A short film by Kurdish Regisseur Shehim Omar Khalifa which was highly awarded worldwide is now planning to become a full-length documentary as shooting for its enlargement is underway in Baghdad, Iraq.
The production was based on the impact of football on Iraqi children and their particular admiration for Argentine star Lionel Messi, who plays for Spanish club Barcelona.
Baghdad Messi shows how hope and passion for the most universal of sports stay undented in a country in total decline due to decades of war and destruction.
Now 18 years old, Ali al-Zaidawi, the leading player of the 19-minute version, will repeat the character of a teenager named Hamoudi, who plays football, despite having his leg amputated, after being injured in an episode of violence in Baghdad.
This film is of great importance to us because we will shoot it entirely in the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan, Khalifa said.
On production costs, he noted that so far they have spent half a million dollars on the process, although they are worth it for their benefit to Kurdish cinema.
Khalifa confessed that seven years ago he conceived the script and then filmed a short film with the same name that was successful at the Dubai festivals, in 2013, at the Brescello in Italy, and the Katowice, Poland, among others.
A team of 120 people has been shooting non-stop for 45 days and works 14 hours a day in Iraqi Kurdistan.