Fourth New York Kurdish Film Festival focuses on Kurdish unity
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – This year's New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival began online on Friday and ends Sunday, with the main focus being uniting Kurds.
The event is being held in cooperation with the London Kurdish Film Festival and the Middle East Cinema Academy. Like the London Kurdish Film Festival held in August, this year's festival will be online due to COVID-19.
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"This year's theme is the Kurdish national unity and peace. As we know that the Syrian civil war really closed and deepened Kurdish conflict with the tremendous effect and pressure from outside players such as Turkey,” Xeyal Qertel, the founder and director of the Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival of New York, told Kurdistan 24.
“So, first, we like to solidify our brotherhood and sisterhood among Kurds…, that is our first and foremost goal,” she said.
Qertel added, “I am in contact with Kurdish artists and directors from four parts of Kurdistan because we wanted all parts to be represented in our festival, and we managed to do that.”
She noted that 40 films were on the docket for screening.
The last day of the festival also includes a talk among Iranian Kurdish book authors, including award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani and Ava Homa.
The opening night of the festival began on Friday with a letter from the imprisoned former Co-chair of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas.
“We reached out to him, and his message was read by his wife, Basak Demirtas.”
The opening film was one based on a novel Demirtas penned from his prison cell.
Qertel said this was a message of solidarity to thousands of Kurdish activists and HDP members imprisoned in Turkey.
Demirtas was detained and put in prison in November 2016, along with nine other lawmakers in a crackdown that purged President Tayyip Erdogan’s political rivals shortly after a failed alleged military coup attempt in July.
Ankara then dismissed HDP mayors, replacing them with state trustees, and arrested thousands of HDP members and activists after the state of emergency that followed the attempted coup.
"The opening night with a message of Mr. Demirtas is really our message to Turkey and their human rights abuses. There are thousands and thousands of Kurds, political leaders, activists, whoever stands against their brutality is held captive. So this is really our message to Turkey," Qertel concluded.
The proceedings of the festival will be donated to the Kurdish Red Crescent (Hevya Sor).
Editing by Khrush Najari