Operation Filmmaker (2007)
Director: Nina Davenport
Featuring: Muthana Mohmed, Liev Schreiber
When Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed is featured on an MTV special discussing his lost dream of becoming a film maker after his film school was bombed in Baghdad, actor Liev Schreiber, who happened to be watching the program was moved enough to get in contact with Mohmed and offer him a production assistant's job on his directorial debut, Everything is Illuminated, filming in Prague. It soon becomes clear that Mohmed's expectations are more than Schreiber and his producers were willing and able to offer, and after Illuminated wraps, director Davenport continues to follow Mohmed on a journey that includes immigration and money problems, PA work on another film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and ultimately, a year of film school in London.
While watching Operation Filmmaker, I ran the gamut of emotions; at first I found the experience interesting, but the more Mohmed acted up, the more irritated I became, and therefore the less concerned I became for his eventual success. Schreiber and Co. gave him a chance, but instead of stepping up and trying to learn as much as he could about the film making process, he deemed that much of the gofer work was "beneath him" and even blew his opportunity to edit the gag reel that would have been shown at the film's wrap party for the cast and crew. When they finally called him on his B.S. and refused to fund him further, he went looking for another patron in Prague and received one in the form of several ex-pats who gave him free lodging while he worked as a production assistant on Doom, starring The Rock. This is where Mohmed really lost me, because at this point he had proven that he wanted the world but wanted it handed to him while someone is peeling grapes for him, yet he somehow snookered The Rock into funding him for a year at a film school in London. While there, he drops all pretense of charm, mainly because he doesn't have to be charming anymore, and is continually verbally abusive to those around him, especially the documentary's intrepid director, who has bailed him out with money and support throughout the process.
I'm not sure if Operation Filmmaker is supposed to be a thematic comparison to Iraq-US relationships, or if it's simply just a slightly scattered documentary that wildly veers off from its original premise, but Muthana Mohmed is such an entitled jackass that I found it difficult to stay on board. The film doesn't become a train wreck - that would have been easier and more entertaining to watch - it just becomes bitter, not enjoyable and ultimately somewhat pointless.
2 out of 5 stars