Royal Television Society Programme Award Nominee
Best Arts Documentary Prix Italia
Dubai International Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Telluride Film Festival
SXSW Film Festival
“Engrossing and genuinely revealing.” – The Independent
“A refreshing, unusual take on the war-zone documentary. Rewarding and thought provoking.” – Anna Smith, Time Out
THE FIRST MOVIE is a tribute to the imaginative resilience of children. When filmmaker Mark Cousins and his crew travel to Goptapa, a small Kurdish Village in Northern Iraq devastated by Saddam Hussein’s regime, they discover children who have known nothing but war their entire lives and have never experienced the magic of cinema. The filmmakers sew together a movie screen from old sheets and set up a projector, instantly creating a movie theater that plays children’s classics in the village center. But the real magic happens when the children receive Flip camcorders and create their own movies filled with a child’s wonder and boundless imagination. The resulting films are the true gift of THE FIRST MOVIE; they are tickets to see a different Iraq, and the world, through a child’s transformative eyes. The film conveys the power of cinema to enchant and inspire, even amidst the bloodshed of war.
Mark Cousins is a Belfast-born documentary filmmaker, author and curator. He has made numerous documentaries on Neo-Nazism, Gorbachev, the first Gulf War and Iranian cinema. Cousins is an Honorary Dr of Letters at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Stirling. He has also published four books, was a BBC TV presenter and was director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Cousins co-directed Cinema China, and has guest curated film fests around the world. He also co-founded the charity Scottish Kids are Making Movies, is co-director of 4Way Pictures.