About the filmmakers
The First Movie was produced out of Edinburgh, Scotland. The director is Irish, the producers are Scottish and Canadian, the onscreen kids, translator, security and production managers are Kurdish, the editor is German, the sound recordist is Canadian and the composer is Canadian-Hong-Kongese! We uploaded rough cuts, and emailed music, planned post-production on conference calls, and swapped contracts by email. How did people make international films before the internet?
Mark Cousins with his camera in a middle-eastern city.
Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins is 44 on the outside and 15 on the inside. The 44-year-old has done lots of serious, adult stuff: he’s made documentaries on Neo-Nazism, Gorbachev, the first Gulf War, Iranian cinema, Ian Hamilton Finlay and I Know Where I’m Going! He’s Honorary Dr of Letters at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Stirling. He’s published four books: Imagining Reality (with Kevin Macdonald), Scene by Scene, The Story of Film (a history of cinema translated into ten languages including Chinese – the Times of London critic said it was by the best film book he’s ever read), and Watching Real People Elsewhere (a collection of his writing in Prospect). He was a BBC TV presenter for 5 years (Moviedrome and Scene by Scene, which he also directed). He was director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, took that festival to Sarajevo during the siege, co-directed Cinema China, and has guest curated film fests around the world. He co-founded the charity Scottish Kids are Making Movies, is co-director of 4Way Pictures with Antonia Bird, Robert Carlyle and Irvine Welsh, is making The Story of Film into a 12 hour documentary, and he’s on the board of lots of things.

The 15-year-old Mark drove his campervan from Edinburgh to Mumbai, loves dancing, architecture, night swimming and drawing, and is a bit of a feardie. He and Tilda Swinton directed the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams, the Scottish Cinema of Dreams in Beijing (a forest inside a cinema, in which it snowed feathers) and A Pilgrimage (in which they pulled the Screen Machine film truck across bits of Scotland). The First Movie was made by the bloke of 44 and the kid of 15. Both loved the adventure.

Gill Parry cooling her feet in a stream.
Gill Parry

Gill Parry is a Scottish producer who has helped make The First Movie and a few other things. She loves dogs, Mata Hari cocktails, dancing when she's happy & poetry when she's sad. She misses the heat of Kurdistan, and Lucy. That's it. Onwards.

Trish Dolman

Producer Trish Dolman is the founder of Screen Siren Pictures Inc. and has been producing film and television in Canada for over fifteen years. Most recently Trish produced Year of the Carnivore, a feature film by Sook-Yin Lee (Shortbus), which opened the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival’s Canada First section. Previously, Trish produced two other debut features. In 2001/2002 she produced Keith Behrman’s first feature, Flower & Garnet which won more than twenty awards (including Claude Jutra for Best 1st feature and Best Narrative at the Boston International Film Festival), screened at Berlin (Panorama Special Section), Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Pusan and MOMA: Canadian Front, and played in Vancouver theatres for over eleven weeks. In 2005, Trish produced the Genie nominated Luna: Spirit of the Whale, a TV movie for CTV and Peace Arch Entertainment starring Adam Beach, Graham Greene and Jason Priestley.

Trish has also produced numerous award-winning documentary films and factual series including: Reservation Soldiers, Breaking Ranks, Exit Kingsway, Hammer & Tickle, Girl Racers, Drawing out the Demons, Ice Girls, The Friendship Village and Britannia Beach. She was also the 2nd Unit Director on the Sundance award-winning Mark Achbar documentary The Corporation. In 2003, Trish was the youngest recipient of the Woman of the Year award from Women in Film and Video Vancouver.

Trish is currently producing director/writer Michael Goldbach’s debut feature Daydream Nation starring Scott Speedman and Kat Dennings and she is directing a feature documentary, Eco-pirate: The Story of Paul Watson.

Brent Calkin surveying the Kurdistan landscape with his sound equipment by his side.
Brent Calkin

Perhaps the only sound recordist in the world who dreams about recording a Javanese gamelan orchestra collaborating with a Dadaist noise composer at the top of 3 pitches of mixed ice and rock, Brent’s diverse background as a BC Mountain Search and Rescue Team Leader, combined with a lifelong love of sound and music has led to working in many unexpected and intriguing places.

Happiest when forced by necessity to jumpstart a small Kurdish village’s diesel generator using microphone cables and a collection of decaying truck batteries, Brent feels extremely fortunate that his life has included the opportunity to swing a microphone in places of almost crazy diversity. From rural villages in Siberia to the shine of Beverly Hills, from Canadian high Arctic winter to the scorched summer desert of Iraq, he still feels like there’s a million things to see and do.

Timo Langer looking coy holding an arabic 'wanted' poster of himself (drawn in felt tip).
Timo Langer

Unlike Mark Cousins, Timo Langer is not 44 or 15. He is bang on in the middle of that which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. Timo is a director and editor currently living in Edinburgh, UK. He likes film and filmmaking a lot. So much so it's been rumoured he says silly things like “...certain films felt like such a partner growing up.”  What nonsense.

He started making films in his late teens and after graduating high school he went on to educate himself away from TV screens and Hi8 cameras. He began at the New York Film Academy producing and directing short films and working as a technical advisor. After studying photography at Bolton University he attended the German Film School and graduated as a Digital Artist (PgDip). He then went to Edinburgh College of Art where he received a Master of Design in Visual Communication (MDes) and later on graduated from the Edinburgh Skillset Screen and Media Academy as a Master of Fine Art in Advance Film Practice (MFA).

This educational tour de force poured out a number of projects which recently or not so recently have been recognised internationally.
Langer started editing for Mark Cousins in 2007 when Cousins was looking for an editor for the first part of his documentary The Story of Film and they have been working together ever since despite the fact that Langer is German and that Cousins publicly refers to him as “the least talented of my friends.”

Apart from Mark Cousins, Langer has had the pleasure of working with/for other glorious individuals such as Clint Mansell, Tilda Swinton, Irvine Welsh, Norman Stone, Alice Nelson, Robert Glassford, Ruth Paxton, Matt Lloyd, Carlos Andres Gomez, Angus McInnes and Mark Owen.

Melissa Hui looking philosophical.
Melissa Hui

Melissa Hui was born in Hong Kong and raised in North Vancouver, Canada. Initially inspired by the haunting music of the African pygmies and Japanese gagaku court orchestra, she strives to create a personal music of ethereal beauty, intimate lyricism and raucous violence. Her work has been performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including performances by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Esprit Orchestra (Toronto), Focus Festival (New York City), International Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), ISCM Festivals (Croatia, Switzerland), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. She has composed for numerous orchestral, chamber and choral commissions; an opera, Pimooteewin, based on a Cree myth and sung in the aboriginal language; and soundtracks for the National Film Board of Canada (Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square, The Fifth Province). The recipient of awards from the Guggenheim and Fromm Foundations, and a doctorate from Yale University, she moved to Montreal in 2004 after ten years on the composition faculty at Stanford University.

Miguel Nunes in his recording studio.
Miguel Nunes

Award winning sound designer/re-recording mixer Miguel Nunes is one of Canada’s most sought-after post-sound talents. Born in Montreal, Canada to an artistic family, Miguel began his exploration of sound through music. Beginning with piano, clarinet and saxophone, he eventually discovered the endless possibilities of creating unique sounds with synthesizers, samplers and drum machines. A fascination for film sound soon led him to pursue a career in post-production sound in Vancouver. Miguel cut his teeth mixing independent films and cable television series (Stargate SG1, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Last Wedding) from 1994 to 2000, working at western Canada’s largest sound facility. In mid 2000, Miguel decided to become a freelance sound design and mix contractor, quickly attracting a reputation for excellence and creativity (Davinci’s Inquest, Emile, An American Haunting, Year of the Carnivore, Intelligence, Cole, The Thaw). Focusing on unique and original soundscapes, Miguel has been recognised by the industry both locally and nationally, culminating in several Gemini award wins and Genie nominations.

Gharib Rauf Ahmad helping Mark show some Kurdistani children how to use a little video camera.
Gharib Rauf Ahmad

Gharib was born in Sulaymania on 28th November, 1977. He graduated from the University of Salahaddin, College of Education-English Language Department.

He now lives in Erbil, working at the Ministry of Culture, Kurdistan Regional Government – Iraq as the Director of Foreign Relations for the Ministry of Culture.