New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival Press Release for Online Edition

New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival is very pleased to feature this year’s online edition in collaboration with e-flux. NYKFCF just wrapped its fifth edition at New York’s landmark movie theater Village East by Angelika, featuring a program of long and short film screenings, live music performance, and book talks.

Iran (IMNA) - The New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival’s online edition is part of e-flux Video & Film’s ongoing series Festival Forum. The programmers of New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival 2021 present twelve picks from the festival for e-flux audiences ranging from shorts and features to documentary, fiction, and animation from various regions of Kurdistan accross borders, accompanied by a recorded conversation between the festival’s founder and director Xeyal Qertel and e-flux’s Lukas Brasiskis.

With films by Sajad Ahmadbeigi, Hadi Ahmadi, Veysî Altay, Evin Berazi, Amir Gholami, Çiğdem Mazlum and Sertaç Yıldız, Sarkot Nikdel, Maryam Samadi, Mohammed Sherwani, and Shoresh Vakili, streaming on e-flux Video & Film for two weeks from Thursday, October 7 through Thursday, October 21, 2021.

The festival is free of charge and can be watched around the globe. Here is the link:


Sajad Ahmadbeigi, Bavani, 2018, 28 minutes

In the villages of East Kurdistan, a wedding is soon approaching. Bavani captures the entire family preparing a gift in celebration.

Hadi Ahmadi, Dada Saltaneh, 2017, 25 minutes

Dada Saltana has had a keen interest in cinema since childhood. She tries to achieve her goals, but her circumstances are stacked against her. Despite the odds, Dada Sultana does not give up.

Veysî Altay, Nû Jîn (New Life), 2017, 46 minutes

“Woman is life, life is resistance, and resistance is Kobane.” Nû Jîn (New Life) documents the ISIS assault of September 15, 2014 on Kobane and the five-month resistance by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and People’s Defense Units (YPG), depicted through the lens and daily lives of three Kurdish women guerrilla fighters—Elif Kobanê, Vîyan Peyman, and Arjîn.

Evin Berazi, Starting Over, 2016, 4 minutes

A picture of a despot symbolizes all dictators. Such an oblique image depicts the corruption of power until someone comes into the picture to fix it.

Amir Gholami, The Sea Swells, 2018
Rojhilat, East Kurdistan, 16 minutes

A fisherman lives a seemingly simple life in a shack in the middle of the ocean. However, the line between nightmare and reality blurs when the man is bombarded with the sights and sounds of battle. To find a measure of peace, the man begins making coffins for the war dead in this award-winning, surreal film.

Amir Gholami, The World’s Last House, 2019, 15 minutes

In this bitter comedy an old man, answering people’s letters and solving their problems in an isolated village in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province, is facing the weirdest challenge of his life—an intrusive guest with three bullets in his gun.

Çiğdem Mazlum and Sertaç Yıldız, Sender: İlhan Sami Çomak, 2017, 68 minutes

Imprisoned since 1994, Kurdish poet İlhan Sami Çomak is one of Turkey’s longest-serving political prisoners. This documentary highlights his quest for justice and freedom, told through Çomak’s own poems.

Sarkot Nikdel, Songs of the Era, 2017/2018, 19 minutes

Songs of the Era documents Kurdish musicians working hard to revive a Kurdish music style that has lost its popularity, and is not practiced widely anymore.

Maryam Samadi, Karnika, 2020, 13 minutes

A beekeeper decides to move north with his wife at the end of the summer. Their children want to send their mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, to a nursing home but the beekeeper cannot cope with this idea.

Maryam Samadi, The Summer of the Swans, 2017, 14 minutes

Some boys see swans near a pond, and tell their disabled friend Rasoul about it. Rasoul believes that the story of birds that his grandmother has told him so many times will heal him. He then decides to go along with his friends to the pond.

Mohammed Sherwani, I Will Wait, 2017, 11 minutes

I Will Wait tells the story of single mother and widow named Sohaila, whose husband, a Peshmerga fighter, was martyred in the war against ISIS. She leads a difficult life alone with her baby daughter in a flat, and tries to get her neighbors to look after her daughter while she earns a living working at a restaurant.

Shoresh Vakili, Pel’e (Stain), 2020, 12 minutes

An old man is haunted at a movie theater where he works as a janitor. He mops and cleans, but cannot get rid of a stain.

Xeyal Qertel in conversation with Lukas Brasiskis
Recorded video discussion, 27 minutes

The New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival held its fifth edition this past September 10–12, 2021 at New York’s landmark movie theater, Village East by Angelika, featuring a program of long and short film screenings, live music performance, and book talks, and focusing on Kurdish women and their contributions to human rights discourse, feminism, literature, and egalitarian social organizing.

In this recoded interview, the festival’s founder Xeyal Qertel discusses this year’s edition with e-flux’s Lukas Brasiskis, including the context of the festival and its development over the years, the themes behind this year’s programming, and the films she and her colleagues picked for e-flux audiences.

Watch the interview here:

About New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival
The New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival was established in 2017 to provide a safe space for Kurds in the diaspora to reclaim and celebrate their cinema, poetry, literature, and music—and to introduce non-Kurds to the rich breadth of Kurdish culture and art. As the largest ethnic group of people without a state of their own, forty million or so Kurds have little, if any, representation in the global media. Even today, Kurdish language, outfit, color, and traditions are prone to persecution, imprisonment, and violence. The festival’s goal is to fill this void in representation through screenings, performances, and talks, and to honor Kurdish history and give voice to untold stories, whilst showcasing Kurdish culture as a tool for emancipation and self-expression. The New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival is held over three days every fall. In the five years since its founding, the festival has had hundreds of particpants and grown to become one of the most renowned Kurdish festivals in the United States amongst Kurdish-American and non-Kurdish audiences alike, with people travelling from all across the country to take part in addition to the New York audience. As the festival grows each year, so does Kurdish unity. Along with its annual celebration, today the New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival also offers monthly film screenings; free classes including English language classes for Kurds, Kurdish language classes, and traditional Kurdish folkloric dance classes for kids; and collaborations between Kurdish and American grassroots organizations aimed at fostering democracy and an equitable society.

New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival Press Release for Online Edition

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