Kurdistan’s Duhok International Film Festival will focus on Afghanistan

“We think it would make sense for us to talk about Afghanistan.”
Logo of the Duhok International Film Festival. (Photo: K24)
Logo of the Duhok International Film Festival. (Photo: K24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24 – To show solidarity with Afghanistan and its people, the eighth annual Duhok International Film Festival (IFF) will feature a diverse range of classic and contemporary Afghan cinema.  

“The focus country program presents a diverse selection of classics and contemporary cinema of Afghan filmmaking and international films about Afghanistan including local, diasporic and international voices, the panorama will reflect on social, political, and artistic matters, connecting past and presence,” the film festival’s official website said.

This year’s festival will commence on November 11 and conclude a week later on November 18.

The acclaimed Afghan director Siddiq Barmak, who now lives in exile in Paris, will present his film OSAMA, which won the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Another classic film that will be highlighted by the program is Kandahar, made by Iranian movie director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

Shawkat Amin Korki, the festival's artistic director, told Kurdistan 24 that in these difficult times it's important to invite “Afghan film makers to Duhok” to show solidarity.

Film producer Mehmet Aktas, the head of the festival’s International Program, and founder of the German-Kurdish company Mitos Film in Berlin, told Kurdistan 24 that Afghan film makers, like their Kurdish counterparts, face censorship and are, “forced to flee, experience migration and exile.”

“In this regard, we as Kurds, have the same feeling as them,” he said. “We think it would make sense for us to talk about Afghanistan.”

More generally, Aktas pointed out that the movie makers have missed interacting with the public during such festivals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a huge impact on the film industry worldwide.

Last year, the Duhok International Film Festival was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last US troops departed Afghanistan on August 30, ending the longest war in US history.

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3.5 million Afghans have been displaced from their homes by conflict, including some 630,000 uprooted during 2021. There are also 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees around the world, according to data from the UN refugee agency.

Read More: Duhok International Film Festival postponed until next year due to COVID-19

Aktas earlier participated in at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where one of the movies he helped produce, called The Exam, by Kurdish director Shawkat Amin Korki, won an international award.

Read More: Kurdish movie ‘The Exam’ wins international film award

“The audience wants to see the filmmakers and the directors want to see the reaction of the audience to their films,” Aktas said.

Therefore, this year in Duhok, both film directors and the public can interact with one another once again.