A programme of films, screening in Erbil, will celebrate British cinema as well as the growing relationship between Kurdistan and the UK.
New this year, the festival will also show some shorts and medium-length films by Kurdish filmmakers, such as Chaplin of the Mountains [pictured].
The programme will also include the Kurdistan premiere of Gwynn Roberts’ documentary Kulajo, about one Kurdish village attacked during the Anfal campaign of the late 1980s.
The festival was founded last year by members of the British Consulate-General in Erbil, and producer-financier Phil Hunt of London-based Bankside Films.
Hunt said: “It’s an extraordinary and exciting relationship that is being built here between our industry and the people of Kurdistan. We hope that the films we are screening will inspire and entertain in a way that will encourage local filmmakers and artists to engage with cinema and show us their own stories. The country has changed so dramatically over the last two decades. It’s time that those stories were brought to the screen.”
The British Consul-General in Erbil Hugh Evans said that the Kurdish people have endured decades of repression and isolation, however now they are determined to catch up with the rest of the world.
“It is reflected in huge economic growth and an impressive record of development in recent years. We in the UK are proud to be forging ever closer and more diverse ties – political, commercial, education and cultural – with the people and government of this fascinating Region,” Evans said.
He added that holding a film festival of this scale and ambition reflects the strength of collaboration between Kurdish and British film enthusiasts.
“It also taps into a deep Kurdish interest in the creative arts. Last year over 2000 people came to see British films such as Senna, The Queen and Mark Cousins’ The First Movie. This year we have an even more exciting range of movies for people to enjoy,” he noted.
Evans expressed hope that the festival can become a long term fixture and will help encourage the emergence of an indigenous Kurdish cinema with international appeal.
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