11th Berlin Kurdish Film Festival opens with screening of 'Ezmun'

The 11th Berlin Kurdish Film Festival opened on Thursday with the film "Ezmun" (The exam).

The 11th Berlin Kurdish Film Festival opened on Thursday. This year, the festival will be screening over 40 films and will focus on the social transformation of South Kurdistan. 

The film "Ezmun" (The exam) directed by Shawkat Amin Korki opened the 11th Berlin Kurdish Film Festival. It focuses on corruption in South Kurdistan. Mehmet Aktaş, the producer of the movie said: “First of all, corruption has become a part of life in South Kurdistan. There is corruption in many institutions. But it was corruption in education that struck me.”

Social transformation, said Aktaş, could not be fully established due to factors such as corruption and bribery in the nation-building process of South Kurdistan. “Kurds are still trying to establish their own identities and their own country.”

Producer and director Aktaş said that the criticism they brought to the system should be the main duty of filmmakers and added: “I think filmmakers do not make films just to please their own society. They mostly go beyond the praise of their own structures, which criticize that society, and look at them with a positive critical eye and try to contribute to the maturation of society. That's how I look too. There are also cheap propaganda films in South Kurdistan. But social critical and political films are dominant.”

Avan Jamal, the lead actress of Ezmun, was in Berlin for the festival premiere, and emphasized the strengths of the character of Şilan she played in the film.

She said that although Şilan does not have so much of a political stance, she is a fighter. She added that, while preparing for the role, she thought of women fighting against ISIS in Rojava.

“The character of Şilan is my first professional experience in cinema. But while I was preparing for this role, I thought of the resistance fighters in Rojava. My dream is to one day play a female fighter in a movie about YPJ guerrillas.”

Cinema worker Suat Usta was among those who came from South Kurdistan to attend the film festival.

Suat Usta is remembered for playing Mehmet Hayri Durmuş, one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Freedom Struggle in the Amed prison resistance. He played Durmuş in the film "14 July". At this year’s festival he will present the film "Biranînên Li Ser Kevir" (Memories written in stone).

Suat Usta said that the role that impressed him the most was indeed that of Mehmet Hayri Durmuş.

Mustafa Altıoklar, Şevket Amin Korki, Leyla Toprak, Hayko Bağdat, Barış Seyitvan, Elif Yiğit, Miraz Bezar, Gül Ertunan Karaaslan among other attended the festival gala.


The Kurdish Film Festival Berlin was founded in 2002 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. Over the years, the cultural event has established itself in the Berlin festival scene and is now known not only in the Kurdish communities, but also among Berlin cinema lovers and the general public.