Operation FilmmakerNina Davenport, 92 min, USA.
In 2004, American actor Liev Schreiber saw an MTV segment on Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed, whose dreams of becoming a filmmaker had been thwarted by the bombing of his university during "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Schreiber, then preparing to film his directorial debut, Everything is Illuminated, in Prague, invited Muthana to work as a production assistant on the film.
Nina Davenport was hired to document Muthana's experience as an intern on the Hollywood movie. But Schreiber's well-intentioned gesture doesn't result in the inspiring story everyone had hoped for, as differing expectations and agendas clash. In particular, Muthana begrudgingly performs or shirks responsibility for the tasks assigned to him, repeatedly squandering a golden opportunity.
For OPERATION FILMMAKER, Davenport chronicled Muthana's story over a two-year period, from his work in Prague as a P.A. on Schreiber's Holocaust drama and later on Doom, a sci-fi film starring "The Rock," to a stint at a London film school, periodically contrasting his experiences abroad with scenes of Muthana's family and friends in wartorn Baghdad.
While documenting Muthana's relationships with the producers, crews and stars of both films-characterized by a psychologically fascinating stew of good intentions, bad faith, liberal guilt, and opportunism. Davenport herself eventually becomes embroiled in the young man's perennial financial difficulties and visa problems. In its continuing but futile search for a "happy ending," OPERATION FILMMAKER exposes the often mutually manipulative relationships between filmmakers and their subjects.