The 10th London Kurdish Film Festival (LKFF) opened this year with a gala attended by directors, artists and people.

The Festival, which will end on April 22nd, has been dedicated to Mehmet Aksoy, the YPG BİM member who fell martyr in Raqqa last September. 

Interest in this 10th edition of the festival was very high and the offer was of much quality and very diverse.

This edition has seen movies been screened at three different venues, North London’s Woodgreen Vue Cinema, Dalston Rio Cinema in Hackney and SOAS University, in Russell Square.

Director Ken Loach greeted the Festival

Among the personalities invited to attend the gala this year was well known and much loved British director Ken Loach who was unable to attend due to health problems. Loach, however, sent a message emphasizing the importance of maintain continuity to the festival. “I am aware of the contribution of the festival to the struggle in Kurdistan. I would have liked to share with you the opening of this festival but health problems force me not to stay among you tonight. I wish the festival every success”.

Huseyin Tabak, Solin Yusuf, Mano Xalil, Ali Kemal, Mehmet Salih Yıldırım, Berrin Çelik, Suat Usta, İsmail Zagros, Murat Seven and former YPG British fighter Macer Guilford met with the people during the festival.

Michael Channen, Professor of Rohampton University, was the jury president of the London Kurdish Film Festival, while American professor Karl Nahatra and Simon Young of the British Film Institute were members of the jury panel.

Kurdish stories

A distinctive feature of the London Kurdish Film Festival is that it tells Kurdish stories, through fiction, long and short films, documentaries with poetry and tenderness. This year most stories were focusing on the war and refugees and the experiences of Rojava.

The festival had accustomed us to debates and meeting with the directors and actors and this year made no exception: each film was followed by a lively talk between directors, actors or producers and the very curious audience.

Film on Diyarbakir prison

The film “14 July” (on Diyarbakir prison) directed by Haşim Aydemir was one of the event most waited for.

HDP Van deputy Kemal Aktaş, who has remained in Diyarbakır prison for many years, met the audience together with Rojhilat Aksoy from Yapım 13 and Suat Usta in the role of Hayri Durmuş.

Aktas conveyed his experiences, torture methods and the resistance staged by the PKK prisoners against the violence of the State and prison authorities. Suat Usta stated that he was very proud of having had the opportunity to play Hayri Durmuş and added: “It was a very difficult role to play”.

Rojhilat Aksoy confirmed that the film as targeted by much pressure from the AKP government in Turkey and the State of Emergency and added that indeed it had only been released in Europe.

Director Solin Yusuf and her film “Çatısız Ev”, was one of the Kurdish women director who most grabbed the attention of the audience of the Kurdish Film Festival.

Mehmet Aksoy remembered

The London Kurdish Film Festival this year is dedicated to the memory of Mehmet Aksoy, who fell martyr in Raqqa. 

For the past several editions of the Festival, Aksoy had been the director of the organizing committee of the festival. This year his festival will show “Being G”, a film that Mehmet couldn’t finished but that his friends have completed. 

The film will be shown on April 20th. In memory of Mehmet Aksoy, the 1st Mehmet Aksoy award has been created to award the best documentary.

A great honour

Gonca Aksoy, brother of martyr Mehmet Aksoy, said he was proud to attend the festival and said, “The London Kurdish Film Festival has been organised again. While I feel great joy for the restructuring of this great and valuable organization, the fact that my brother is not here is also a terrible pain to bear. It is a great pleasure for me to see all our loved ones and Mehmet friends together”, he said.

Zeynep Kurban, one of the organizers of the Festival, said: “In fact we are here today, for the 10th year thanks to a great deal of work, efforts and team work. It is a great opportunity to see the stories about our own history and culture. It has been very hard for us to be working on this festival without Mehmet”.

The festival will end on Saturday night, April 21 with the screening of the film “Kara Rüzgar” (Dark Wind). The screening will be followed by a talk with film producer and script writer Mehmet Aktaş.

 

Source: Yeni Özgür Politika

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