Second Istanbul Kurdish Film Festival organisers: Solidarity is what we want to build

The 2nd Istanbul Kurdish Film Festival opened on Thursday with the 1933 film “Kurdên Êzidî” (Yazidi Kurds).

The Mesopotamia Cultural Center (MKM) Cinema Collective organised the second edition of the Istanbul Kurdish Film Festival. The festival opened on Thursday with Amasi Martirosyan's 1933 film "Kurdên Êzidî" (Yazidi Kurds) at Şişli Cemil Candaş City Cultural Center.

MKM artists wearing their national costumes welcomed the audience which quickly filled the hall.

Peoples' Democratic Congress (HDK) co-spokespersons Esengül Demir, Cengiz Çiçek, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Pervin Buldan, Mithat Sancar, HDP Women's Assembly spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran, Ahmet Kaya's wife, writer Gülten Kaya, Saturday Mothers, representatives of many civil society organizations, the director of many of the film that will be screened at the festival, screenwriters, film crews attended the opening.

The festival started with a minute’s silence for Halil Dağ, Hacı Lokman Birlik and the filmmakers who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

The festival main theme is solidarity. Taylan Kesanbilici and Sakina Jir delivered the opening speeches in Kurdish and Turkish, explaining the purpose of the festival. Pointing out that the common denominators were being attacked and the fields of cinema and art, one of the powerful tools of establishing and protecting society, took their share of the attacks, Taylan said: "Cinema, which has carried out a strong opposition to the governments preventing social transformation, has always been the target of attacks. The power tried to isolate cinema from the society. The second Istanbul Kurdish Film Festival, which is being held in a period when the pressure and censorship in the cultural artistic dimension became so deep, and the mechanisms of cinematic production and distribution became commodities, has solidarity as its main theme. Solidarity as a tool for producing and sharing."

27 films to be screened

Noting that the festival will contribute to the development of Kurdish cinema production, Taylan said: "We directly or indirectly want to bring together Kurdish filmmakers and Kurdish cinema lovers in Istanbul, and to bring Kurdish films together with a society based on communal production and sharing, which set out with an alternative cinema understanding that is opposed to the capitalist relationship network. We will bring together 27 films of different genres and lengths, which do not target any identity and do not take an approach against the universal values ​​that respect nature and human rights."

'We tried to create a panorama of Kurdish cinema'

Xezal Gültekin and Taner Tan from the MKM Cinema Collective gave information about the festival in Kurdish and Turkish. Reminding that the story of the first Istanbul Kurdish Festival began to be knitted in 2019, Xezal said: "At that time, Kurdish films had been produced in many parts of the world for nearly 20 years. The Kurds would somehow convey their own stories through cinema. Our main goal is to produce Kurdish cinema in Istanbul, the most densely populated city of Kurds in the world. The films we brought together at our first festival were met with interest. And this showed that Kurdish cinema audiences are waiting for their own stories to be shown in cinemas. The feeling of the festival in 2019 was the driving force for us to organize the second edition. We brought together the films that tell the stories of the Kurds. We tried to create a panorama of Kurdish cinema with all these films."