The Kurdish filmmaker Rojda Şekersöz has announced that her next film project is “Thirty-three bullets”, inspired and named after a famous poem by Ahmet Arif. Arif’s poem, Professor Martin van Bruinessen notes, “refers to the summary execution by soldiers, in 1943, of thirty-two Kurdish villagers for alleged brigandage. A military court posthumously declared the villagers innocent. The first parliamentary questions about the incident were asked in 1948, and a more extensive debate took place in 1956. Beşikçi reconstructs the event and the public debate as it developed, showing the massacre to have been a consequence of political conditions and anti-Kurdish attitudes in the period of one-party dictatorship”.
Şekersöz states that moving to Alvdalen, a village of Sweden, changed her life. Her father opened a pizza store when she was a child and her passion for cinema grew since childhood.
Two films significantly inspired her. One was the 2000 British dance drama ‘Billy Elliot’. Set during the 1984–85 miners’ strike in the UK, the film focuses on the life of a working-class boy who discovers his passion for ballet despite facing objections from his father and having to overcome negative stereotypes associated with being a male ballet dancer.
The other was a film about Jews having to conceal their identity to survive. According to Şekersöz, both films dealt with class conflict and social issues. Şekersöz has similarly chosen to examine social conflicts and inequalities in society.
Şekersöz made her first film when she was 16 years old. Her first film focused on the daily life of a Kurdish family who migrated from Kurdistan to Sweden. She also had a major photo exhibition based on this theme.
She has since produced major feature films. One revealed the nature of collaboration between Sweden and Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Her acclaimed drama ‘Dröm vidare’ (‘Beyond dreams’) was nominated at Göteborg’s film festival Dragon awards for Best Movie. The Talent Group notes that “it later won the public’s choice for best film as well as the Angelos award. ‘Dröm vidare’ was awarded ‘Best Picture’ at the Norwegian film festival as well as the Duhok film festival. Rojda also won the prestigous Swedish film award ‘Guldbaggen’ for newcomer of the year 2017”.
Her second feature, ‘My life as a comedian’, was screened at the Toronto international film festival.
Şekersöz says that she considers herself “a part of Kurdish cinema” and expresses the hope that Kurdish cinema will become more professional.
She is currently working on the script for “Thirty-three bullets”.