Kobane Film Festival

In the 60s there were many cinemas throughout Northern Syria. But during 40 years of policy denying the existence of Kurds all cinemas were closed down.

In 2015, four years into the Syrian Civil War, the autonomous northern region of Rojava saw its first “Rojava Film Days”. For a week, films from all around the region and the world, such as Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid”, were screened in the six main cities of Northern Syria. 

From 2016 onwards our cinema travelled throughout Rojava’s villages in order to give a greater access to film to people without resources and in isolated areas. More than 300 films were screened in the context of the program: “ Cinema is in your neighborhood”.

We are proud to announce the opening of the KIFF (Kobane
International Film Festival) for the first time in the renowned city
of Kobane.


A small city in northern Syria, whose great name have been
carved in history for its resistance against IS (Islamic State).
3 years after it’s liberation, the Festival will have it’s main venue
there so that the memory of it’s resistance and the thousands
incredible stories it carries, can continue to resonate in the
minds of its inhabitant and abroad.


To enhance dialogue, synergy and community across the city
and global networks, the festival will open interactive spaces
with workshops, panels and screenings where local realities
and experiences from around the world can be shared,
allowing for a real hub of cinephile and creative thinkers to
emerge.


We aspire to support the transformation of Kobane from a city besieged by IS into the main siege of a celebration of life and culture.
Through the many activities taking place during the festival, we aim to give a push for creative projects to flourish all along the year.
With the support of Komina film a Rojava (Rojava’s cinema organisation), we aim to create a growing access to knowledge, skills, and opportunities for the local actors to fulfil their dreams and reach their potential. Througout the year we will continue to build a sustainable base for training, experimenting and networking.
The population of Rojava and particularly the youth have a tremendous will to emancipate their own community from the present hardship.


Everyone Everyone of them wants to participate in their own way in this unique process. However the unstable politico-military situation and the lack of resources are holding them back from creating and developing projects over the years.


In this context, we are establishing a recurrent annual event to promote their participation in a collective project and stimulate their creativity. The youth of Rojava will take part from this year on in the organisation of the spaces and workshops as well as in the media coverage of the festival and wider communication with the population of Rojava. Working in collaboration with the local youth movements is also a way for us to engage them further in the cultural field.

This lively celebration of arts and cinema will take place around the themes of resistance, women and cultural sovereignty. Through the panels and workshops we aim to explore new ways of understanding cinema and its role in the context of Rojava and abroad.


In order to introduce the audience to the diversity of this art and
participate in growing a visual artistic sense, we are screening a rich selection of movies from around the world alongside films from regional film makers.


To enhance the bonds between Rojava and the world we are inviting
for the first year many guests from diverse countries to come and meet directly with the audience. This will give the opportunity for Rojava’s population and professional film makers to exchange their perception.


The public will also find there a leisure space in which they can get in touch with their creative self, and develop their critical thinking away from the harshness of war zone reality.

Kobanê International Film Festival kicks off today

The Festival will run until 19 November and will present a selection of some 80 films from all over the world. Everything is set for the opening, today, of the Kobanê International Film Festival.

The Festival will end on 19 November and it promises to present a very rich and wide selections of long and short features, animation, documentaries from all over the world.

The Festival will pay a special tribute to the 58th anniversary of the massacre of the Amûdê cinema fire, in which 283 primary school children (of the 500 who attended the screening) lost their life.

International dimension

A passionate and committed group of young people have been working hard to ensure this year festival will see the participation of international film makers as well as local ones.

Three years after the liberation of Kobane, the KIFF has established its headquarters there so that the memory of it’s resistance and the thousands incredible stories it carries, can continue to resonate in the minds of its inhabitant and abroad.

The selection committee have been busy in the last three weeks choosing the around 80 films to shown at the festival, selected among the over 600 entries received.

The organisers said: “In order to introduce the audience to the diversity of this art and participate in growing a visual artistic sense, we are screening a rich selection of movies from around the world alongside films from regional film makers”

To enhance the bonds between Rojava and the world we are inviting for the first year many guests from diverse countries to come and meet directly with the audience.”

This will give the opportunity for Rojava’s population and professional film makers to exchange their perception.

The public will also find there a leisure space in which they can get in touch with their creative self, and develop their critical thinking away from the harshness of war zone reality.

“To enhance dialogue, synergy and community across the city and global networks, – said the organisers – the festival will open interactive spaces with workshops, panels and screenings where local realities and experiences from around the world can be shared, allowing for a real hub of cinephile and creative thinkers to emerge”.

This lively celebration of arts and cinema will take place around the themes of resistance, women and cultural sovereignty.

This year, the competition will be open for short films (open thematic) and long feature documentaries about “resistance”.

A special section will be dedicated to the screenings of films from women film makers and/or about subjects related to women, as well as workshops and panels.

Tribute to Afrin resistance

A special programme will be presented dedicated to the resistance of Afrin. Films made by directors from Afrin will be screened and there will be discussions with the directors during the festival.

Through panels and workshops the organisers aim to explore new ways of understanding cinema and its role in the context of Rojava and abroad.

Kobanê

Kobane first came into the spotlight end 2014 as an emblem of the resistance, when it’s population fought and defeated Isis (Islamic State). From September 2014, starts of attack from IS, to the 26 January 2015, date where IS were officially defeated, many people joined the call from the YPG (people’s protection unit) and YPJ (Women protection units) forces to defend their city. Their commitment and faith even in the darkest hours still inspire a great feeling of dignity and collective bond within the Kurdish community.

However, the almost complete destruction of the city and the painful legacy of IS massacres also left vivid scars that requires a long healing process. Far from being prostrated, the people of Kobane started right away to rebuild their city to the point that today it shines more than ever before.