ahmed yassin daradji
After graduating with a BSc in audio and visual arts from the University of Baghdad, Daradji worked as a scriptwriter on the short film MY NAME IS MOHAMMED. He then moved to London to study for a Master’s Degree in filmmaking at the London Film School, where he shot his short film BETWEEN THE TWO BANKS.

His debut feature HANGING GARDENS premiered in Venice and racked up five awards from the Red Sea and Malmö film festivals.

What character do you identify with?
Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks.

Who’s your hero?
I’m my own hero!

What’s the industry’s most troubling trend?
Digitization! Especially when it intervenes in the story or the lives of characters.

2024 will be the year that MENA finally does what?
Tells its stories in our voices, with no outside interference.

What was your first job?
A boom operator (sound man).

What’s your secret daily habit or guilty pleasure?
I don't have one! I always try to manage my time and schedule in the most efficient way possible.

What’s the last great show or film you watched?
I re-watched DOGVILLE by Lars Von Trier.

What would have been your dream job if you didn’t end up doing what you’re doing?
An anatomist. I initially got into med school, but then I quit and started studying cinema without my parent's knowledge, which they’re still angry about to this day.