ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Dutch-Kurdish filmmaker Reber Dosky on Thursday won the 2Doc Award for Best Dutch Documentary in this year's International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) for his haunting film “Sidik And the Panther.”
“We are presenting the Award for Best Dutch Documentary to a film that carries us into an enchanted world of evocative landscapes, breathtaking wildlife, and transcendent longing,” the jury said in its official written decision.
“Its formal ambition enchanted us in the character’s Wizard of Oz-like journey. Its indelible cinematic vision becomes a potent allegory for a nation seeking liberation.”
The IDFA is the world’s largest documentary film festival and has been held annually in Amsterdam since 1988.
Dosky was born in the Kurdistan Region’s province of Duhok, has lived in the Netherlands since 1998, and graduated at the Netherlands Film Academy in 2013.
His short documentary “The Sniper of Kobani” (2015) earned awards at multiple festivals. His full-length film debut, entitled “Radio Kobani” (2016), premiered at IDFA where it won the national competition, ultimately racking up a total of 14 awards at numerous other festivals.
“Sidik and the Panther” follows one man, Sidik Barzani, and the dedication he pours into his attempt to find a Persian leopard in the genocide-scarred mountains of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. If only he can capture one of these magical creatures on film, he reasons, the rugged region will be declared a national park and the bombs will never fall again.
“For me, the mountains are the main protagonist of the film,” Dosky told Kurdistan 24. “The mountains that have always protected our Kurds.”
“I was born in the mountains of Barzan when my parents were fleeing from Saddam Hussein,” he said.
Dosky’s grandfather, a Peshmerga fighter, gave Dosky his first name, Reber (“leader” or “guide” in Kurdish), during their flight. A few days after the child was born, his grandfather was brutally murdered by the Baath regime.
“In the film, I go back to that place for the first time and, together with Sidik, I set up a memorial for him. I wanted to capture the beauty and sadness of the mountains in images.”
The film will premiere this evening for IDFA festival-goers and is scheduled for release in Dutch cinemas in the spring.
Dosky added that he is very happy to have received the award and hopes it helps to put Kurdish issues in “a bigger spotlight.”
He is also organizing an event to show “Sidik and the Panther” to viewers in his native Kurdistan Region.
Editing by John J. Catherine