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Week of 10.13.06

An American woman's startling tale of life in Iraq

Filmmaker Laura Poitras spent eight dangerous months documenting the life of an Iraqi medical doctor and his family as they struggled to maintain hope amidst the bombings, bloodshed, and military occupation.

When she returned to America, Poitras was labeled with the highest possible threat rating from the Department of Homeland Security. Her resulting film, "My Country, My Country" is an intimate portrait of daily life in the war zone.

This week, NOW's David Brancaccio talks to Poitras about her eye-opening experiences working on what The Village Voice calls "the most valuable piece of film to emerge about the war in all of its three years."

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"I think, as Americans, we should understand the war and the consequences from the human perspective and its toll, and not just by reading the front pages," Poitras told NOW.

Poitras' film will debut on the PBS documentary series "POV" on October 25th.

About Laura Poitras

Photo credit: Heather Block
A former chef, Laura Poitras studied filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute and the New School. Following her return to the U.S. in August, 2006, she found herself placed on the Department of Homeland Security's highest threat rating, resulting in numerous searches at airports and other security checkpoints.

Poitras received a Peabody Award for her last documentary, Flag Wars (2003), which she co-directed, produced, and shot. A documentary about gentrification in Columbus, Ohio, Flag Wars also won Best Documentary at the 2003 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival as well as the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Filmmaker Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Photo Essay: "My Country, My Country"
Flag Wars launched the 2003 P.O.V. series on PBS and was nominated for both a 2004 Independent Spirit Award and a 2004 Emmy Award. Poitras' other films include Oh Say Can You See... (2003) and Exact Fantasy (1995). She resides in New York City.