Düsseldorf hosts inaugural Kurdish Film Festival to spotlight Yazidi community and Kurdish culture.

Düsseldorf, Germany, introduces the first Kurdish Film Festival (DKFF), offering a vital platform for Kurdish cinema and spotlighting the Yazidi community. This event, running from 25-28 April, underscores the urgent need to preserve and evolve the Kurdish language, culture and history, under long-standing political repression.

Kurdish filmmakers and artists safeguard their community’s cultural identity through works that double as both artistic expressions and historical documents. Their films not only delve into the Kurdish way of life, demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity, but also play a crucial role in educating and challenging prejudices. Among these artists, Yılmaz Güney stands out as a pioneering figure in Kurdish cinema and a cultural ambassador across borders.

Beyond showcasing films, the DKFF programme includes discussions, lectures and cultural events, giving attendees the opportunity to engage deeply with Kurdish culture and history. These activities are aimed at promoting tolerance, understanding and solidarity.

The festival reflects on the historical suffering of the Yazidi community, notably the genocide committed by ISIS in the Sinjar (Şengal) region of Iraq in 2014. With Germany home to the largest Yazidi diaspora, the festival bridges cultural divides and amplifies the voices of this distinct minority.

The DKFF invites the public to explore Kurdish cinema and participate in constructive dialogue with diverse cultures and communities.

Film Highlights: 

– Rojbash by Özkan Küçük. A poignant narrative intertwining the past and present struggles of Kurdish theatre.

– When the Seedlings Grow by Reger Azad Kaya. A day in the life of a father and daughter in Kobane.

– The Wedding Parade by Sevinaz Evdike. A tale of three young women whose dreams are upended by war.

 Nachbarn by Mano Khalil. A look back at a childhood marked by dictatorship and resistance, based on the director’s personal experiences.

– Sieger Sein by Soleen Youseef. The story of Mona, a young refugee navigating life and football in Berlin.

– Documentaries such as Letters from Shengal and Heza document the Yazidi community’s struggles and resilience, while Ra – The Spiritual Path explores the unique Dersim Alevism.

The Düsseldorf festival not only celebrates Kurdish cinematic achievements but also serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing struggles and resilience of the Kurdish and Yazidi peoples.