Operation Filmmaker (2008)



Critic Consensus: Operation Filmmaker is a darkly funny, ironic tale of a cross-cultural exchange gone wrong.

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Movie Info

Touched by the plight of an aspiring Iraqi filmmaker whose dreams of working in Hollywood seemed to fall with Baghdad, American filmmaker Liev Schreiber invites the ambitious wannabe director to intern on Everything Is Illuminated, to unexpected results. In 2004, just one year after the United States launched a devastating attack on Baghdad, MTV ran a story about a 25-year-old Iraqi film student named Muthana Mohmed, who remained determined not to let the strife that consumed his country consume his dreams as well. At the time, American actor Schreiber was preparing to make his directorial debut with the film Everything Is Illuminated. After seeing the documentary on television, Schreiber was consumed by guilt for having so many amazing opportunities in the film industry and determined to give Mohmed the chance of a lifetime by inviting him to join the production of Everything Is Illuminated in the Czech Republic. Common wisdom dictates that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," however, and as Mohmed attempted to balance the complications of living away from home for the first time with the cultural issues that arise while working with an all-American film crew, the situation quickly began to deteriorate.
Documentary , Special Interest , Television
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Critic Reviews for Operation Filmmaker

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (15)

If learning about other cultures shows that we're all basically alike, Operation Filmmaker is a reminder that foreign countries have their own share of nitwits, too.

Full Review… | July 25, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

What might have been a vanity project emerges as a surprisingly complicated morality tale.

June 29, 2008
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Everyone here comes out smelling bad -- that's why the film's so good.

Full Review… | June 20, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

This gut punch of a documentary will knock you for a loop.

June 12, 2008
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

An exit strategy in Iraq? This self-aware study shows how hard it'll be.

Full Review… | June 6, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The whole film could be seen a metaphor for America's misadventures in Iraq: Schreiber and company came in expecting flowers and sweets from a grateful native, and wound up in a quagmire.

June 6, 2008
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Operation Filmmaker


A biased--yet nonetheless compelling--documentary about how good intentions paired with cultural misunderstandings can yield disaster. Operation Filmmaker also removes the metaphorical barrier between documentarian and subject in a way that few documentaries have before.

Bryan Loy
Bryan Loy

One of the best examples of the complex relationship between documentarian and subject. A great film.

Jacob Rosdail
Jacob Rosdail

Here's a documentary that is sadly very real. After seeing Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed lament his broken dream of becoming a filmmaker in the wake of the 2003 Iraq war, actor Liev Schrieber invites him to Prague to work on his 2005 film Everything Is Illuminated.Filmmaker Nina Davenport followed the drama that ensued, as which depicts Hollywood at it's worst. Schrieber treats Muthana as a prized pet mostly. Things take a stranger twist when Muthana accuses Davenport herself of exploiting him. You won't know how to react after seeing this one. Lord knows I didn't.

Manny Casillas
Manny Casillas

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