• Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Kurdistan’s Peace Films Initiative curates program for Amsterdam film festival

Gulan Media September 2, 2019 Arts
Kurdistan’s Peace Films Initiative curates program for Amsterdam film festival
nternational Peace Film Festival (IPFF) is a project of Peace Film Initiative, a Kurdistan-based NGO founded by myself.

The Erbil-based festival's theme will be ‘Living Together in Peace.’ Its program includes fictional feature films, short films, documentaries about human rights issues, and films that promote peace and coexistence.

With 32 films selected from 26 countries – many of which are Kurdish - the aim of the festival is to highlight Kurdistan as a place that advocates peace and coexistence, despite being surrounded by aggressive neighbors and constant wars, placing Kurdistan on the map of the international film festival orbit as promoter of peace and coexistence, reaffirming what former US president George W. Bush described as ‘an island of decency.’

IPFF’s hand-picked films are to screen both at venues in Erbil and at refugee and IDP camps, making the festival the first of its kind for the city. Its mission is to introduce foreign filmmakers, as guests of the festival, to crises particular to the Kurdistan Region, and to serve as a bridge between local filmmakers and the world film community.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, IPFF has been postponed from its originally planned May dates until later this year. The new date will be announced once proper support is in place.

In the meantime, the IPFF has joined ranks with Amsterdam’s Manifesto Film Festival in an all-day event on September 8 at the city’s Crea Cinema.

IPFF’s participation, through its Kurdish short film program, will present Kurdish cinema and its unique stories to European audiences.

Among the participating short films are The Broken Song by Can Bapir (Rojava/Syrian Kurdistan and Austria), The Last Embrace by Saman Hussainpour (Rojhalat/Iranian Kurdistan), There Was a Country by Hebun Polat (Bakur/Turkish Kurdistan), The Fog by Ferdi Taskir (Bakur), and Anniversary by Angelica Germana Bozza (Germany). From Bashur (Kurdistan Region), there will be two films by Hawraz Mohammed – Laughter & Forgetting and Unseen Photos of Anfal – and two by renowned artist and sculptor Zirek Mira, Breath and Looking for God, both past productions of film-making workshops by Evini Films.

Other films to be shown include Facing Death with Wire Cutter by Sarwar Abdullah (Bashur), The Pattern by Azad Jannati (Rojhalat), and The Mandarin Tree by Gengiz Akaygun (Bakur).

Mira, presently Netherlands-based, will be attending the festival’s Q&A sessions, along with Can Bapir.

The wider festival, taking place from September 6-8, will open with another Kurdish film – the Rojava war drama Girls of the Sun by French director Eva Husson about an all-female fighting unit battling Islamic State (ISIS).

The Kurdish program will also include a panel discussion on the fate of ethnic and religious minorities in the Nineveh Plains.