Festival Forum

New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival 2021

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. 

The New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival held its fifth edition this past September at New York’s landmark movie theater, Village East by Angelika. For this special feature on e-flux Video & Film, the festival’s programmers 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 AhmadiVeysî AltayEvin Berazi, Amir GholamiÇiğdem Mazlum and Sertaç YıldızSarkot NikdelMaryam Samadi, Mohammed Sherwani, and Shoresh Vakili

Streaming on e-flux Video & Film for two weeks from Thursday, October 7 through Thursday, October 21, 2021

This program is part of the series Festival Forum on e-flux Video & Film, presenting collabrations with established and emerging moving-image festivals from around the world.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Documentary, Fiction, Animation & Cartoons, Middle East
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