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Prime Minister Barzani’s speech at Duhok International Film Festival

SAT, 20 OCT 2018 21:53 | KRG Cabinet

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – At the opening ceremony of the sixth Duhok International Film Festival, Kurdistan Regional Government Spokesperson, Safeen Dizayee, delivered Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s speech.

Below is the text of the speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening,

I would like to welcome you all, and I hope you will enjoy a successful festival in the city of Duhok.

I sincerely hoped to be here with you today to participate in this event and meet you all; unfortunately, due to other pressing commitments, I could not.

I wish all the success for the festival and everyone present here today. I hope that the Duhok International Film Festival would become a step forward to developing the Kurdish cinema and the cinema industry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and it would help build stronger relations between filmmakers from the Kurdistan Region and the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to see that you managed to hold the sixth Duhok International Film Festival despite the fight against terror and financial crisis. I warmly welcome everyone here from the cinema industry, be it from Kurdistan or overseas. We are proud that the Duhok International Film Festival has become one of the distinguished film festivals in the Middle East.

As the latest movies of Kurdish filmmakers in the Kurdistan and diaspora, as well as the latest movies from around the world will be shown in this festival, we are delighted that the festival will present its Best Film Award under the name of the symbolic Kurdish filmmaker, the late Yilmaz Guney.

The city of Duhok is not only known for its festival, but it is also known for films at the international level. This festival works as a gateway for the Kurdistan Region, for which it has received international awards. In addition, the Ministry of Culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government, through the Directorate of Cinema Arts in Duhok, has been able, in collaboration with Norway, Germany, and France, to produce films of Kurdish filmmakers. In virtue of those films, the Duhok International Film Festival was able to represent Iraq in the Asia Pacific Film Festival (APSA).

We are also pleased that this year, for the first time, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) has collaborated with this festival. Their award will be presented. We warmly welcome their judges to the Kurdistan Region.

As the Kurdistan Regional Government, we regard the development of a contemporary cinema industry and establishment of national institutes for cinema as very necessary for setting a new pathway for the Kurdish cinema, and it can become a cultural foundation so that our cinema sector will embark on a prosperous future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The KRG highly values the importance of the cinema industry. Prior to the start of challenges and crises in 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government, on many occasions, has supported Kurdish filmmakers to produce films. Unfortunately, after 2014 we faced a very difficult situation, hence we were not able to support such projects as necessary.

You know very well, the cease of Kurdistan’s share of federal budget, the imposed war by the largest terrorist organization in the world ISIS, the ensued influx of nearly two million refugees and internally displaced persons to the Kurdistan Region and the fall of oil prices have all become major challenges for the Kurdistan Regional Government. I think there is no other government in the world that could withstand all these difficulties. 

With the perseverance of our Peshmerga heroes, local security forces and the resilience of the people of Kurdistan, we were able to withstand all these challenges. Once again, we will start moving forward. We will look to reconstructing and developing the Kurdistan Region in all sectors, and, surely, the fields of culture and arts will be the fields that we look to give a substantial importance.

We know the important role cinema plays in the world, and we know that the history of Kurdistan is filled with suitable materials for making great movies, as there are so many stories and anecdotes that could become topics for many cinema products that could be successful around the world.

Not only the stories and anecdotes of our culture, the epic revolutions of our people in pursuit of freedom, the gallantry of Peshmergas and the love stories in the Kurdish literature can all be good products for the cinema world, but also the geographical location and the nature of the Kurdistan Region give it the potential to become a prime location for many films.

Besides, the passion of Kurdish filmmakers for their profession, their dedication, and vision for developing Kurdish cinema are other factors that give us hope for a brighter future for the cinema in the Kurdistan Region, as they further encourage us to support the progress and development of cinema activities in the Kurdistan Region.

I would like to reassure you that the next stage ahead for us will be the stage of evolving the state of culture and arts in the Kurdistan Region. The KRG will strive, at its best capacity, to eliminate the shortcoming that faced us during the past four years.

The difficult period that we went through during the past four years has had an adverse effect not only on culture and arts but in all sectors. We will do our best to gradually remove such adverse effects and move forward.

When it comes to supporting the field of cinema, we will need your input in form of meetings, programs, and projects. We look forward to receiving your insights, suggestions, and projects for bringing together a program that supports cinematic activities in the Kurdistan Region.

You can submit all your valuable insight and suggestions to the Ministry of Culture and other arts and relevant institutions in the Kurdistan Region. We would like to encourage the private sector to have an active role in supporting the cinema in the Region. We hope and work to establish a strong cinema sector in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

I would like to welcome you all again. I wish all the success for this festival. For the next few days, I hope you will enjoy your stay in the beautiful city of Duhok. Again, I welcome all the guests including foreign and Kurdish filmmakers.

I hope this Duhok International Film Festival will facilitate the collaboration between the Kurdish and international filmmakers, and I hope it will result in shared works of Kurdish and international filmmakers to be shown in renowned cinema theatres in the world.

In the end, I would like to commend the organizers of this festival. I reassure them that we will continue to support the Duhok International Film Festival, just as we have been supporting the Slemani International Film Festival, which was held on the 10th of this month and many other cultural and artistic activities.

Thank you.