The District of Serêkaniyê is part of the Canton of Jazira (located 48 km from Kobanê is the largest of the three cantons of Rojava and shares 280 kilometers of border with Turkey). The canton has a population of just under half a million people, it varies both ethnically and culturally: 52% of its inhabitants are Arabs, 42% Kurds while Aramaic reach 2.9%.
The Serêkaniyê District is made up of 279 villages populated mainly by Kurds, Arabs, Aramaics and Chechens (originating in the Caucasus). In 2010 it had a population of 55,000 people. The city of Serêkaniyê (in Arabic Ra’s al-‘Ain, in Aramaic, Res Ayna) was founded in the year 2000 before Christ, during the Mitani empire and currently, like Qamishlo, is divided in two by the border with Turkey.
Between January and July 2013 the city was occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra (Front al-Nusra) and units of the Free Syrian Army.
Syria and in particular the area of Rojava (today administratively called the Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria) continue to be in a situation of instability (and in many areas of war), despite the liberation of most parts of the country from the terrorism of the Islamic State.
In this context, slowly but with determination, the citizens of Rojava are rebuilding, despite a thousand difficulties, not only their cities from the physical point of view (let us remember that the Islamic State, the Al-Nusra Front and other groups destroyed houses but also schools, cultural centers, hospitals, cinemas, institutional buildings) but also from the social and psychological point of view, which is perhaps the most complex one because it involves a process of healing wounds that necessarily starts from the awareness that only through peaceful coexistence it will be possible to reconstruct the vitality and diversity (linguistic, cultural, ethnic) that is richness and not an obstacle (which leads to consider “the other” often defined in a confused way as someone to be eliminated in the name of an alleged purity to be reached) as instead the distorted ideology of the Islamic State has tried to impose.
Culture, cinema, books and music represent a fundamental tool for reconstructing a social fabric that is a mosaic of languages, cultures, ethnicities… In culture and cinema, in the story (oral, written, shared) we can therefore find a space of aggregation but also of elaboration of the tragedy that is war.
The cinema, the image therefore as a mean to heal wounds and rebuild on solid foundations that multicultural society that the peoples of Rajava are trying to “practice”.
The city of Serêkaniyê managed to free itself from the occupation of militiamen of the al-Nusra Front and units of the Free Syrian Army between January and July 2013.
The objective of the project is to help promote peaceful coexistence, culture and rebuild the historical memory of the city. Banos Film will be a gathering place where young and old will be able to tell their story through video, sharing stories in different languages, promoting coexistence and giving back to the Kurdish language its “legality”. A legality that had been denied by the Damascus government for decades. Today in Rojava the new institutions born within the Democratic Autonomy project promote coexistence through a practice that includes, among other things, teaching in the languages spoken in the area (Kurdish, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian).
The purpose of the BANOS project is therefore to offer a space where it is possible to find films, but also courses, workshops, support for initiatives to be carried out in schools, etc. In the BANOS premises people will be able to share stories, memories, which will serve to rebuild the historical memory of the city for a future of peaceful coexistence.
– To encourage the conditions for a recovery of cinematographic traditions linked to the Kurdish culture by promoting inter-generational exchange.
– Promote moments of aggregation for the young and less young people of Serêkaniyê where the cinema, the image represent a tool of “entertainment” and help in overcoming traumas;
– Favour the production of audiovisuals through cinema courses and workshops and the promotion of young directors of the city (and canton);
– Encourage exchange with the international community. The project creates ideal bridges between the Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria) and Italy.
The BANOS center will in fact have exchanges with some cinema realities that share the same spirit and objectives of BANOS and will organize joint events (screenings, workshops, cinema days…) to bring the experience of Serêkaniyê to Italy and the Italian experiences in Serêkaniyê.
Training of a group of 5 people within the Center that will facilitate the exchange and organization of the videolibrary, as well as the cataloging of videos and deal with the technical aspects related to the organization of the space.
The group will also take care of the promotion of the project in the Serêkaniyê schools to involve students of all levels and to participate both by offering, in the Banos premises, copies of the audiovisual materials in their possession and by participating in courses, workshops, screenings and other activities designed for the promotion of Banos Film.
Training of a group of 5 “story collectors” that will take care of the story collection activity, through the video recording of the stories, starting from the people going to Banos Film (should they wish to tell their story) in order to create also a video memory library in permanent development within the premises.
The training will last one month and will be managed by 2 members of the BANOS association. Story collectors may or may not belong to BANOS and / or to the workshops held in schools. The training includes the creation of ad hoc materials and related translations.
Organisation of workshops for students of all levels in Serêkaniyê. Banos Film will start with 3 schools (one elementary, one middle school and one high school) to then extend the experience to others.
The workshops will be held by BANOS members and will include: basic notions of cinema techniques; basic technical notions for the use of the camera, basic technical notions for the use of editing programs such as Final Cut and Adobe Premier.
The students will make a short film at the end of the workshops. The workshops will last 6 weeks and will be repeated every 3 months (for a total of 4 workshops) and will involve a number of students that is calculated in 10 per workshop (obviously the possibility of organizing others will depend on the success of the workshops).
Exchange between the Banos Film Association and other similar centers / associations in Italy and organization of events via Skype, such as educational conferences on the formation of “story collectors”, small practical courses on the use of story collection techniques but also technological tools (cameras, editing programs, etc.) if it is not possible to offer such courses locally.