Duhok International Film Festival Unveils Cinematic Diversity and Audience Preferences in its Tenth Edition
In the bustling tenth edition of the Duhok International Film Festival, the dynamic interplay between an extensive film selection and audience preferences has taken center stage. With a total of 116 films, spanning narratives, documentaries, and shorts, predicting the audience's inclinations proves to be a challenging endeavor.
Despite the multitude of options, a clear trend has emerged, with the majority of festival-goers showing a strong affinity for Kurdish films, particularly those of a shorter and documentary nature. This inclination is underscored by the festival's overarching theme: "Mother Language: Kurdish." Remarkably, the films on display span over 16 languages, encompassing Arabic, German, Russian, Turkish, Persian, and English.
The festival venues, including the cinema halls at Duhok Mall and the conference facility at Duhok University, have witnessed a diverse turnout. Some screenings draw sizable crowds, while others, such as the Ukrainian film "Sashinka," directed by Oleksandr Hovna, experienced a more intimate audience with only three attendees, including the reporter.
An outstanding documentary that captured significant attention is "Anxious in Beirut," a 93-minute cinematic journey by director Zakaria Jaber. Recently awarded the prestigious Golden Goblet at the Shanghai International Film Festival, the film skillfully navigates personal memoirs, documenting Lebanon's tumultuous past two years, encompassing the revolution, post-war period, Beirut port explosion, protests, and clashes.
A noteworthy German production, "In the Blind Spot" (I'm toten Winkel), directed by Ayshea Polat, running for 123 minutes and produced in 2023, explores a labyrinthine network of conspiracies and generational shocks within a Turkish-Kurdish-German context.
While the Ukrainian film "Sashinka" may not have attracted a large audience, its suspenseful narrative revolving around a double murder and the mysterious past of a Soviet countryside family during the Brezhnev era has earned critical acclaim.
As a special screening, the American film "The Killing Floor," directed by Bill Duke in 1984, sheds light on the challenges faced by racially diverse workers in the meatpacking industry in the years leading up to the Chicago race riots of 1919.
In summary, the Duhok International Film Festival not only celebrates cinematic diversity but also reflects the festival-goers' varied tastes. The Kurdish film preference prevails, showcasing the festival's commitment to cultural representation while embracing a global cinematic landscape. The festival's clever programming, offering alternative screenings, ensures that film enthusiasts can enjoy a rich cinematic experience in Duhok.