Joining a small but growing number of films about the Jews of Iraq, Baghdad Twist—by Baghdad-born Joe Balass (Nana, George and Me, SFJFF 1998)—is an evocation of a lost world, one of reed boat rafting on the Euphrates, spice markets and doing the Twist. Wonderful archival footage melds with the recollections of Valentine, the director’s mother, in exploring one family’s choices and the way historical realities shaped them.
From 2008 Festival: Director, United States
Joe Balass is an independent filmmaker working in both fiction and documentary. He resides in Montreal where he operates a production company, Compass Productions Inc. In addition, he also works as a freelance editor, photographer and cameraman. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1966 and after escaping with his family at the age of four, he eventually settled in Canada. Balass has produced and directed a number of award-winning films and videos. He expresses a very spontaneous blend of seriousness and humour in his approach to filmmaking. Baghdad Twist is his most recent film. At present, Joe Balass is working on a number of documentary projects as well as a fiction feature.