Mohammed Salah Moneka, born in Basra 1989. He studied filmmaking in the University College of Fine Arts and directing as well as script writing at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and the Independent Media Center in Kurdistan (IMCK). In 2008 he participated with the short movie “Chocolate” in the Iraqi Cultures Festival for Film. The short movie “In the middle of the street” won the first price in Institute of Arts Short Film Festival and the Best Actor Award at the Baghdad International Film Festival, third session. He wrote several short films; took part in theater and dance productions and because of crowing up in a Sufi artist family, music is always part of his life. - With this experience Mohammed Moneka supports the project with his expertise of film technique, business and philosophy.
Ahmed Salah Moneka, born in Baghdad, 1990, where he grew up in a creative, loving, and supportive family. He studied Theatre at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theoretical Acting from the University of Baghdad. After acting in live theatre for 9 years, Ahmed became the first black television presenter in Iraq for a popular television show, Mizan Ramadan in 2012. He then moved to film and acted in critically acclaimed and award winning short and feature-length films, many of which have been screened at leading international film festivals including Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. Much of Ahmed’s work focuses on the issues of human rights and freedom in his native Iraq. In 2014, he starred in the short film The Society. Through its heart-wrenching story and gripping performances, the film exposes the ongoing indignity and danger that homosexuals in Iraq regularly experience. As a result of his performance and involvement in the film, Ahmed received serious threats and was unable to return to Iraq after his film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. - He supports the project with his passion of love „which is the main reason for a great future!“
Maria Oertel, born in Germany 1987, grew up as a so called „Wendekind“. That is why she probably experienced the spirit of change already from her early age on. And it seems that these circumstances were the beginning of her curiosity and open-mindedness towards the unknown. That is why she is currently involved in various
projects, in which she repeatedly brings the roots of her early artistic education from the time of her studies at the Palucca Schule Dresden (University of Dance) and incorporates her experiences from participating in international dance festivals and art as well as theatre workshops. In addition to this early contact with the performing arts scene, she focused on different concepts of mutual learning within her Master Degree in Education (University Leipzig 2013) and deepened
her expertise in the field of Communication through numerous advanced trainings (i.e. Mediation, Non-violent communication, Yoga Philosophy, etc.). Always with the aim of promoting mutual appreciation and individual reflection as the base for a common life together. - She therefore supports the project on a process-building level and communicates the results to the outside world.
Ali Arkady, born in 1982, is a photojournalist and filmmaker from Khanaqin, Iraq. He graduated from Khanaqin's Institute of Fine Art in and has worked as an independent photographer since 2006. In 2014, he became a part of the VII Photo Mentor Program. Ali’s work has focused on wounded and disabled Iraqis during wartime, as well as the daily life of his countrymen. He has done intimate work on the plight of the Yazidis after their expulsion by ISIS and more recently has produced some of the most important evidence of war crimes in the past 30 years while covering Iraqi forces in the battles for Mosul. He portrays humanitarian conditions and conflicts that Iraq has gone through with sensitivity and an unflinching eye. Ali chose to cover the deteriorating situations of people in his country following the regime change of 2003. This year he won the prestigious Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents and had his work shown as part of the Venice Biennale. - His sense of artistic work as well as his international experience as an artist create the special taste of the project.