Duhok International Film Festival's tenth edition: Celebrating French cinema and embracing Kurdish culture

Duhok International Film Festival's tenth edition: Celebrating French cinema and embracing Kurdish culture

Shafaq News / The tenth edition of the Duhok International Film Festival, emphasizing French cinema, kicked off in Duhok, in the Kurdistan Region(KRI). The festival's president invited prominent cinema companies worldwide to participate.

Mansour Jahani, a journalist, informed Shafaq News Agency that the tenth Duhok International Film Festival, led by Amir Ali Mohammed Taher and artistic director Shawkat Amin Korki, a Kurdish director, carried the theme "Mother Tongue" and will showcase 100 works from various filmmakers across global regions. These will include narrative, short, and documentary films screened in competitive and non-competitive sections from December 9th to 16th, 2023, at the Congress Hall of Duhok University and the Duhok Mall Cinema Complex.

Jahani quoted Amir Ali Mohammed Taher, the president of the festival, during a press conference, stating, "The festival's journey has not been easy until this moment, but it has been completed through the continuous efforts and empathy of my colleagues, who have worked tirelessly to complete the different stages of this edition."

Taher added, "The festival's advisors and selection committee have chosen the best films for both the competitive and non-competitive sections. Every year, we strive to present the best films and enhance the festival's quality. It is crucial for us that those visiting Duhok witness the excellent cinematic culture in this region."

He highlighted, "Our strategy is to set prominent goals for ourselves each year, which I believe is crucial. Every period, we, the people of Duhok, alongside the esteemed Kurdistan community, elevate ourselves to higher levels in the fields of culture and art. Holding this festival annually is a success as we overcome numerous obstacles and issues in this Middle Eastern region. Each year, we conduct this festival with support from everyone."

Moreover, Taher emphasized, "Our primary goal is to invite some leading cinema companies worldwide to come here and select KRI as a primary location for their projects. I hope that in the near future, the beautiful and pristine culture and nature of Kurdistan, especially Duhok, will be captured through the lenses of global filmmakers in their works. Additionally, our other goals include economic development, tourism, among other aspects, in hosting this cinematic event."

Meanwhile, Hassan Aref, the Public Relations Director of the Tenth Duhok International Film Festival, announced that starting from June 10th, 2023, they would be accepting film submissions for the tenth edition. Within three weeks, they received 500 films online for the "World Cinema" and "Kurdish Cinema" sections, selecting almost 200 films through the festival members who participated in various international festivals.

Aref continued, "After closing the film submission portal, the selection committee members commenced their work and chose 100 films, including narrative, short, and documentary films for the final part of the festival."

Furthermore, he added, "The theme 'Mother Tongue' will be the festival's slogan this year. The Kurdish language, rich and diverse, with its various dialects and unique characteristics, is used by many Kurdish filmmakers inside and outside Kurdistan in producing their works. This message encourages them to create their films in Kurdish, ensuring the language remains vibrant and everlasting."

He stated, "This year, we chose France as the guest country at the Duhok Film Festival, showcasing narrative, short, and documentary films. Undoubtedly, France is a nation where cinema was born, and currently, the Cannes Film Festival is held there, regarded as the best festival globally."

Aref affirmed, "Each year, we have been asking for the acceptance of children's films. This year, we added the 'Children's Cinema' section to the festival, selecting ten films to screen. In the 'Classic Cinema' section this year, several international films will be displayed at the Duhok Film Festival."

The Duhok International Film Festival is a trusted member in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), known as the "Asian Oscars," held in Australia, offering cinematic works to the event from all over Iraq.

On behalf of the jury panel in the "World Cinema" competition section, the festival presents a small statue, an appreciation plaque, and a $10,000 award for Yılmaz Güney's film for the Best Film, along with a $5,000 prize for the Best Film Director and a $5,000 award for the Best Short Film. The International Talent Award includes a $5,000 prize for new talent, while the Jury Special Prize amounts to $1,500 for the Best Short Film. The Goethe Institute Award values $5,000 for the Best International Documentary.

The Duhok International Film Festival is presided over by Amir Ali Mohammed Taher and directed by Shawkat Amin Korki. It commemorates Yılmaz Güney, the recipient of the Golden Palm at the Cannes International Film Festival in France (1982), aiming to build a bridge between global filmmakers and Kurds worldwide, fostering cultural exchanges among nations.

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