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Arkala Gilgamesh's Dream

Fall Grants 2023 - Post-Production Stage

Mohamed Al-daradji / Feature Narrative / Iraq, United Arab Emirates, France, United Kingdom, Qatar / 113 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Fiction


Chum-Chum, a nine-year-old dreamy street kid with diabetes, and his best friend, Moody, a tough thirteen-year-old, eke out a living by stealing and scheming to survive the harsh streets of Baghdad. Maryam is a fierce and closed-off woman who drives an old, worn-out double-decker bus to pick up street kids and educate them in her bus that she turned into a school. Maryam shows Chum-chum, an animation film about the legendary Gilgamesh and how he goes to the underworld ‘Arkala’.

One day, Chum-Chum sees Gilgamesh taking bodies out of the river. Touched by these images, he overcomes his fear and tries to forge a friendship with the man so that he takes him into the depths of the Tigris River and into Arkala. Moody has only one dream—to save enough money to leave Iraq for good for the Netherlands, together with Chum-Chum and his sister Sara (15), whom he secretly loves, but he makes her work at a nightclub to help him secure money for a smuggler. Chum discovers Moody’s relationship with the Sheikh (60), a ruthless and bleak militia and Moody’s links to the killing of Maryam’s Family. Moody agrees to commit a final act of terror for the Sheik—by bombing the protesters in Tahrir Square. Can Chum-chum’s dream become a reality and save Moody?


Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji
Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji, Karim Traidia, Shahad Ameen
Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji
Production Company
Iraqi Independent Film Centre, HumanFilm UK, Lionceau Films

About the Director

Born in Baghdad, Mohamed studied in the UK to complete two Masters degrees. In 2003, he made his first feature film, ‘Ahlaam’, which screened in 125 International Film Festivals, received over 23 awards, and represented Iraq for an Oscar in 2007. As a Sundance fellow, his second feature film; ‘Son of Babylon’ (2010), screened at Sundance and Berlin, and received the award of Variety’s Middle Eastern Filmmaker of the Year. His documentary ‘In My Mother’s Arms’ premiered at Toronto IFF and won the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 2013, he began work on his 5th feature, ‘In The Sands of Babylon’, at Abu Dhabi IFF and won Best Film from the Arab World. Mohamed’s latest film, ‘The Journey’, was selected for TIFF 2017. Alongside his work as a filmmaker, Mohamed established the Iraqi Independent Film Centre and was chosen to be a member of the Oscar Academy.


  • Main Contact

    Iraqi Independent Film Centre

    Iraqi Independent Film Centre

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