15th ÉCU Film Festival | 2020 
"The film is about love and the ban ad absurdum. It is also a story about the choice between resistance and obedience, against morals, religion and oppression. told in a easy, funny, funky way just like the nature of the people in Baghdad."
Sawat Ghaleb
 For a Kiss in Baghdad 
Arab Special Selection
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Saeed is a young boy who works as a street gas cylinders seller in a poor neighbourhood in Baghdad. He is in love with his boss’ daughter. In a big city like Baghdad, these two can’t find a place to kiss. Every time he tries to kiss her something happens.

Hi Sawat thank you for talking to TNC, how are you handling the lockdown?

Well, am trying to do the best out of it,  rewrote two short film scripts (first version), watching movies, reading.

As a filmmaker is this experience providing you with some creative motivations?

The first 2 weeks yes, but After a while it is a bit wired, am not use to be limited in my movement, the feeling of missing the freedom makes me worried.

Your short For a Kiss in Baghdad has been selected for the 2020 ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what has it meant to you to be part of this unique film festival for independent filmmakers?

When I got this special email with in bold written CONGRATULATIONS. I was over the Moon,’ECU is the right place to screen unique, individual films, I use to follow ‘ECU Festivals for years and very proud now to be Part of it. Of course it is motivating to see my film watched by great audience, film profissionals and film criticals.

Can you tell me a little bit about For a Kiss in Baghdad, what was the inspiration behind this film?

Well it was actually a personal story happened to me and it is not just about the kiss, it is about how much freedom have a Moment in your life.


For a Kiss in Baghdad, is the story of a Poor young men who Works as a street gas cylinders seller in Baghdad, he is in love with the daughter of his aggressive boss.

In a big conservative city like Baghdad, it is not allowed to kiss in the public and these two don't have a place to meet and kiss, every time he tries to kiss her somewhere , something would happen or somebody would appear and interrupt.


The film is about love and the ban ad absurdum. It is also a story about the choice between resistance and obedience, against morals, religion and oppression. told in a easy, funny, funky way just like the nature of the people in Baghdad.

What was the most challenging part of bringing For a Kiss in Baghdad to life?

Imagine I had difficulties to find a Women Actress in Baghdad, because of the kissing scene, although there is no real kissing in the film, but the actress and the actor needs to getting very close with their mouths to each others.

It tooks me 4 months to find the actress...


Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently?

Of course as a filmmaker you never satisfied...but all in all am fine with the result.

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

Since I was a Child I was into films, inspired by Charlie Chaplin and the power of pictures...every time I was amazed how deep I can laugh or cry when  was watching a good film...the emotional journey was for me the most exciting part in the film world.

How much has your style and approach changed since you started out?

I always felt very close to stories that dealt with social issues, injustice, freedom, despair...maybe because I live in a country with a lots of restrictions, politically and socially, but since the last three years am trying to tell sad stories in a funny way...at the end people want to enjoy the journey. The world delivering bad news everyday, the trick is to deliver the same bad news in a very funny looks.

"Do not imitate any one be yourself."

Do you have any tips or advice to offer filmmakers about to make their first film?

Don't worry about how to get camera equipment, lightings, focus on your own story, recheck your script when you have a well written script you can shoot it with a mobile phone. Do not imitate any one be yourself.

What are you currently working on?

Am working on a script about a violin player at a time of ISIS.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from For a Kiss in Baghdad?

Big tabus...small attempt, if there is a will there is a way.

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