Scandal at the 6th Emirates International Film festival!

Screening of „David the Tolhildan“ suspended

Devrim Kilic – Melbourne – 13/03/2007

The screening of „David the Tolhildan“, the documentary film of Kurdish
director Mano Khalil, has been suspended at the 6th International Emirates Film
Festival, just prior to its screening. It is said that the festival committee has bowed to the
pressure of Turkish government and decided not to screen the documentary, which
portrays the life of a PKK guerrilla who is from Switzerland. The film was to be screened
at the festival in the competition section on 12th of March 2007.

                                  David Rouiller (David the Tolhildan)

Mano Khalil, the director of the documentary „David the Tolhildan“, made a statement in
which he said the suspension shows the oppressive face of the Turkish state. Khalil
said that the film was to be shown on 12 of March at 10 pm however he has been told
by the director of the festival in the morning at the same day that they cannot screen the
film. Khalil’s said: „The festival director, Masoud Imrali Al Ali, told  me that there was a
pressure from the Turkish state on the United Arap Emirates (UAE) government and
UAE government officials recommended in writing to the festival committee not to
screen the documentary. I've been told the Turkish government alleged that my
documentary is a terrorist film that is why should not be screened. “

Khalil said that the suspension decision is not acceptable but on the other hand shows
that Turkish government is against the cultural activities, free thoughts and dialogues.

„Kurdistan will be free“

Khalil explained that he shot the documentary by the financial support of the Swiss
Culture Ministry and SF Swiss TV and the documentary welcomed very well in
Switzerland and all over Europe. Moreover he stated: “Turkish state, as always, is trying
to suffocate the voice of the Kurdish artists and Kurdish people. But they should know
whatever they do they cannot succeed in their aims. Their pressure gives me more
strength and decisiveness to do more of my work. Even if the Turks go to the sky they
should know Kurdistan will be free one day! Though my film’s screening got
suspended nevertheless Kurdish directors and Kurdish people won a lot of supporters
all over the world.“

The Emirates International Film Festival was organized by Cultural Foundation in Abu
Dhabi in United Arab Emirates and took place from the 7th to the 13th of March

Portrait of a Swiss guerrilla

“David the Tolhildan” is a portrait of David Rouiller, a young Swiss man who joined the
Kurdish freedom movement, PKK, five years ago. Rouiller, the son of a university
Professor and a former President of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, gave up a
comfortable and safe existence in Switzerland, and the amenities of a western lifestyle,
to commit his life and strength to the ideals of the Kurdish  freedom fight. Is he an
adventurer, a dreamer, an idealist, a hero? Is his commitment visionary or illusory? The
film "David the Tolhildan" encourages viewers to confront their own outlook on
oppression, respect, human dignity, freedom and violence. It also provides an
impressive, realistic and up-to-date view of the current situation of the Kurdish freedom

                                                        Mano Khalil

Mano Khalil is a Kurd from Kurdistan in Syria and studied in History and Law at
Damascus University between 1981-1986 then went to former Czechoslovakia to study
in Fiction Film Direction between 1987-1994. Khalil worked as an independent
film director for Czechoslovakian and later for the Slovakian Television. Since 1996 he
lives in Switzerland and works as an independent film director. He has directed many
short films and documentaries.

* 13 March 2007

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