– Everyone told him it was impossible

The incredible story of one man’s quest to fight terrorism and promote peace & love by flying hot air balloons over his war-torn country.

Murtada Al-Hachami loves his country. But he hates the world’s perception of it as a land of war and destruction. After 18 years of forced exile he returns to his native Iraq. He is obsessed with the vision to attract investors and tourist by showcasing a beautiful and welcoming paradise. How? By having the world best hot air balloon pilots peacefully flying their gigantic inflated vessels over Babylon and ancient Mesopotamia, the birthplace of human arts and culture. But at the same time a new terrorist organization  is beleaguering the war torn country and far from everyone share his dream. As Murtada puts it: “One day you will find me shot for what I’m doing.”

Never before have I had an experience with film in which the initial sense of triviality gave way to totally gripping investment in the outcome. The climax found me unselfconsciously sobbing –– then bursting to laughter through tears. I started this day with no expectation of opening my psyche up to a whole new category of complex emotion, but “Balloons Over Babylon” forged a new pathway for optimism, something in short supply these days. Roxane Assaf-Lynn, 2020


 “I get chills when I watch this”                                         “Dramatic to watch… fascinating”

    – Aftonbladet TV                                                                                             – Sveriges Radio, Studio Ett


Premiere: Spring 2019

Director & Producer: Folke Rydén

Duration: 70 minutes

International Sales: Rise and Shine World Sales


The world-renowned balloon pilot Ton Kurvers together with Murtada and his son Yousif in Babylon.
Donald Boström, Lina Malers and Folke Rydén on location in Babylon.