Ali and His Miracle Sheep
Ali poster
Every year millions of Shiite Muslims walk hundreds of miles along the desert road to Karbala during the pilgrimage of Arbaeen, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. The pilgrimage, which takes place at the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hüseyin in the 7th century. In this award-winning docu-drama, we follow 9-year-old mute Ali as he participates in this pilgrimage, accompanied by his teenage brother and his favourite sheep, Kirmeta. Ali’s intention is to sacrifice Kirmeta for his father, who had left home to fight ISIS, but never returned. Written and directed by Maythem Ridha, whose personal experiences growing up in Iraq played a role in guiding the story, Ali and His Miracle Sheep had its World Premiere at the 2021 Sheffield Doc Fest, where it won Best Film in the UK Competition. The jury described the film as “intensely cinematic and lyrical… strikingly confident in both its embrace of formal hybridity and tonal ambiguity, the film shifts delicately from moment to moment in a flow of imagery that is at once beautiful, absurd and utterly heartbreaking.”  
Maythem Ridha
  Maythem Ridha spent his formative years in Iraq before fleeing with his family into exile. He has many years’ experience creating award-winning film and photography projects. His films have been selected for major international film festivals, broadcasted, distributed in cinemas and won many accolades and prizes. He also made films in English & Arabic for BBC World Service and ART Europe. Ridha recently moved from his role as head of documentaries of the Barnes Film Festival (now known as the London Breeze Film Festival) to that of Artistic Director of the festival.