9th Duhok International Film Fest

9th Duhok International Film Fest Focuses on Ingmar Bergman’s Films and Swedish Cinema; Tribute Paid to Memory of Mahsa Amini

Mansour Jahani – With a focus on the works of Ingmar Bergman, the eminent and influential Swedish filmmaker and winner of four Academy Awards, the 9th edition of the Duhok International Film Festival, a prestigious awards ceremony in the Middle East, has paid tribute to the memory of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini.

The 9th round of the Duhok International Film Festival commemorating Yılmaz Güney, the prominent 1982 Palme d’Or winning filmmaker, opened at the congregation hall of Duhok University, in the city of Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The opening ceremony hosted the following guests: Dr. Ali Tatar, governor of Duhok, Dr. Salar Osman, deputy minister of culture and youth in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Ameer Ali Mohammed Tahir, president of Duhok International Film Festival president, Indian consulate to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Shawkat Amin Korki, artistic manager of the festival, Abbas Ghazali, cultural activist Members of the jury for the World Cinema and Kurdish Cinema competition categories

Filmmakers and cinema lovers, The opening ceremony featured a screening of Hussein Hassan’s “The Rain Bride” which was co-produced by Mehmet Aktaş and Muhammed Hassan, starring Şilan Düzdaban, Hussein Hassan, and Bengin Ali.

Cinema is a very important vehicle for ideological and cultural impact

The ceremony opened with a speech made by Ameer Ali Mohammed Tahir, the president of the Duhok International Film Festival, saying, “It is with much pleasure that we hold the 9th round of Duhok International Film Festival, and we congratulate all artists, especially filmmakers. Despite the dire and problematic circumstances of the region, ceasing cultural and artistic events would be an unpleasant incident, and endorsing them along with this international film festival would send a special message in our day and age. Cinema is a very important tool for ideological, cultural, and intellectual impact, with an undeniable role in social and cultural developments. This festival is a greatly auspicious opportunity to gather around Kurdish and foreign filmmakers so that they may get to know each other better, and exchange new ideas and thoughts in the summits and sessions held. In other words, the festival is a bridge between their culture and art.”

He continued his remarks by saying, “The theme of this edition is immigration, caused by problems, misunderstandings, and various wars taking place all around the globe. Huge numbers of people are forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in peaceful zones. The crises and tragedies that people encounter are significant humanistic issues depicted on the big screen via cinema and the films produced and screened in this festival and transmitted to the whole world.”

The president of the Duhok International Film Festival concluded his words by emphasizing that just like the previous years, one country’s cinema acts as the guest to this festival, and this year, we host the Swedish cinema. He added that Sweden’s cinema is very important, strong, and influential, having introduced eminent filmmakers to the world. Tahir ended his comments by saying that Sweden pays special attention to human rights, as well as the rules and principles of democracy, and has provided refuge to numerous Kurdish people.

Kurdish People’s Lives Has Potential to be Made into Successful Hollywood Movies

The ceremony continued with Dr. Ali Tatar, the governor of Duhok, stating, “I welcome the dear artists and guests. Duhok is a province teeming with a peaceful life, and I hope that it turns into a source of art and support for the artists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, endorsing them, and transferring its message through the festival to the whole world. I thank Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Kurdistan Region, who has constantly advised us to support the artists, and all these years he has shown support for art and artists of Duhok, fully and compassionately.”

He also said, “After the attacks made by ISIS in 2014, the Covid-19 pandemic, and budget cuts, we faced numerous problems and issues. Though fortunately, Duhok International Film Festival did not put a stop to its activities, and the artistic light was not dimmed.” He went on to welcome the filmmakers and special guests arriving from Sweden, wishing that the mutual relationship between these nations would be strengthened on a daily basis, with a focus on a single country’s cinema, achieving new experiences throughout the event. “All of you are aware that whatever is transmitted through the art of cinema to the world, as well as the impact it makes on society, is not hidden from anyone. The stories and tragedies befalling the people of Kurdistan can each be made into a cinematic work. The lives of people inhabiting the Kurdistan Region have the potential to be made into successful Hollywood movies; however, sadly this has not happened yet due to several reasons,” said Dr. Tatar.

Upon ending his remarks, Dr. Tatar stressed the significance of this event by saying, “The theme of this year’s festival is immigration. Some people may have never experienced it, but we have gone through it twice or several times. Unfortunately, we have even been forced to immigrate en masse. If there are people forced to migrate in thousands, we have done so in millions. Thus we are fully aware of the problems and issues beleaguering immigrants, and we try to help them. After all these years and changes that have been made in our lives, sadly we witness that this ominous phenomenon still takes place, and up to this moment, the fundamental issues of the Middle East have not been resolved. In Kurdistan Region and Duhok Province, it brings us tremendous honor to have provided refuge to a half million of our brothers and sisters who have been forced to move from varied districts of Iraq such as Sinjar, Ninawa, Anbar, the south of Iraq as well as other parts of the Middle East, currently living in peace, calm, and quiet. By holding Duhok International Film Festival, we aim at transferring to the world the message of peace, reconciliation, tranquility, love, kindness, resolution of issues, as well as a peaceful life.”

Cinema is culture, creativity, and beauty

In another segment of the opening ceremony, Dr. Salar Osman, deputy to the art and youth ministry of Kurdistan aka. Roshnbiri, stated, “I think that cinema is culture, creativity, and beauty. Cinema is a social and cultural art, therefore, we can see in cinema different societies with all their dreams, paradoxes, and problems. Each cinema within itself transfers a message to us leading the society towards light, brightness, and beauty.”

He also added, “On behalf of the Roshnbiri Ministry of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we declare our full support for holding Duhok International Film Festival. At the moment, we are going through sensitive times; we have passed tragedies and crimes such as Anfal, the chemical attack of Halabja, and the forced migration of Kurds, along with numerous issues and problems. Therefore, we request filmmakers to address these deep tragedies and woes in their works and to reflect them to their own society as well as the world. I hope that the national cinema would prove influential in Kurdistan, as this nation faces many concerns, with various threats from all sides, and wants to step into a bright future.

Focusing on Ingmar Berman’s Films and Swedish Cinema

In line with the tradition of the festival, this edition focused on the cinema of a single country. In fact, one of the key objectives of these festivals is cultural interactions and building bridges between domestic and foreign filmmakers. Sweden has a progressive and adept cinema which can be the perfect means to enjoy Swedish culture. Thus, Sweden with its set of prominent films will be the focal point in the 9th round of the Duhok International Film Festival.

The 9th edition of the Duhok International Film Festival screened 9 feature-length films in the Special Screening of Swedish Cinema including titles such as “Persona”, and “Crisis” by Ingmar Bergman, as well as “Raven’s End” by Bo Widerberg,

“Songs from the Second Floor” and “A Swedish Love Story” by Roy Andersson, “The Square”, and “Play” by Ruben Ostlund, “Maya Nilo” by Lovisa Sirén, and “Daughters” by Jenifer Malmqvist.

Moreover, a roundtable was held called “The Swedish Cinema: From Bergman to Ruben Ostlund” moderated by Freddy Olsson, with panelist Professor Magnus.

Trusted member of Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Based in Iraq, Duhok International Film Festival is a trusted member of Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Australia known as Asian Oscars, introducing global films in this cinematic event.

Jury members of “World Cinema” competition category in this festival will grant a statue, a plaque, and Yılmaz Güney’s $10,000 award to best feature film, $5000 to best director, $5000 to best international short film, $5000 to new talent, jury’s special $1500 award to best short and the French Goethe Institute’s $5000 dollar award to best international documentary.

Duhok International Film Festival, presided by Ameer Ali Mohammed Tahir, with artistic management by Shawkat Amin Korki, and in memoriam of Yılmaz Güney, the 1982 Palme d’or winner in Cannes, is in an effort to bridge the gap between Kurdish directors and those from the rest of the world, facilitating cultural exchanges among the nations all around the world.

The 9th edition of this festival will showcase 97 other films in feature format, short, or documentary, in competition or out of competition categories. “World Cinema” competition category includes 9 feature films, 8 documentaries, and 11 shorts; “Kurdish Cinema” competition category contains 5 features films, 6 documentaries, and 15 shorts; “World Vision” includes 6 feature films, 4 documentaries, and 3 shorts; “Kurdish Cinema Panorama” category contains 19 shorts; “Special Screening of Sweden Cinema” with 9 feature films; “Special Screening of Kurdish Cinema” with 1 feature film and 1 documentari. Duhok festival will close on 22 November 2022 after granting the awards.

For more details:http://www.duhokiff.com/

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