According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) data, the Kırmancki (Zazaki) dialect is included in a list of languages facing extinction.
Two directors have come together to ensure the Kırmancki dialect is handed down to the next generation by making a feature-length documentary film called Dersim’s Artists Behind the Klams (a klam is a Kurdish traditional song form).
Directed by Özkan Ulucan and Sevim Kahraman, the documentary will include cultural, social and political incidents from around Dersim, and will continue for four seasons. Artists from Dersim, İstanbul and Europe will take part in the documentary.
Preventing the extinction of the language
Recalling that Kırmancki was among the languages that faced extinction, Ulucan said the documentary would aim to combine their native language with the language of the art.
“This work will be expressed in the language of Kırmancki”, said Ulucan. “From klams to tales, migrations to belief, nature to culture, bards to today’s musicians, the Kırmancki language will come together with the language of art. We will try to tell people what they are they losing with the help of visuals and the sound of the language”.
Mourning, hope, trauma
Ulucan went on to discuss the themes of the documentary. “During the last century there have been the displacement of different ethnicities, the besieging of a society alongside its lands, wars, migrations, exiles, evacuations of villages, longing for the land, mourning, hope, hopelessness, trauma, fighting to survive — all will be told through the works of artists in this documentary”.
Ulucan said, “We have been preparing this documentary’s screenplay for over a year. We set off on a mission to reveal what we can we do for a language on the verge of extinction. We kept an eye out for klams, and examples of oral history. The music and the storytelling will take us on a journey through wars, migrations, evacuation of villages, love and longing”.
Ulucan also said the filmmaking team is open to support from associations, organisations, foundations and businesses.