8mm/16mm/HD/MiniDV • Documentary • In progress
Jarmo is an archaeological site in Northern Iraq that is believed to be one of the earliest farming settlements. The political, personal and exploratory missions passing over this land for the past 10,000 years each contain their own set of agendas, sorrows and discoveries. Dancing between these transient personal or political moments and the long history of the earth below, Jarmo investigates how humans have used the earth for survival, knowledge, power, and meaning throughout time.
Shot over a series of trips to Iraq beginning in 2009, this film was born out of The Iraqi Seed Project, a cross-media dialogue about sustainable food production in Iraq.
I went to Iraq for the first time in 2009 and began collecting and recording audio-visual materials for a project about the origins of agriculture and local food security. I returned nearly every year since, amassing a large collection of research along the way including photographs, 8mm film footage, digital video recordings and audio recordings as well as ancient texts, official documents and interviews with farmers and government officials.
Between 2010-2012 I gave lectures, screened fragments of my footage and wrote articles on the subject. The project grew quickly and took many turns. My internal challenge was finding the proper balance between art and advocacy, I came to the project from my film work on an online cooking show that focused on healthy, seasonal eating. I received a lot of support from local food and sustainable agriculture advocates in the United States and Europe, but the material I was collecting in Iraq was not always necessarily supporting these values. I began to feel like I was being forced to create parallels where there were none. I began an MFA in film at FAMU in Prague in the Fall of 2012. For the most part during this time, I set my work on the project aside, though I did return to Iraqi Kurdistan a few times to film.
This year, 2016, I return to the project with a renewed focus and greater clarity for how to proceed. In September/October, I was a resident artist at the Marble House Project in Dorset, VT. There I accomplished a very rough assembly cut and a focused 4 minute intro animation for the piece. I have also been fortunate this fall to make two visits to the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, the archivists there have generously helped me secure access to audio and visual material from the first archaeological digs that took place at Jarmo between 1948-1955. These materials includes photographs and 16mm footage of the same locations where I filmed in 2011, 2012 as well as audio recordings of the archaeologists involved.
I am seeking $15,000 in additional funds to shoot some remaining animation and text sequences in Super8, translate additional material, pay for harddrives and complete the edit of the film in 2017. If this work speaks to you, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the project through Women Make Movies.