Please Help

March 19th, 2009

Hometown Baghdad has its US television debut tonight on the Sundance Channel at 11:30 PM Eastern Time. While we are very excited and pleased that these stories will continue to move audiences, the subjects of our film, Saif, Adel and Ausama, need help. They are still struggling as students. I won’t give away where they all are - you have to watch tonight on Sundance to hear what has happened to them since production wrapped in 2006 - but I do encourage you to consider lending them a hand in whatever way you can. Perhaps you have pull at a university where they’d like to continue their studies. Perhaps you know of job opportunities that can help with their immigration papers. Perhaps you want to send a small bit of financial help. Anything will make a difference. I can’t give out their contact information publicly, but if you would like to get in touch with them, please let me know by emailing me at

Thank you and enjoy the show tonight.

Two Hour Hometown Baghdad TV Special Schedule

February 20th, 2009

We are pleased to announce that Hometown Baghdad has been airing and will continue to air on television sets around the world. Through partnerships with the Sundance Channel and National Geographic International, we turned the footage you’re familiar with from the webisodes into a two hour television extravaganza. But that’s not all…we will be including a whole bunch of never before seen material in these broadcasts. New scenes, new interviews, new glimpses into the lives of ordinary Iraqis. These TV versions are extremely powerful and should not be missed either by those unfamiliar with the webisodes or by longtime Hometown Baghdad fans.

Here is a list of the regions, countries, channels and times where you can catch HTB on TV:

United States, Sundance Channel
March 19, 2009, 23:30

Asia/Taiwan, National Geographic (Nat Geo)
Part One: January 17, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: March 24, 2009, 21:00

Iberia, Nat Geo
Part One: February 1, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: February 1, 2009, 22:00

Turkey, Nat Geo
Part One: February 3rd, 2009, 22:00
Part Two: February 10, 2009, 22:00

Germany, Nat Geo
Part One: February 5, 2009, 22:05
Part Two: February 12, 2009, 22:05

Latin America, Nat Geo
Part One: February 6, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: February 7, 2009, 22:00

Central Europe, Nat Geo
Part One: February 8, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: February 8, 2009, 22:00

Italy, Nat Geo
Part One: March 6, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: March 13, 2009, 21:00

India, Nat Geo
Part One: March 29, 2009, 20:00
Part Two: March 29, 2009, 21:00

France, Nat Geo
Part One: March 29, 2009, 20:40
Part Two: March 29, 2009, 21:35

Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Africa, Nat Geo
Part One: March 31, 2009, 21:00
Part Two: April 7, 2009, 21:00

Chat Ventures launches the Qwidget Blog

June 30th, 2008

While you were momentarily not paying attention to us, we quietly launched a new blog for the Qwidget at The qwidget is a project that we dreamed up to bring more web users into dialogue with each other. When we were releasing hometown baghdad on this blog, we always wanted better ways to bring more people into meaningful conversations and relationships. So we went back to our dialogue building expertise and came up with the tool that we always wished for. If you are a blogger who uses Wordpress on your own hosted domain and want to try it out on your blog, send me an email at my email address. Please check out the qwidget blog as well to see how we’re thinking these days. And no, this does not mean that we are not producing more web and television shows. It’s not a full direction change so much as a spin off that is taking all of my time. And yes, I love it. [qwidget question="4"]

HTB Wins Three Webby Awards

May 12th, 2008

Webby Awards
This is week old news, but here is our announcement nonetheless: Hometown Baghdad won three Webby Awards! It’s an incredible honor and we’re absolutely thrilled.
Of the four categories we were nominated in, we won the following:

A huge congratulations to our fellow winners and nominees. If any Hometown Baghdad fans are going to the award ceremony or any associated after parties, be sure to seek me out and say hello. (Extra points to the person who introduces me to Stephen Colbert.) Look for the guy with the beard…though I imagine in a room full of internet geeks, I won’t be the only one sporting a scruffy look. I will be with the Chat the Planet team and Fady Hadid, the Iraqi producer of HTB who was crazy enough to work with us in the middle of friggin’ war zone.

Arabic Translators Needed Immediately

May 12th, 2008

In our quest to bring the stories of Hometown Baghdad to television, we are looking for a few translators in the New York area who can understand the Iraqi dialect. Ideally, native Iraqis are best for the position because some of the footage contains Iraqi slang. Translators would need to start as soon as possible and can work days or nights. One benefit of this position is that we will teach you how to enter translations directly into editing computers. This will make you a more valuable translator in the future! And of course, this is a paid position.

Chat the Planet seeks Post Production Interns

May 12th, 2008

We at Chat headquarters are looking for a batch of awesomely talented, dedicated, and passionate interns to help us edit the stories of Hometown Baghdad into a two-hour television special. If I was still intern-age (and how I wish I was), I would jump at this opportunity in a second. Interns will focus on logging and digitizing incredible footage from Baghdad. And better yet, we usually get our own coffee so there will be a dearth of the typical intern coffee runs.

Some details are below and you can get a bit more info from our Craigslist Ppost.

Editing Assistant
• Log and digitize new material added to our library.
• Maintain Media Library
• DVD authoring and duplication
• General administrative tasks in and outside of the production realm.

• Knowledge of Avid
• Strong editing and storytelling skills
• Knowledge of Photoshop preferred

Additional Qualifications:

Flexible, creative, positive attitude and can handle multiple tasks.
Must be self-motivated

How to Apply:

Email me a cover letter and resume.

Iraqi Docs Showing in NYC

April 24th, 2008

A friend forwarded me an invitation to a showcase of recent documentary films made by students at the Baghdad Film School. The night looks fantastic for fans of Hometown Baghdad and anyone interested in the situation in Iraq.
The films being screened include:

Baghdad Days (35 mins) (directed by Hiba Bassem, 2005). Hiba Bassem, a young woman from Kirkuk , returns to Baghdad after the war, to finish her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts . The film is a diary of her year as she tries to find a place to live, looks for work, graduates from college, deals with family problems and struggles to come to terms with her position as a woman on her own.

This film won a New Horizon silver award at the Al Jazeera International Film Festival in Doha (2006) and a golden award at the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival (2006).

A Candle For The Shabandar Cafe (25 mins) (directed by Emad Ali, 2007). Founded in 1917, the Shabandar Cafe in Al Mutanabbi Street in the heart of the old centre of Baghdad , was a cultural landmark, where generations of Iraqis came to discuss and debate literature and politics - a living repository of Iraqi intellectual history and one of the last places where people could gather to exchange ideas. Emad had shot most of his film by the end of 2006, but in March 2007, a
massive car bomb destroyed the Shabandar Cafe, all the bookshops on Al Mutanabbi Street and killed and wounded scores of people. Days later, Baghdad ’s poets and artists held a wake in the ruins of the street they loved so much and Emad took a small camera and went back to film. As he was leaving he was attacked, his camera stolen and he was shot in the legs and chest, and his own story is an epilogue to his film about the Shabandar Cafe and Mutanabbi Street - before and after they were destroyed.

Dr Nabil (15 mins) (directed by Ahmed Jabbar, 2007)
A gentle and committed surgeon, with literary talents, works at a small understaffed Baghdad hospital, which suffers from lack of equipment and medicines. While many other doctors have been killed or have fled the country in fear of their lives, Dr Nabil has decided to stay. He worries, though, about the effect that the atmosphere of violence and brutality is having on his young son.

Time & Location:
Wednesday April 30th, 7pm
Millennium Film Workshop, 66 East 4th Street New York , New York

Vote in the Webby People’s Voice Awards!

April 8th, 2008

While the Webby Academy chooses the official Webby winners, the People’s Voice awards are chosen by the people, i.e. you! So while you are hoping and praying that your favorite series/sites/videos/cewebrities (go Tay Zonday!) get the official wins, you can also cast your own votes in each category here (registration required). So go vote for your favorites (wink wink nudge nudge).