''The aim is to let the Italian public know about the 1000-year-old Kurdish culture and philosophy and to strengthen ties between refugees and the national territory,'' festival creative director Hevi Dilara told reporters at a press conference. ''It's a cinema of suffering, with little comedy.'' The films focus on fundamental rights and gender equality, freedom of thought and expression, an identity and a culture denied. The festival also includes readings and other events on the role of women in Kurdish culture, on the classical and lyrical Kurdish musical tradition, and on Italian historian Mirella Galletti, who first wrote about the Kurdish plight.
The festival opens at the Nuovo Cinema Aquila on January 16 with a seminar on Kurdish cinema and a screening of 'Voice of my Father', by Zeynel Dogan. The first Kurdish film ever made, 'Zare', shot in Armenia in 1926, screens in a parallel event Monday night at Rome's historic Teatro Valle, which has been occupied by artists since June 2011.
Organized by the Europa Levante Association with support from the Lazio region and Rome province, the festival features films from Belgium, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK. It also is a way to express solidarity with the Kurdish community following the recent assassination of three Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) activists in Paris, Europa Levante Association President Arturo Salerni said.