James Longley is a filmmaker whose intimate portraits of people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East are deepening our understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the region’s conflicts. For his low-budget, self-financed films, Longley lives among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. He captures his subjects in very personal settings and situations, revealing both the inhumanity of everyday life under conditions of war, political chaos, and economic devastation and the parallel universe of courage, resilience, and resistance. While describing a place, a people, and a circumstance, Longley’s early film in Gaza and his later films in Iraq offer unflinching portrayals of the costs and casualties of civil and international conflicts. Through his films and others in development, Longley is illuminating the beauty of foreign lands and providing Western audiences with a critical new perspective on communities living under extremely challenging conditions. Longley is currently at work on new projects about Iran, India, and other countries in the region.