Yılmaz Güney Award to be Granted at 10th Duhok International Film Festival

Amir Ali Mohammed Tahir, the president of Duhok International Film Festival has said, “Yılmaz Güney” received the Palm d’Or in 1982 Cannes Film Festival for his film Yol, that is why our best award would be the “Yılmaz Güney” Award.

 “Baghdad Messi” Opens 10th Duhok International Film Festival

According to the report of Mansour Jahani, an independent and international cinema journalist, The 10th round of Duhok International Film Festival was opened at Duhok University’s Congregation Hall, in the Kurdistan Region with a screening of the motion picture “Baghdad Messi” directed by Sahim Omar Khalifa, a joint production of Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Kurdistan Region. The Belgium-residing Kurdish director was present for the premiere along with the actor Hussein Hassan, the film’s lead Ahmed Mohammad, the executive producer Adil Abdulrahman, and producers Miran Dizayee and Roj Hajo. The event also hosted other prominent figures such as Duhok governor, Dr. Ali Tatar, Babakr Zebari, Ali Ouni, the festival president Amir Ali Mohammed Tahir, the festival’s artistic director Shawkat Amin Korki, the producer and cultural and artistic activist from the Kurdistan Region Abbas Ghazali, the jury members of the competition categories of World Cinema and Kurdish Cinema, as well as Iranian and foreign filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts. The festival closed on 16 December, 2023.

Duhok Film Fest Red Carpet Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 10th edition started with a red carpet event, featuring renowned characters, jury members of the competition categories, as well as some of the special guests hosted by this prestigious Middle Eastern cinematic event, posing before camera lenses of a variety of photographers from different TV channels.

Better Introduction of Kurdistan Region’s Culture & Art

The ceremony continued with a speech given by the festival president Amir Ali Mohammed Tahir, saying, “In the past couple of years, this festival has turned into a sustainable platform for films and cinema culture, and it has also strengthened the ties between different cultures and in turn has elevated the cinema of Kurdistan Region. Duhok Film Festival is not only a field for discourse and the better understanding of domestic and foreign filmmakers’ stances, but also it is a crucial factor in the introduction of Kurdistan Region’s culture and art, as the art of cinema plays a key role in this matter. It teaches us how people can look upon the world through the lens of cinema and how despite cultural differences and the multiplicity of views and perspectives, cinema can gather nations together.”

Cinema Can Uphold Peace Across Globe

“Our world has overcome big threats such as social and political problems, economic crises, and destructive wars. Cinema has efficiently demonstrated its unique power in resolving these conflicts by seeking an ideology that goes beyond the narrow-minded institutions and crosses borders. Cinema can bridge the gap between cultures, break down the walls of violence, strengthen the ties between nations, and uphold peace across the globe,” added Tahir.

Duhok Film Fest Golden Opportunity for Discovering Cinema’s Magic

The festival president went on to say, “Duhok Film Festival is a golden opportunity for us to discover the magic of cinema, so that we may look at the world on another light as it would affect our attitude and mentality. This art fest features storytelling as a combination of sound and color which result in peace of mind, positive feelings, and elevated thoughts.”

French Films Lasting Jigsaw Puzzle of World Cinema

The cultural director asserted, “This year, we are proud to welcome the French cinema as our special guest. France is not only a historically rich nation, but also it plays a significant role in the world of cinema; it is like a lasting jigsaw puzzle of world cinema that can keep our sentiments alive for ever. French cinema is known for its scope and variety, bearing proof that the manner of narration is more important than the story itself.”

“Yılmaz Güney” Award

The history of French cinema has introduced many filmmakers and screenwriters who successfully made use of the power of language in their works; how subtle dialogues and silent scenes can properly convey feelings and thoughts to the audience. And more importantly, we have not forgotten that “Yılmaz Güney” received the Palm d’Or in 1982 Cannes Film Festival for his film Yol, that is why our best award would be the “Yılmaz Güney” Award, Tahir commented.

Significance of Language & Its Function in Cinema

Duhok International Film Festival president said, “One of the main issues that we try to address this year is the significance of language and its function in cinema. Cinema is an international language that can bring people of different cultures together, providing us the possibility to transfer a story to a human soul in the best possible format. Language is a crucial instrument in this field, crossing cultural borders and different dilemmas and obstacles so as to transmit the message of films.”

Thanking Kurdish Directors Making Kurdish-Language Films

He also added, “We thank all the Kurdish directors who are active in the field of Kurdish cinema, especially abroad and in other parts of Kurdistan, asking them to pay attention to the Kurdish tongue in making their films, so that our mother tongue may last among the living languages of the world as we pride ourselves on our native language just as other people from different parts of the globe do.”

Cinema as Chance for Discourse & Cultural Exchange

“We believe that Duhok International Film Festival should go on as it is not only a chance to showcase the works of filmmakers from every country but it is also an opportunity for shaping a discourse and cultural exchanges; a chance that allows us to benefit from the experiences of other filmmakers and enrich our own. Let us watch cinema’s art and magic together, and to live with different stories, sounds, and colors. This is truly a feast for the people that combines feelings with art,” stressed Amir Ali Mohammed Tahir.

Genocide of a Nation

Following the opening ceremony, Duhok governor Dr. Ali Tatar said, “People and land are interconnected and this important and historic tie will never be cut off. Sometimes a nation becomes the target of a genocide, and as a result, loses its homogeneity and gets scattered. Genocide and the elimination of a people equals the removal of their language, culture, etiquette, etc. Should all these elements vanish, there will no longer be a trace left of that nation, but their names will be forever etched into history.”

We Value Cinema

He added, “We place value upon cinema since through this medium we can transfer our message to the world in a proper way. The seventh art entwines an advanced society to the modern civilization, and as the governing body of Kurdistan Region, we will always welcome Duhok International Film Festival and other cultural, artistic, sports, etc. event.”

A Pro Film’s Connection with Different Cultures & Nations in World

The university lecturer continued his remarks by saying, “Someone who is active in the field of the seventh art may be reluctant to operate in other artistic majors. I believe as a writer that when a professional film is being produced, it can efficiently make contact with other cultures and nations all across the world. Because cinema is an international art and language that includes all classes of people; it is likely that literature, especially poetry, fiction, novel, research and analysis may not contain such a comprehensive and world-scale power, as these works are typically composed for the intellectual class, while people of all walks of life can watch cinematic productions, relate to them, enjoy them, and fully get their message without any mediation.

Kurds Have Overcome Tragedies and Genocides

Duhok governor added, “We have gone through numerous catastrophes, tragedies, and genocides. Should global filmmakers produce many films about the tragedies and oppression befalling the Kurdish people, they would not run out of material, and in fact, they would merely portray a portion of the calamities.”

Expansion & Enhancement of Kurdish Cinema Via Ties to Global Films

Dr. Ali Tatar reiterated, “The expansion and enhancement of Kurdish Cinema would not be possible without the link to global films. We are pleased that this round of Duhok Film Festival is hosting the French cinema; a country known as old friends of Kurdish people. The nation of Kurdistan has always been blessed with the support of French government and people during harsh times and we pride ourselves on this lasting cultural and historical relation. The main theme of this year’s festival is mother tongue; the sweet language that a child first learns from his mother. Safekeeping a mother tongue is a vital necessity of each nation. For the first time, this edition features films for children and youth and we welcome them.”

Specialized workshop of Goethe-Institut, Germany

The German Goethe-Institut under the management of Shamal Sabri, in cooperation with the Duhok International Film Festival with the aim of anti-crisis development, is organizing four specialized workshops for selected students from all over the country.

“Ebrahim Saeedi”, the experienced cinematographer of Mahabad, as part of the fourth edition of the “NUHAT” program of the Goethe-Institut in the tenth edition of the Duhok International Film Festival for selected students from all over the country of Iraq; He organizes specialized workshops and editing masterclasses.

In this specialized course, also “Sahim Omar Khalifa” the professor of the specialized course of directing from Belgium, “Semih Yildiz” of the cinematography course from Turkey, “Hiua Aloji” the professor of the production course from Germany and also “Carmen Gray” Gray is the head of the short film competition jury of the “Kurdish Cinema” section and a journalist from NewZealand, the professor of the fourth course of the NUHAT program of the Goethe-Institut, Germany.

The official Teaser of the 10th Duhok Film Festival:


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