USA France UK | 2016 | 95
Letters from Baghdad is the story of a true original—Gertrude Bell—sometimes called the female “Lawrence of Arabia.” A British spy, explorer, and political powerhouse, Bell played a pivotal role in the creation of Iraq. Voiced and executive produced by Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton and featuring newly discovered primary source documentation and rare footage, the film unveils the dramatic story of the modern Middle East. The film also highlights the important and influential Jewish community in Baghdad during that era and Bell’s close personal relationship with Sassoon Eskell, the Jewish man she picked to be Iraq’s first Finance Minister.
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 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. Oelbaum was also executive producer of the feature documentary, Rene and I. She comes to film from a career as a still 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.