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36th anniversary of the death of Yilmaz Guney

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36th anniversary of the death of Yilmaz Guney

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:07 am

36 years after death of
father of Kurdish cinema

Artists say Kurdish Film industry is in trouble

The 36th anniversary of the death of a legend and a founding father of Kurdish cinema, Yilmaz Guney, known for his masterpiece, the award-winning film Yol.

The release of Yol, which means The Road, is considered by many to be the birth of Kurdish cinema. It tells the story of a group of Kurdish prisoners on a one-week furlough from prison, introducing audiences to Kurdish language and music at a time when they were banned in Turkey.

Guney directed it from prison, via a proxy Sherif Goren, and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1982 for his efforts.

Guney and his film inspired the next generations of Kurdish writers and filmmakers. He died in Paris on September 9, 1984. Thirty-six years after his death, however, filmmakers and viewers alike fear Kurdish cinema hasn’t lived up to its promising beginning.

Kurdish cinema is weak because of “disunity in the Kurdish film industry,” Shahram Alidi, an Iranian Kurdish filmmaker based in Paris told Rudaw via Skype.

"We do not follow the legacy of Yilmaz Guney. We are more after breaking each other into pieces than becoming united. We need to put our film industry house in order. Look, we do not even have a film syndicate yet," Alidi said.

Behzad Azadi, a filmmaker from Sanandaj, Iran said Kurds do not have "strong film critics and film criticism." He’d also like to see the establishment and support of production companies.

Funding is another problem.

"In recent years, lack of a sponsor has dealt a blow to Kurdish cinema," Farzin Karim, a writer and filmmaker, told Rudaw on Wednesday. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was a major sponsor of cinema, funding “up to 60 high-quality cinema films,” said Karim. But that changed when an economic crisis struck six years ago.

"Since 2014, the economic situation, the fight against Daesh [Islamic State, ISIS] are blamed for playing a very negative role on the state of cinema," said Tariq Akrayi, a filmmaker in Erbil.

With Kurds fighting for their very survival, cinema has taken a back seat, said Abdulrahman Ibrahim, an artist in Qamishli, northern Syria. He thinks the lack of development in Kurdish filmmaking is because of the "abnormal situation that Kurds are going through in recent years" due to the fight against ISIS.

"Yet we see positive signs and developments as our films take part in festivals and we hold film festivals," he said.

The Duhok International Film Festival has gained global recognition in just a few years, attracting international talent to the mountain city. The Slemani International Film Festival is also growing, and the Rojava International Film Festival is fostering a nascent cinema industry in northeastern Syria.

This year’s editions of the Duhok and Sulaimani festivals, however, have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The London Kurdish Film Festival went online this year, because of COVID-19.
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36th anniversary of the death of Yilmaz Guney



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