AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – Amid the violent conflict and devastating civil war in Syria, Afrin Short Film Festival started on Monday in the Kurdish city of Afrin, north of Syria.
Kurdistan24 correspondent reported that huge crowds of movie lovers gathered in front of a giant indoor screen at the movie theatre of Afrin House of Culture and Art.
Hozan Abdo, a Syrian Kurdish filmmaker and a festival organizer told Kurdistan24 on Thursday that the four-day event is sponsored by Afrin Commission of Culture, and is organized by two other Kurdish directors and filmmakers, Negirvan Alkhando and Masoud Krad.
“Afrin Short Film Festival aims at changing the gloomy ambiance of panic and horrors of the ongoing war and destruction in Syria, and is reviving the Kurdish tradition of appreciation for arts,” Abdo said.
He added that the 27 films that participated in the festival are from many countries across the world, including Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Philippines, Russia, Bulgaria, Spain, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Lebanon, India, and Italy.
“The unique festival in its first year gives a platform to documentaries and short films coming from, or about, the oppressed cultures of stateless nations and conflict zones from across the world,” Abdo continued.
He further pointed out that the filmmakers could not travel to Afrin because it is under siege and is separated from the other Syrian Kurdish areas by Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda-affiliate, Nusra, from the east, Syrian Army from the south, and the blocked Turkish borders from the north and west.
The festival will award the best movie chosen by the jury consisting of a Russian Kurdish film critic and an Egyptian director.
“The Assessment Committee members also could not travel to Afrin, so they will decide on the best movie after watching all movies on the festival official web page,” Abdo added.
Commenting on the festival logo, Abdo said that the olive reveals a cultural aspect of Afrin’s life and history in a literal and symbolic sense. The city and its surrounding rural areas are famous for their olive trees and people here desire peace above anything else.
“The use of olive in the festival logo indicates the idea that the olive tree has been an icon for Afrin throughout history and also the olive branch has been a symbol of peace since the ancient Greek and Roman times,” he said.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Ava Homa