International Film Exchange
The International Film Exchange (IFE) brings young filmmakers from around the world to Hollywood and assists them in developing the technical and creative tools needed to document important social issues in their countries of origin. The IFE serves two purposes: 1) to provide training for young filmmakers and organize outlets for their films, and 2) to raise awareness in the U.S. film industry about important social issues and the struggles of young international filmmakers around the world. Participants include producers, directors, writers, cinematographers and actors.
In partnership with institutions including the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television (TFT) and the Global Creative Forum (GCF), international filmmakers are given an opportunity to travel to the United States, learn about film from top American artists and receive hands on mentoring and support. At the end of their program, the filmmakers are provided with small grants to produce short films. These films will be promoted by HDI and also shown at the GCF conference the following year.
The first group of IFE participants — seven filmmakers from Iraq — recently traveled to the Los Angeles in June 2013 to participate in an intensive program that included three days of classroom training at UCLA. Prior to visiting the United States, the group took part in a workshop for young filmmakers that took place in Baghdad in May 2013. The Iraqi IFE program is funded by the American Embassy in Baghdad and organized by the Iraqi Independent Film Center (IIFC).
UCLA is consistently ranked as one of the top elite entertainment and performing arts institutions in the world. In 2013, UCLA provided visiting Iraqi filmmakers with an innovative curriculum that integrated the study and creation of live performance, film, television and the digital arts. UCLA's distinguished graduate and undergraduate programs include acting, directing, writing, producing, animation, cinematography, lighting design, set design, costume design, sound design, Moving Image Archive Studies, and offers PhDs in Theater and Performance Studies and Cinema & Media Studies.
U.S. filmmaker Bill Megalos traveled to Baghdad in May 2013 to assess candidates for the program, provide orientation and training. Read about his experiences while in Iraq on his blog.