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Director defends film after 3 protesters arrested at screening in Duhok

By Rudaw 9/9/2016
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Director defends film after 3 protesters arrested at screening in Duhok
Audience members objected to the portrayal of the Yezidi community in the film. Photo: Rudaw video
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region—The director of The Dark Wind, Reşeba in Kurdish, has defended his film, the screening of which was interrupted by protests at the Duhok International Film Festival on Friday.
 
Audience members objected to the portrayal of the Yezidi community in the film, a love story set during the Islamic State seizure of Sinjar.
 
Duhok police have arrested three people after protests broke out during the screening of the film.
 
Karim Sleman, adviser to the Spiritual Council of the Yezidis and a member of the cultural center of Lalish, told Rudaw, “If the film continues screening as it is, it is better not to screen it at all. This way it will serve the interests of the Yezidis better. If the film continues, then we will discuss it with the Spiritual Council of the Yezidis and will declare our stance.”

Hussein Hassen, the director of the film, said, “Some people who had not seen the film, and based only on seeing the trailer, started protesting. They did not wait to see the actual story.”
 
In the film, a young Yezidi woman is taken captive by ISIS shortly after celebrating her engagement. Though she escapes the terrorist group and returns, the family of her fiancé has problems accepting her, broken after the horrors she suffered.
 
The last scene of the trailer depicts her fiancé’s father pointing a gun at her.
 
In consultations with the Yezidi community during filming and after pre-screenings, Hassan was asked to make changes to the portrayal of how the leading woman in the film was treated by her family and community.
 
Hassan did not make the changes, telling Rudaw, “I directed the film for the people, not a group of people. They had criticism on some things. If these things had been changed, the film would have been spoiled.”

He added that he shares the pain of the Yezidi people. That is why he postponed another film he was working on so that he can work on Reşeba.
 
“I respect any decisions by the Yezidi Spiritual Council and the cultural center of Lalish. The film has been produced with their collaboration. They can talk to the ministry of culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the governorate of Duhok because the movie is theirs,” Hassan said.
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