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The President's Cake

Fall Grants 2023 - Production Stage

Hasan Hadi / Feature Narrative / Iraq, United States of America, Qatar / 115 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Coming of age, Drama


It’s April 26, 1991. Today is “draw day,” which means that schools across Iraq will select students for the honour of bringing items to their mandatory celebration of President Saddam’s birthday. Nine-year-old Saeed lives with Bibi in the historic Iraqi marshes. Bibi teaches Saeed tricks to avoid getting picked as he leaves for school. Musa, the authoritative teacher, starts the draw. Lamia, Saeed’s neighbour and crush, is tasked with fruits, which are scarce and expensive. Musa then calls Saeed’s name for the most difficult item—the birthday cake.

Saeed has no choice, as he knows that failing to deliver risks prison or death. Back home, Saeed finds comfort in his confidant and rooster, Hindi. He debates lying but soon admits the truth to his Bibi. Without options, they prepare an ingredient list and plan to trek to the bazaar with their valuables and Hindi. Once there, Saeed discovers that Bibi is planning to sell Hindi. Determined to save Hindi, Saeed runs away with him, abandoning Bibi. Saeed and Hindi soon encounter Lamia, and the schoolmates suddenly find themselves on a quest full of turbulence that will test and change them forever.


Hasan Hadi
Hasan Hadi
Leah Chen Baker
Production Company

About the Director

Hasan Hadi is an Iraqi writer and director. His short 'Swinnsuit' won an Oscar-qualifying award at Urbanworld and received distribution from HBO Max. Hasan’s recognitions include the Tisch Dean’s Fellowship, the Gotham-Marcie Bloom Fellowship, the Black Family Production Prize, the Sloan Foundation Production Award, and the BAFTA Newcomers Program. Hasan is a 2022 Sundance Institute Screenwriting and Directing Fellow and the recipient of the 2022 Sundance Institute/NHK Award and SFFILM Rainin Grant for his feature debut. He is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Graduate Film Program and is currently in Iraq preparing for his first feature, ‘The President’s Cake’.


  • Main Contact

    Leah Chen Baker

    TPC Film LLC

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