Kurdish movie ‘The Exam’ wins international film award
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Exam, a film by the Kurdish director Shawkat Amin Korki, who hails from the Kurdistan Region’s northern city of Zakho, won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival that began on August 20 and came to a close on Saturday.
Congratulations! 👏🏻 "THE EXAM" wins the AWARD OF INTERNATIONAL FILM CRITICS at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. @KVIFF #Czechia 🇨🇿 #Kurdistan https://t.co/AXrTf3o0In pic.twitter.com/jUUnSaZql6— Michal Svoboda (@MiiPraha) August 28, 2021
The new movie was produced by Mehmet Aktas and the Berlin-based German-Kurdish run company Mitos Film based in Berlin and co-produced by Masti Film, a production company from the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimani.
The film had its first international appearance at the Crystal Globe Competition section, with a number of its main actors attending, including Kurdish female actresses Avan Jamal and Vania Salar, who both appeared in traditional Kurdish clothing at the event.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic and one of the most prestigious in Central and Eastern Europe.
Every year, the festival presents some 200 films from around the world.
According to Intira, the spouse of Czech Consul General in Erbil Michal Svoboda, it was the “first time that a #Kurdish film has been screened in the main competition of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.”
During the eight-day festival, the flag of Kurdistan was displayed prominently.
”Seeing My flag #kurdishflag representing @the_exam_movie is an amazing feeling and am proud to be part of this great event,” actress Avan Jama wrote on social media.
The potential of Kurdish cinema is becoming increasingly recognized, in part because Kurdish festivals have been held recently in multiple European capitals, the US, Duhok, and Sulaimani and have won significant awards at international film festivals.
“Set in war-torn Iraqi Kurdistan, Shawkat Amin Korki’s drama boldly examines a theme deliberately ignored in Middle Eastern cinema – the subject of women’s rights: their entitlement not only to education, but also to make decisions about their own lives,” the synopsis of the film published on the festival website reads.
Korki told the media of the festival that Kurdistan does not have a large film industry and is lacking in professional equipment and sufficient post-production capabilities, causing moviemaking there to be challenging at best.
“Mostly when we do films we bring many things from outside and we make co-production(s),” he said. “We started, a few filmmakers, (for the) last 10-15, almost 20 years, we started to make movies in Kurdistan, but there is no industry.”
He said the project was awarded some of its budget by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Culture, “But when the ISIS attacks started, they didn’t have that fund anymore.”
He argued that women's rights are not a taboo topic in the Kurdistan Region, remarking, “We have strong women in Kurdistan, and also in this movie.”
He said that the two female characters in the movie struggle for their future and “sometimes we have such problems.”
“I wanted to portray this example through the eyes of two sisters, who, especially one, the bigger one, fights for her younger sister.”
Editing by John J. Catherine