The organising committee of the Kurdish Film Festival is delighted to welcome you to the 5th London Kurdish Film Festival. The final preparations for the festival have taken place during a very difficult period for the Kurds all around the world, with Turkey's threat of military incursions into South Kurdistan (Iraq). The Kurds in Turkey and their legal and democratic institutions also have been under enormous pressure from the state and Turkish nationalist groups. This crisis has once again pushed the Kurds to the forefront of global media attention. Under these conditions with the Kurds still seeking peace and stability in their homeland, we are turning our first significant corner by bringing you our fifth Kurdish film festival. As in previous years, this year's festival presents a varied programme of many films - fiction, documentary, animation, features and shorts - not only from Kurdistan, but from all over the world. The event will be enriched by discussions with the directors, filmmakers and actors themselves. With the introduction of our first short film competition, in memory of the great Kurdish director Yilmaz GŁney, we are now one step closer to one of our main aims - to help the development of Kurdish cinema by encouraging newly emerging talent. Our call for entries to the competition has met with an enormous response with over 80 entries, and we are grateful to all these filmmakers for making us feel that our festival is unique and special in its purpose. We hope that our short film competition will help and encourage more people to grab their cameras and tell their stories to the world.
Since last year, Kurdish film makers have continued to lift prestigious awards at international film festivals. This shows that Kurdish Cinema is not just a flash in the pan. Although filmmaking is relatively new to Kurdistan, it is fast becoming a very visible and widespread artistic activity among the Kurds. One clear sign of this development is that this year we are able to show over 100 films in various genres during the week long festival. This development would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of the Kurdistan Regional Government in South Kurdistan (Iraq), especially the Ministry of Culture, all the cinema departments in the region, the satellite and local TV channels broadcasting in Kurdish, as well as the political, social and artistic movement that gives valuable support to filmmaking.
Last year we were proud to introduce the classic silent film ZARE, made in 1926 in Armenia. This year we are presenting YAZIDI KURDS, the second film about the Kurds, but also the first film on the Yazidi Kurds. We once again would like to thank the Armenian National Film Centre and Yerevan International Film Festival for the great efforts they have made to enable us to show this film in our festival. We are also grateful to Feleknas Uca, a member of the European Parliament of Kurdish Yazidi origin, who has kindly agreed to join us to present this film despite her busy schedule. The LKFF will provide English subtitles for the screening and once again our lovely friend Tara Jaff who is also a member of the LKFF organising committee will play live music during the screening on her harp. We are dedicating this screening to the memory of the 500 Yazidi Kurds who were killed in August this year during the deadliest terrorist attack in Iraq, since the war in 2003. The screening is also dedicated to Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was killed by Turkish nationalists in Turkey in January this year. Hrant was a good friend to the Kurds. The screening of YAZIDI KURDS will be free of charge. A specific strand of our programme this year features films about the Yazidi Kurds.
Other festival highlights include: Shawkat Amin Korki's multi award winning CROSSING THE DUST; Hiner Saleem's DOL - THE VALLEY OF TAMBOURINES and the British premiere of his latest film BENEATH THE ROOFTOPS OF PARIS; Zuli Aladag's six award winning film CAN, Norway based young Kurdish director Hisham Zaman's brand new film WINTERLAND and his wonderful short film BAWKE, winner of over 30 awards; A VEHICLE TICKET , a collaborative work from Ako Aziz Mezra and Masoud Arif who attended our festival last year with NARCISSUS BLOSSOM; young Kurdish director Soran Mardookhi from East Kurdistan (Iran) will be with us with his film AND THUS I WAS BORN. The festival also includes many other award winning short films and a diverse range of fascinating and powerful documentaries including Canada based Kurdish director Sami Mermer's well made LANZO'S BOX, Susan Kornalijnslijper's WHO ARE WE on legendary Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer, and Orsola Casagrande and Bibi Bozzato's RESISTANCE about the revolutionary Kurdish music group Koma Berxwedan. These two films will be receiving their world premieres. There will also be world premiere screenings of two documentaries about celebrated Kurdish Poets - Kawa Akray's CIGERXWIN and DIWAN by Salam Majeed on Kurdish poet Jamal Sharbazheri as well as BECAUSE WE ARE KURDS, an eye opening documentary by Niaz Lajani. Young Kurdish film director Binevsa Berivan's documentary TRACES: THE PEOPLE OF PEACOCK is one of the films about the Yazidi Kurds that we will be showing in the festival. Jiyar Gol, a Kurdish director based in Canada touches on the issues that Christian communities have faced in the past and now in modern day Iraq in CHRISTMAS IN IRAQ. All films will have English subtitles.
We would like to thank everybody who has contributed to our festival. In particular we would like to thank all the jury members who have agreed to take on this difficult job, the volunteers who have carried out their tasks so smoothly and patiently, our representatives in Kurdistan and especially our funders and sponsors for their contributions to the festival. In particular we would like to thank some individuals, namely, Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly), Dr. Barham Ahmad Salih (Kurdish politician and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq), Mr. Taha Barwary, (Minister of Sport and Youth, Kurdistan Region, Iraq), Dr. Salah Al-Shaikhly (Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in London), Mr Faruq Mustafa, Mr Nawzad Jaff, Mr. Aza Dogramachi, Mr Saad Bazaz and Ms. Jenny Hall for their great support of our festival. Without the support of our friends, funders and sponsors, it would not be possible to organise an event on this scale and bring the voices of Kurdish artists, and the non-Kurds who care about the Kurds, to London. Enjoy the Festival!
London Kurdish Film Festival Organising Committee