just after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

News comes out that prisoners of war have been found alive in the South of the country.

Mohamed Al-Daradji
Director Mohamed Al-Daradji lines up a shot

Ahmed, a young boy and his grandmother, Um Ibrahim, set out to uncover the fate of the boy's father, one of the many soldiers who never came home.

From the mountains of Kurdistan to the sands of Babylon, as his grandmother struggles to accept an awful truth, Ahmed retraces the footsteps of a father he never knew.

Son of Babylon is the second feature film from Mohamed Al-Daradji, following his debut Alhaam, a film that represented Iraq for the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards in 2007.

Son of Babylon has already had some success on the international festival circuit, scooping the NETPAC award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, as well as screening at Sundance Berlin, where the film picked up The Amnesty International Film Prize Award & The Peace Prize Award.

The film was also screened at the 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival this summer where it received a special mention under the Moët New Director's Award and also took the Award for Artistic Achievement at the IFF Cinema City Serbia.

Director Mohamed Al-Daradji and producer Isabelle Stead were at the award ceremony to pick up their prize - the latest in a long line of accolades for the film ahead of its UK release on Friday 18 February 2011.

Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance explains the criterior for winning the award: "The Raindance Award honours films that were made against all odds, with no industry support, often by a first-time director that demonstrates visionary energy and artistic integrity."

"Above all the nominated filmmakers deserve to continue making films, despite not having the financial clout to launch ad campaigns to rival that of bigger films. It's not just an award for 'the little guy' but a formal acknowledgement of outstanding ability in marketing and promotion waiting to make its mark in the world of film."


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