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Film Screening: "Letters From Baghdad"


Letters From Baghdad, voiced and executive produced by Academy Award-winning actor Tilda Swinton, tells the extraordinary story of Gertrude Bell, sometimes called “the female Lawrence of Arabia”. One of the most powerful figures to emerge in the Middle East during and after World War I, Bell was a British spy, explorer, writer and political powerhouse. More influential than her colleague T.E. Lawrence, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum, which was infamously ransacked during the American invasion in 2003. Using never-seen-before archival footage of Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and Teheran shot a century ago, the film chronicles Bell’s remarkable journey into the uncharted desert and inner sanctum of British male colonial power. It is a unique look at both a complex woman and the tangled history of Iraq, and is eerily current.

Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum will attend the evening and participate in a Q&A after the film.

Sabine Krayenbühl is an award-winning editor with over 20 theatrical documentaries and narrative features to her credit, many of which have premiered at prestigious festivals around the world. Her work includes Oscar and Independent Spirit Award nominated My Architect for which she received an American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Award nomination. Other credits include Mad Hot Ballroom, one of the top twenty highest grossing documentaries, The Bridge produced by IFC, Picasso and Braque go to the Movies, produced by Martin Scorsese, Virgin Tales, Ahead of Time, Jennifer Fox’s Emmy nominated My Reincarnation, Salinger on which she consulted, and most recently Eric Steel’s Kiss the Water, co-produced by BBC Films. Krayenbühl has a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a long-term member of New York Women in Film and Television.

Zeva Oelbaum is an award-winning producer and photographer. She recently produced Ahead of Time, a feature length documentary about centenarian journalist Ruth Gruber which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before garnering six Best Documentary awards. The film opened theatrically across the U.S. and was broadcast on Showtime Channel. Zeva comes to film from a career as a still life photographer and her work has been extensively published in periodicals such as The New York Times Magazine. Her photographs are in international public collections including the Bibliothèque nationale de France and The Brooklyn Museum, and two monographs of her work have been published by Rizzoli Int’l Publishers. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in anthropology, and a member of the Producer’s Guild.

Date: Friday, November 3

Time: 6:00 Reception, 7:00 pm Screening with Q&A to follow

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid ID

Reservation Notes:

Click here to purchase tickets online

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To secure a reservation, you may also call 212.628.8383 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Header Photo: Gertrude Bell, third from left, was flanked by Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence on a visit to the Pyramids in 1921. Courtesy of The Gertrude Bell Archive, Newcastle University

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste