From the 9th floor to the 1st floor, down to the pool, and back again...

… with one lovely stop at the sushi restaurant on the 21st with Melissa Mars, Bella Krieger, Luca Ciuti, and Karim Saidi…

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Yesterday was an official press conference for The Curse of Mesopotamia. Another first! I’m actually amazed that any journalists showed up at all considering what’s going on not 50 kilometers down the road from Erbil. But there was a TV crew as well as almost two handfuls of reporters. I remember 5 or so cameras taking pictures and if I had any of those besides this one that i pilfered from FB, I would post them here. 

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I’m not happy with this picture as far as my positioning is concerned because I look a bit like I photo bombed it… The truth is, I was otherwise engaged while they all lined up and I hurried in at the last minute. I look a bit desperate to belong, I think, which is kind of, I guess, how I have always felt…

Here’s a shot I took while we were all settling in of Lauand Omar and Melissa Mars. 

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The white background with the film’s title on it that you see is where we all came in, one by one, to pose for the cameras, much like you see on E!, if you watch E! Again, totally out of my range of experience here… But fun! I liked it. I could get used to it.

The questions we were asked were intelligent and well thought out and I must say, we all answered them without sounding like idiots. We made people laugh and think, letting them know that we, as artists, understand full well that what we do is not going to help the immediate situation. but in the long run will help to bridge gaps and bring people together. I said loudly and clearly (well, not loudly…) that I believe people all over the world want the same things: love, happiness, security, and kindness and that I have felt nothing but respect and welcomed since I arrived.

We, crew and journalists alike, were also quite aware that while our press conference was going on, untold atrocities were being played out just a stones throw away. Somehow very difficult to come to terms with. Bella and I didn’t sleep at all last night and slouched down to the breakfast buffet at 6.30 to eat before we would sleep the day away and before shooting begins tonight. There we were, in the middle of a large group of Americans in high spirits (except for the guy from Texas who wasn’t very happy that someone wasn’t returning his calls) which gave us a sense of calm as opposed to panic. Also this morning, the Kurdistan Regional Government released  this letter, in an attempt to appease any fears or doubts we may have. I hope you are able to read it. If not, below is the text in larger print.

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"In response to rumors on various social media platforms, the Kurdistan Regional Government wishes to make clear that there have been no attacks on the city of Arbil by the terrorist group the Islamic State (IS), nor have there been attacks anywhere within the governorates of the Kurdistan Region. Any rumors to the contrary are categorically false. IS is known to operate a powerful propaganda machine, and is suspected to have originated such rumors. The Kurdistan Region remains safe and stable. The IS takeover of the cities of Shingal (Sinjar) and Zumar on 3 August 2014 resulted in the massacre of the local religious minorities, including Kurdish Yezidi and Christian populations, which precipitated an exodus of approximately 200,000 residents from the area. Many were able to escape to areas within the control of Peshmcrga forces and are receiving humanitarian relief. Several tens of thousands remain trapped and suffering greatly on Shingal Mountain, north of the city. In response to this humanitarian crisis and to prevent IS from taking additional territory, on 4 August Peshmerga forces launched a major offensive into Ninawa Governorate. Numerous IS positions have been retaken, with scores of IS militants killed. The Peshmerga are currently fighting to retake Shingal, liberate the thousands stranded on Shingal Mountain, and the clear the remaining surrounding areas of terrorist elements. The KRG and the Peshmcrga forces committed to protecting civilians of all religions and ethnicities. The KRG calls on the United States, the international community, and all enemies of terrorism for support in the fight against IS. IS is heavily armed with modem weaponry captured from the collapsed Iraqi Army brigades in Mosul and is capable of self-sustaining operations. Success in defeating these terrorists will require international cooperation and support, including immediate air support, military aid, training, and financial assistance.”

So here we are, keeping our life conditions high  with the attitude: the show must and will go on! Tonight we are shooting our first modern scenes together at a private location and are really looking forward to the change of scenery as well as performing this wonderful ensemble scene.

It’s a funny thing about a movie, especially when you’re in a situation like this.. even though none of us have been in one like this before… You are thrown together with people that, for the most part, don’t know each other very well, and then you live through a series of emotions as you create characters together, establish a dynamic, bond, learn who to trust (and who not to trust!) while you make this ‘thing’ that will hopefully end up being a piece of art others will enjoy and glean your intention from. We leave our loved ones behind, hoping they can understand what it is we are doing and why we have to leave them for long periods of time to work with a bunch of, in essence, strangers. But it’s always a life-changing and life-expanding experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything and would like to take this opportunity now to express my gratitude for Lauand Omar in choosing me to play his ‘Doctor’, the cast and crew members who are a really lovely group of people I am proud knowing, as well as the closest people in my life: my boyfriend, my friends, and my family, who are supporting me with their good cheer and caring concern so that I am able to do this.

Thank you for reading and please… come back soon for more! 

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