When British maverick adventurer, Gertrude Bell, the female “Lawrence of Arabia," and an ardent advocate for Arab independence, becomes entangled in the backroom politics of World War I era Mesopotamia, she battles her commanding officers, and her own demons, to crown Faisal as the first King of Iraq.
Gertrude Bell was an original trailblazer who defined her own path in life. A remarkable woman, Gertrude was a world traveler, an accomplished mountaineer, a renowned archeologist/cartographer, a gifted linguist (12 languages), the first female British Intelligence officer, an ally and confidante of Arab sheikhs, and Iraq’s uncrowned Queen. She was also a woman of fascinating contradictions: an ardent royalist yet tireless advocate for Arab self-rule; an independent woman yet an Anti-Suffragette(!); an intellectually formidable debater yet forever childlike in her father's presence.
We first learned of Gertrude Bell several years ago and were completely enthralled by her little known life story. We optioned the official biography, Gertrude Bell: A Biography by H.V.F Winstone, and spent the next year and a half disseminating the vast historical data as well as the 1,500+ letters, diary entries and photos housed at the Gertrude Bell Archive. Through our journey with Gertrude’s story we became more and more enamored with her humanity and her heart. History has long glorified the exploits of courageous male adventurers, such as T.E. Lawrence of "Lawrence of Arabia" fame. Yet who has heard of Gertrude Bell and her amazing story? She deserves to have her chapter of history told.
- Brad Rister & Alexa-Sascha Lewin