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 recognized in world politics. The Kurds live oppressed in an ambiguous societal situation, which 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.”

At Home and Not at Home

The Kurdistan programme is divided into two screenings: At Home and Not at Home.

Kurdistan 1: At Home concentrates on the subjects inside Kurdistan area.  Reber Dosky’s documentary Meryem (The Netherlands, 2017) offers a glimpse of women soldiers’ everyday lives in the war against ISIS during the battle of Kobanê. The fiction film Are you listening mother? by Tuna Kaptan (Germany, Turkey, 2018) shows what kind of absurd twists ensue when life is lived under constant surveillance. 

Kurdistan 1: At Home screening presents also Özgan Alper’s Yikintilar Arasinda (Among the Ruins) (Turkey, 2018) in which a young poet meets a sparrow in his prison cell. In the film Taaval (Blister) by Morteza Shams (Iran, 2018) a man hides his job from his wife, which leads them into a disaster. In Azadeh by Mirabbas Khosravinezhad, the main character wants to go to city for visit her father for the last time, but her mother and brother doesn’t allow her. Home&Key by Shwan Attoof (Iraq, 2014) is an aesthetic narration of the death of a Kurdish Family, along the 20th century.

Kurdistan 2: Not at Home screenings take characters away from Kurdistan. In The Sea Swells by Amir Gholam the war is surrounding an old man who lives in the middle of the Sea. Hevi (Hope) by Mohammad Shaikhow (France, Qatar, Syria, 2018) a young Kurdish refugee couple have arranged to meet a human smuggler to cross an undefined border to a place of freedom.

Dreams in the Dept (Iran, 2019) is an animation by Reza Mohammad, in which a number of immigrants from different countries of Middle East deal with war, bad social conditions and poverty. Dyab by Mazin M Sherabayani (Iraq, United Kingdom, 2016) is a documentary about Kurdish Yazidi boy called Dyab living at Arbat refugee camp, after the horrendous attacks by the Islamic States on their villages at Shingal Mountains. Dyab’s dream is to become a filmmaker and actor and tell the stories about the sufferings of his people to the outside world.

Check out the list of the films in Kurdistan programme here.

Photo: The Sea Swells by Amir Gholami (Iran, 2018)