Kurdish Talent Shines in German Cinema, Literature

The new generation of Kurds in Germany is making significant strides in cinema and literature, positively impacting the cultural identity and struggle of Kurds in the country.
The Logo of the German Film Awards 2024. (Photo: Kurdistan24)
The Logo of the German Film Awards 2024. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) - This year marks a milestone for Kurdish writers and filmmakers in Germany as they garnered significant film and literary awards. Among the celebrated are filmmakers Soleen Yusef, Mehmet Aktas, and Ayşe Polat, along with novelist Ronya Othmann.

Soleen Yusef, a Kurdish director from Duhok, received the Best Children's Film award in Germany, akin to the German Oscars for her movie “Sieger Sein” or “Winners”.  The movie is about Mona, a Syrian refugee in Berlin, who joins a competitive girls' football team where she learns the value of teamwork for success.

In an interview with Kurdistan24’s Berlin correspondent, Shawqi Kanabi, Yusef highlighted the Kurdish roots of her award-winning film.

"The story of the film is Kurdish, and the identity is Kurdish. The main role is a Kurdish girl from West Kurdistan. Though the movie was directed in German, its essence is deeply tied to Kurdistan and Kurdishness," she stated.

The film “Im toten Winkel” or “In the Blind Spot,” written and directed by Ayşe Polat and produced by Mehmet Aktas, also made waves by winning Outstanding Feature Film, Best Screenplay and Directing in German Film Awards.

Im Toten Winkel is about a German film team that travels to northeastern Turkey in order to shoot a documentary. In a remote Kurdish village, they witness an elderly woman performing a recurring ritual to keep the memory of her missing son alive.

The Kurdish translator of the German crew is also the nanny of Melek, a 7-year-old Turkish girl. Her father, Zafer, works for a sinister organization and is caught between loyalty to them and fear for his family's well-being when his daughter appears to be haunted by a mysterious force.

The fateful encounter of these people develops a destructive power. Im Toten Winkel unravels a complex net of conspiracy, paranoia and generational trauma.

Yusef emphasized, "This is an important step for Kurdish cinema to be recognized worldwide. Entering German cinema is just the first step towards international recognition, which is crucial for Kurdish cinema."

On the literary front, Ronya Othmann, a Kurdish Yezidi novelist writing in German, has won several prestigious awards, including the Usedom Literature Prize for her novel “Die Sommer” ("The Summer").

Speaking to Kurdistan24, Othmann explained, "The award is given by an island in Germany, Usedom. I received it for my first novel, published in 2020, but awarded now."

The new generation of Kurds in Germany is making significant strides in cinema and literature, positively impacting the cultural identity and struggle of Kurds in the country.

Earlier this week, another young Kurdish talent was able to win an international award in 64th Krakow Film Festival.

Read More: Kurdish documentary film wins in European film Awards

The international competition of the 64th Krakow Film Festival was between May and June 2024. The Kurdish documentary film The Trees Are Silent won side by side 40 outstanding Polish documentaries and short films.