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Culture & Art

Top works awarded at Duhok International Film Festival’s closing night

By Rudaw 18/9/2017
Hakar Abdulqader receives the Duhok Governorate Award for his feature-length documentary film 'Havibon/Separation.' Photos: DIFF/Rudaw
Hakar Abdulqader receives the Duhok Governorate Award for his feature-length documentary film 'Havibon/Separation.' Photos: DIFF/Rudaw
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – The film ‘Havibon’ about the Yezidi genocide in 2017 won two awards in Kurdish cinema at the fifth Duhok International Film Festival (DIFF), which wrapped up on Saturday evening with a red carpet closing ceremony.

The fifth Duhok International Film Festival showcased 131 films with connections to more than 50 countries over an eight-day period.

Havibon, ‘Separation’ in English, won two awards: the Duhok Governorate Award for Best Feature-Length Film made in the Bahdinan Region and the Special Mention prize of the Jury for Kurdish documentary films.


Separation was produced by Hakar Abdulqader and directed by Shamal Sabri.

The takes place in Sinjar in Iraq as it is controlled by ISIS. After fleeing their town, thousands of Yazidi Kurds suffer the shortage of supplies on Sinjar Mountain. Three men helplessly leave to seek sustenance for their families, unaware of the safe passage recently opened to Kurdistan.


The story traces the separation of the men from their loved ones who, having reached the refugee camp, remain anxiously awaiting news of their men, while learning to adapt to a new life.


Hakar Abdulqader director of (Havibon/Separation), shows off the  the Duhok Governorate award for best feature-length film made in the Bahdinan region and winner of the Special Mention prize of the Jury for Kurdish documentary films.


The most prestigious award, the Yilmaz Guney Award for Best World Cinema went to the Swedish film 'Sami Blood' by Amanda Kernell about the Sami people [known in English as the Lapps or Laplanders], the only indigenous people in Scandinavia and the discrimination they faced in the 1930’s such as not being allowed to speak the Sami language in Swedish schools.

Although Kernell was not present at the festival, Freddy Olsson, the producer and programmer for the Göteborg Film Festival, accepted the award on her behalf.

The Kurdistan Writers Union Award for Best Kurdish Diaspora Film was ‘Blue Silence’ by Bulent Ozturk.

It takes place as Hakan is recovering in a military hospital with the help of a nurse named Ayla. Rewarded with a medal, Hakan is discharged. His quest for lost daughters, Melis and Sinan, with whom he served before, confronts him with his nightmares. Whether these encounters will help Hakan to get a grip on his past remains a crucial point.”

The Golden Leaf Award for Best Kurdish Documentary went to ‘Radio Kobani’ by Reber Dasky. It follows Dilovan, a 20-year-old Kurdish woman who sets up a radio station in the devastated town of Kobani, Syria during the liberation fight against ISIS. 

Freddy Olsson, receiving the Yilmaz Guney award on behalf of Amanda Kernell for the film (Sami Blood).

Dilovan interviews survivors, returning refugees, fighters and poets to bring a sense of belonging to the broken-hearted listeners who need to rebuild the city and their future.

The golden leaf was also the logo for the international film festival. It represents the fall season in Duhok as well as the 140 varieties of grapes available in the area during this season.

‘Beyond Dreams’ by Rojda Sekersoz won the Golden Leaf Award for Best Kurdish Cinema Film. It follows the story of Mirja who must find her place after serving jail time and finds a job as a hotel cleaner. She leads a double life as she is torn between her sick mother and an old family friend.

The Golden Leaf Award for Best Kurdish Short Film went to Alan by Mostafa Gandomkar. Alan is a film that portrays Syrian and Kurdish refugees’ hopes and happiness before their dispersion behind European borders indicating that all refugees in the Middle East once had their own homes and dreams prior to the wars that forced them to flee.



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