by Mark Campbell
It is my great pleasure to welcome back to Medya News, Ferhan Sterk, the director of the 13th London Kurdish Film Festival which is heralding a very welcome and triumphant return to the physical big screens of London, after two years of online editions of this legendary and popular festival.
No matter how we enjoy watching our films online or on film streaming services I think everyone can agree that there it is no substitute to watching a film on the big screen, and especially at a film festival. The atmosphere, sounds, smells and interaction with people is incomparable. And this is especially true when it comes to the Kurdish Film Festival that has managed to survive the challenges of the last few years with the Covid pandemic and is back again after two years of online editions of the festival as a result of Covid restrictions.
So festival goers will again be able to enjoy Kurdish films and gather with friends and filmgoers in the physical world of cinema and share their views on the films they have watched and catch up on times lost with old friends since the pandemic.
The London Kurdish Film Festival was established in 2001 by a team of young filmmakers from Kurdistan who came together in London. It is the largest film festival of its kind, bringing together films from Kurdistan and the rest of the world to audiences in London.
The London Kurdish Film Festival is managed and produced by a small team of dedicated volunteers and has come such a long way since its birth and 12 successful editions, each year growing in size and significance.
The London Kurdish Film Festival, taken from it’s website, ‘…believes that cinema is a powerful and influential form of artistic expression and one which carries great importance especially for the Kurds, who have, like all oppressed nations, transformed cinema into a tool for emancipation and self-expression. The London Kurdish Film Festival provides a critical platform for Kurdish and non-Kurdish filmmakers to showcase films of any style, topic and genre that highlight the untold stories and experiences of Kurdish people around the world.’
The London Kurdish Film Festival also offers increased access and engagement with Kurdish films that might not otherwise be seen by UK audiences and in doing so, helps grow film audiences in the UK, raising the profile of Kurdish cinema across the UK and internationally.
It serves as a showcase event for Kurdish cinema, and strives to contribute to the growth and development of the Kurdish film industry by nurturing and rewarding exceptional Kurdish talent and cinema from the region, and around the world.
This year, from 23-30 September, LKFF will be presenting a pre-selected film programme in three different venues; The VUE cinema in Wood Green, north London, the Rio Cinema in Dalston, north London and the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square, central London and is offering a rich and diverse festival programme with 31 films, comprising of 15 feature fictions and 16 shorts films.
Ferhan Sterk described what the Kurdish Film Festival meant to the Kurdish community and talked about its aims. He described how difficult the last two years were and the negative and positive effects of conducting the film festival online for the last two years.
He highlighted the rich programme at this years festival describing many of the new films and which of the many directors would be attending the festival this year for Q&A sessions about their films.
He also gave details of the special events that will be organised as part of the festival, with the opening gala, a special music and dance event and of course the programme of films including the premiere of ‘Cîran’ (‘Neighbours’), a feature fiction film by multi- award winning director Mano Khalil, with also a premiere of the powerful ‘Imad’s Childhood’ by Zahavi Sanjavi and an evening of celebration of the life of a previous director of the film festival, Mehmet Aksoy, and finishing with a special Film Awards ceremony at a Leicester Square cinema venue.
I asked Ferhan if there will be a red carpet?
Please listen to the podcast for the whole interview.
The full programme and tickets, (best value is a week ticket covering the whole programme) for the 13th London Kurdish Film Festival will soon be available on their website: www.lkff.co.uk and also nearer the date, from the cinemas participating in the festival: The VUE Cinema in Woodgreen, The Rio Cinema in Dalston, and the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square.