The Kurdistan programme gives a voice to Kurdish directors. The two screenings include fiction, animations and documentaries from the entire Kurdistan region: from Turkey, Iraq , Syria and Iran. The state of Kurdistan is not officially recognised in world politics. The Kurds live oppressed in an ambiguous societal situation. The most recent act of war against the Kurds to have drawn international attention was Turkey’s offensive into Rojava in northern Syria in October 2019, and it is still ongoing.

The unstable societal situation of Kurdistan is reflected in the Kurdistan programme of the Tampere Film Festival. To quote Hemn Hussein, the publicist of the Kurdish film festival Slemani: “The long ongoing oppression has damaged the whole nation however the Kurdish cinema has never stopped its effort to express the nation’s need. Not only that but it has been a mirror to its struggle for freedom and independence.” 

In Reber Dosky’s documentary Meryem we get a glimpse of women soldiers’ everyday lives in the war against ISIS. In addition, Dosky’slong documentary film Radio Kobani (2016) will also be screened at the festival. The film follows the refugees and citizens of Kobani during the last days of IS control. 

In the fiction film Are you listening mother? we see what kind of absurd twists ensue when life is lived under constant surveillance. Everyday life continues in the midst of war but it is as Hussein states: 

”These traumatic events have shaped the psychology and image of Kurdish cinema in the region for decades. However nowadays with the process of globalization and the openness of the new world towards the Kurds, has made it easier for film makers to work on all kind of stories and develop their cinema.”

  • Riina Mikkonen, programmer