"Flavors of Iraq" "Flavors of Iraq"

Heavyweight culture channel Arte France has boarded Flavors of Iraq, an animated documentary feature directed by Léonard Cohen. The film was presented at Cartoon Movie, the European pitching event held virtually last week.

Flavors of Iraq recounts the country’s tumultuous recent history through the lens of French-Iraqi journalist Feurat Alani’s life story. The project began as a series of 1,000-plus tweets Alani sent in 2016, detailing the history and daily life of Iraq. The tweets were adapted into an award-winning book illustrated by Cohen and an Arte web series, again directed by Cohen. (Watch an episode below and check out the rest here.)

The feature will continue the story, focusing on the Islamic State years of 2011–17. Alani is writing the screenplay with Cohen, who is directing in his feature debut.

The producers are French companies Nova Production and Miyu Productions. Nova also produced the web series. Miyu produces mostly shorts but has recently pushed into features; at Cartoon Movie it also presented the Haruki Murakami adaptation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (whose trailer we exclusively premiered).

Cohen is a French animator based in Oakland, California. He has a background in news and documentary, having produced animation for the likes of newspaper Le Monde and channel Canal+. He said to Variety of Flavors of Iraq: “The original material emphasizes sensation, just like memories. So I wanted something very radical and minimalist, focused on emotion and sensation, showing the minimum and letting the viewer fill the gaps.”

Documentaries and dramas about current affairs — war in particular — are a fast-growing genre in European feature animation. Recent examples include Chris the Swiss, The Tower, and Another Day of Life.

Variety first reported the news.

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