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“Once Upon a Time in Iraq” Wins an Overseas Press Club Award

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A still from the 2020 documentary "Once Upon a Time in Iraq," which has been honored with an Overseas Press Club award: a view of al-Nuri mosque in Mosul, Iraq. (Gus Palmer/Keo Films)

April 8, 2021
by
Anne Husted Series Publicity Manager, FRONTLINE

The Overseas Press Club of America announced this week that Once Upon a Time in Iraq — FRONTLINE’s July 2020 documentary on the story of the Iraq war, told by Iraqis who lived through it — has been honored with The Peter Jennings Award for best TV, video or documentary about international affairs.

From documentary filmmaker James Bluemel, Once Upon a Time in Iraq captures the chaos, poverty and sectarian violence Iraqis have endured, telling the story of the war through personal, firsthand accounts and lasting memories.

In comments from the OPC judges, Once Upon a Time in Iraq was praised as “a searing documentary narrated exclusively by the most authoritative of experts: ordinary Iraqis who survived the tumultuous history unleashed after the fall and execution of Saddam Hussein.”

The judges said that through this first-person storytelling method, the Iraqi characters featured in this documentary “brought a new depth of understanding to America’s legacy in their country.”

“It is a great privilege to win this prestigious award, and particularly for this film, which provides an alternative voice to a well-known subject,” Bluemel says.

“We are so pleased to have Once Upon a Time in Iraq recognized by the Overseas Press Club in this way,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE’s executive producer. “We’re proud to give a voice to the Iraqis who lived through the terrors of the war and to share their stories with our audience. Thank you to PBS, CPB and GBH for championing FRONTLINE’s journalism and for making storytelling like this possible.”

FRONTLINE previously was awarded with the OPC’s Peter Jennings Award for its 2019 documentary For Sama. Including this year’s win, FRONTLINE has been honored with 17 OPC Awards.

The Overseas Press Club is America’s oldest association dedicated to international news. This year’s award winners will be recognized on October 22, 2021. You can read a full list of this year’s winners here and watch Once Upon a Time in Iraq in its entirety below.

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