Award at Cannes to the film on the tragedy of Êzidîs

Hevêrk, a film on the tragedy of Êzidîs, received the Viewers Choice Award at the 69th International Cannes Film Festival. Director Rûken Tekeş stated that she wanted to portray the tragedy of Êzidî Kurds.

As one of the ancient peoples of the Middle East, Êzidîs have been persecuted for their faiths and Kurdish identity for centuries. Put through dozes on massacres, Êzidîs survived until today and ISIS carried out the most recent massacre against them in Shengal on August 3, 2015.

Human Rights Defender Rûken Tekeş carried the story of his father to the screen in an effort to emphasize the tragedy of Êzidî people. Tekeş’s film Hevêrk (The Circle) tells the story of a 7 years-old Êzidî girl called Zelal in her school, and received the Viewers Choice Award in the Short Film Corner of the 69th International Cannes Film Festival. The film casts 39 Kurdish children and is set in Hasankeyf. 5 of the 8 members of the film’s crew are women, and Deniz Eyüboğlu is the cinematographer of the 14 minutes-long film.


Based on a true story, director Rûken Tekeş’s film discusses marginalization in the Middle East through the story of a little Kurdish girl. The film is in Kurdish, Arabic and Turkish, and shows how a little Êzidî girl named Zelal experiences exclusion. The film shows how other children circle the 7 years-old Zelal.

Hevêrk criticizes the Turkish education system’s policies of assimilation in Kurdistan, and has an impressive venue and setup. The film also criticizes the flooding of unique Hasankeyf, and shows how Êzidîs and other minority groups are encircled and marginalized.


Rûken Tekeş stated that Hevêrk is based on a true story of her father, who was a member of the revolutionary movement in 1968. Tekeş said that she asked her father about his his regrets right before his death, and Tekeş’s father told her a story from when he was 7 years old. Tekeş’s father never got over this event, which had an impact of Tekeş and inspired her to write and shoot Hevêrk.

Tekeş noted that Hevêrk is her first film, and its screening in Cannes is important for her. Tekeş said that she was happy to be at Cannes, remarking that the two reasons why she shot Hevêrk was to show how discrimination in Turkey and in the world affects children and how Êzidî Kurds are put through a tragedy in Turkey and other regions. Tekeş stated that the conditions of Êzidîs are known but ignored, and their story of marginalization is the story of all oppressed groups in the world. Tekeş emphasized the importance of the recent massacres in Iraq and Syria that target Êzidî Kurds, and said that her film discusses a universal problem even though it seems more regional.

Tekeş stated that she shot Hevêrk in Hasankeyf because the fates of the town and of Êzidî people are similar since both are being destroyed through dam constructions and massacres, respectively.