After a month-long intensive session in October students have started working on their films, telling the story of Mosul.

All equipment like lenses and sound gear brought in from abroad will stay in Mosul with the goal for the students to continue working on their films.
All equipment like lenses and sound gear brought in from abroad will stay in Mosul with the goal for the students to continue working on their films. (AFP)

A budding Iraqi filmmaker yells "action!" as an actress clambers over rubble in Mosul's Old City, proud students of a new film school.

In collaboration between the Mosul fine arts academy, a Belgian theatre company and UN cultural agency UNESCO, 19 students are getting a chance to make their first short films.

"We live in Mosul, we know everything that happened," said 20-year-old theatre student Mohammed Fawaz.

"We want to show it all to the world through cinema."

Over a four-month course, students get a taste of everything from writing and shooting to acting and editing, according to Milo Rau, artistic director of Belgian NTGent theatre company who is behind the initiative.

Cameras and microphones in hand, the students are now hitting Mosul's streets to tell stories from their wounded city.

READ MORE: Spare a thought for the children of the Iraq War

Healing scars

Mosul still bears the scars of the brutal reign of Daesh, the terrorist group that overran the northern Iraqi city in 2014 and imposed their ultraconservative interpretation of Islamic law.

They destroyed everything from centuries-old churches to musical instruments before being overthrown in a devastating battle in 2017.

Studying at the fine arts academy after the Daesh defeat was a bit like "passing from the Stone Age to modernity, "said student Fawaz.

The students' nine works, each lasting up to five minutes, will be screened in Mosul in February before being presented to European festivals, said artistic director Rau.

The goal now is to secure funding to keep the cinema department running.

The next step will be "to have a small Mosul film festival…continuing what we started".

READ MORE: Resilience after Daesh: Making Mosul green again

Source: AFP