For a couple of weeks I have seen posters around town for a movie. I was excited because I assumed that meant there must be some theater somewhere showing this movie.
It is called Jani Gal and is based on a novel by Ibrahim Ahmed about life in Kurdistan following the assassination of Sheikh Mahmoud. Well, at least that's what the movie's about. Turns out the book is about the Algerian war for independence.
I kept asking around about the movie and I was told that maybe it would be on TV or maybe I'd just have to buy a copy and watch it at home. Finally, the English-language newspaper published an article that said the movie would show at a theater in Sulemania... as soon as they could find one with quality equipment.
I thought that just meant never.
But, Friday, I saw an ad on PUK TV saying that the movie would play for three nights on that channel. I copied down the dates and the time and told everybody in the office (we were all excited to see it), but I found out later I was wrong.
The movie wasn't going to be on TV; it was going to show at a local theater (an actual theater, not a movie theater) and it would show for three days. We decided to try for the opening night, but we got a call just as we were headed to the theater telling us that it was VIP only and no one could get in. The best we could do would be to get tickets for the next night.
We were already almost in the car so we decided to head to the theater and try to get tickets as soon as we could.
Todd came with us managed to get himself inside the theater while we waited outside watching SUVs pull up and armed guards pop out to protect the Very Important Guests. Before long, Todd came outside and waved us in. He hadn't gotten us tickets for the next night, he had managed to get us admitted to the premiere. He told someone he had American guests and that it would be a shame if we couldn't get inside. The man inside agreed so we got in and got seats and saw our first movie premiere.
More importantly, though, Jalal Talabani's wife was there, Hero. She is Ibrahim Ahmed's daughter. After the movie we got our picture taken with her - again thanks to Todd who schmoozed one of the actors to get us in a picture with the First Lady.
So, I am now closer than ever to my dream of meeting the man himself, Mam Jalal!