Over the span of three days, hundreds of Washington DC area residents experienced the sights, tastes and sounds of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq at the "Contemporary Kurdish Film showcase" hosted by the Austrian Culture Forum in conjunction with the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation to the United States.
Local residents watched four award-winning Kurdish short and feature films, which were screened in the atrium of the Austrian Embassy throughout the month of January. Guests were also invited to enjoy sweet and savoury delicacies and popular music from the Kurdistan Region.
"We are delighted to have partnered with the Austrian Embassy to showcase Kurdish films in the United States, we look forward to continued cultural and educational partnerships with our colleagues in the diplomatic community" said Najat Abdullah, the director for Culture and Community affairs at the KRG Representation in the US.
The series launched on January 11 with the debut of the critically acclaimed film "Kick-Off," in which a soccer game is used to unite Kurdish, Arab and Turkish refugees during the era of Saddam Hussein. Fleeing the regime, refugees seek shelter in the stadium, but soon realise that only soccer can ease ethnic tensions.
The movies "Bekas" and "Bawke" described compelling journeys through the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. "Bekas" depicts two homeless children who dream of living with Superman in the United States, while "Bawke" displays the emotions of a father and son who struggle to leave a refugee camp for a better life. Both films earned numerous awards, including the 2011 Silver Medal for Foreign Student Film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for "Bekas."
"Winterland" - winner of multiple film awards in Europe and the United States -- was screened at the Austrian Embassy to an eager crowd. The film exposes Kurdish traditions through a comic twist in which a Kurdish man in Norway meets his arranged-marriage bride for the first time. Neither spouse lives up to the other's expectations.