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2007

5th London Kurdish
Film Festival

5th London Kurdish Film Festival will kick off

KurdishCinema.com - 29 November 2007

Launched in 2001, the festival represents the first ever
Kurdish Film Festival of its kind to be instituted
worldwide and was organised with the support of the
main Kurdish community centres in London namely
Kurdish Cultural Centre in Oval, Kurdish and Turkish
Community Centre (Halkevi-Malagel) in Hackney,
Kurdish Community Centre in Haringey and Kurdish
Exile Association in Royal Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea. Led by a group of volunteers, its objective is
to support the development of Kurdish Cinema. By
showcasing films made by Kurdish directors on any subject, and films of a feature, short and
documentary style nature, on Kurds, by non-Kurdish directors, it encourages and provides a
platform for both Kurdish and non Kurdish producers and film makers, many of them young
directors. This helps expose and bring work that is produced and/ or inspired by Kurds to new
audiences, and also highlights the issues and experiences facing not only Kurds, but in fact any
minority or migrant community, ensuring its importance and continued relevance to us all.

Film festivals, as vehicles for artistic and cultural expression, are able to promote better cultural
understanding and by creating linkages between different sectors of society, are one of the
most effective mechanisms to help integrate migrant communities into the host nation; our
experience with the London Kurdish Film Festival is no different. In its short history, it has
already become one of the most successful film festivals to be organised by a particular ethnic
minority community in London, helping foster relationships and bridge gaps between those in
the Kurdish and wider society. Between 2001 and 2006, we have organised three major film
festivals which have been attended by over 10,000 people from extremely diverse ethnic and
social backgrounds. In so doing, our success has inspired and encouraged the broader
Kurdish Diaspora elsewhere in Europe to organise similar festivals or film days in other
countries with significant Kurdish populations, including Germany, France, Sweden, Norway,
The Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland.

5th London Kurdish film festival will be held at Rio Cinema in east London between 30th
October and 6th December 2007.

Introduction...

The organising committee of the Kurdish Film Festival is
delighted to welcome you to the 5th London Kurdish Film
Festival. The final preparations for the festival have taken
place during a very difficult period for the Kurds all around
the world, with Turkey's threat of military incursions into
South Kurdistan (Iraq). The Kurds in Turkey and their legal
and democratic institutions also have been under
enormous pressure from the state and Turkish nationalist
groups. This crisis has once again pushed the Kurds to
the forefront of global media attention. Under these
conditions with the Kurds still seeking peace and stability in their homeland, we are turning our
first significant corner by bringing you our fifth Kurdish film festival. As in previous years, this
year's festival presents a varied programme of many films - fiction, documentary, animation,
features and shorts - not only from Kurdistan, but from all over the world. The event will be
enriched by discussions with the directors, filmmakers and actors themselves. With the
introduction of our first short film competition, in memory of the great Kurdish director Yilmaz
Güney, we are now one step closer to one of our main aims - to help the development of
Kurdish cinema by encouraging newly emerging talent. Our call for entries to the competition
has met with an enormous response with over 80 entries, and we are grateful to all these
filmmakers for making us feel that our festival is unique and special in its purpose. We hope
that our short film competition will help and encourage more people to grab their cameras and
tell their stories to the world.

    Since last year, Kurdish film makers have continued to lift
    prestigious awards at international film festivals. This
    shows that Kurdish Cinema is not just a flash in the pan.
    Although filmmaking is relatively new to Kurdistan, it is fast
    becoming a very visible and widespread artistic activity
    among the Kurds. One clear sign of this development is
    that this year we are able to show over 100 films in various
    genres during the week long festival. This development
    would not have been possible without the encouragement
    and support of the Kurdistan Regional Government in
South Kurdistan (Iraq), especially the Ministry of Culture, all the cinema departments in the
region, the satellite and local TV channels broadcasting in Kurdish, as well as the political,
social and artistic movement that gives valuable support to filmmaking.

Last year we were proud to introduce the classic silent film ZARE, made in 1926 in Armenia.
This year we are presenting YAZIDI KURDS, the second film about the Kurds, but also the first
film on the Yazidi Kurds. We once again would like to thank the Armenian National Film Centre
and Yerevan International Film Festival for the great efforts they have made to enable us to
show this film in our festival. We are also grateful to Feleknas Uca, a member of the European
Parliament of Kurdish Yazidi origin, who has kindly agreed to join us to present this film despite
her busy schedule. The LKFF will provide English subtitles for the screening and once again
our lovely friend Tara Jaff who is also a member of the LKFF organising committee will play live
music during the screening on her harp. We are dedicating this screening to the memory of the
500 Yazidi Kurds who were killed in August this year during the deadliest terrorist attack in Iraq,
since the war in 2003. The screening is also dedicated to Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who
was killed by Turkish nationalists in Turkey in January this year. Hrant was a good friend to the
Kurds. The screening of YAZIDI KURDS will be free of charge. A specific strand of our
programme this year features films about the Yazidi Kurds.

Other festival highlights include: Shawkat Amin Korki's
multi award winning CROSSING THE DUST; Hiner
Saleem's DOL - THE VALLEY OF TAMBOURINES and the
British premiere of his latest film BENEATH
THE ROOFTOPS OF PARIS; Zuli Aladag's six award
winning film CAN, Norway based young Kurdish director
Hisham Zaman's brand new film WINTERLAND and his
wonderful short film BAWKE, winner of over 30 awards; A
VEHICLE TICKET , a collaborative work from Ako Aziz
Mezra and Masoud Arif who attended our festival last year
with NARCISSUS BLOSSOM; young Kurdish director Soran Mardookhi from East Kurdistan
(Iran) will be with us with his film AND THUS I WAS BORN. The festival also includes many
other award winning short films and a diverse range of fascinating and powerful documentaries
including Canada based Kurdish director Sami Mermer's well made LANZO'S BOX, Susan
Kornalijnslijper's WHO ARE WE on legendary Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer, and Orsola
Casagrande and Bibi Bozzato's RESISTANCE about the revolutionary Kurdish music group
Koma Berxwedan. These two films will be receiving their world premieres. There will also be
world premiere screenings of two documentaries about celebrated Kurdish Poets - Kawa
Akray's CIGERXWIN and DIWAN by Salam Majeed on Kurdish poet Jamal Sharbazheri as well
as BECAUSE WE ARE KURDS, an eye opening documentary by Niaz Lajani. Young Kurdish
film director Binevsa Berivan's documentary TRACES: THE PEOPLE OF PEACOCK is one of the
films about the Yazidi Kurds that we will be showing in the festival. Jiyar Gol, a Kurdish director
based in Canada touches on the issues that Christian communities have faced in the past and
now in modern day Iraq in CHRISTMAS IN IRAQ. All films will have English subtitles.

    We would like to thank everybody who has contributed to our
    festival. In particular we would like to thank all the jury members
    who have agreed to take on this difficult job, the volunteers who
    have carried out their tasks so smoothly and patiently, our
    representatives in Kurdistan and especially our funders and
    sponsors for their contributions to the festival. In particular we
    would like to thank some individuals, namely, Ken Livingstone
    (Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly), Dr. Barham
    Ahmad Salih (Kurdish politician and Deputy Prime Minister of
    Iraq), Mr. Taha Barwary, (Minister of Sport and Youth, Kurdistan
    Region, Iraq), Dr. Salah Al-Shaikhly (Ambassador of the Republic
    of Iraq in London), Mr Faruq Mustafa, Mr Nawzad Jaff, Mr. Aza
    Dogramachi, Mr Saad Bazaz and Ms. Jenny Hall for their great
    support of our festival. Without the support of our friends, funders
and sponsors, it would not be possible to organise an event on this scale and bring the voices
of Kurdish artists, and the non-Kurds who care about the Kurds, to London. Enjoy the Festival!

(London Kurdish Film Festival Organising Committee)

see Diary of the 5th London Kurdish Film Festival