We are honored to welcome very special and brave guests from the Rojava Film Commune to give the 29th Freedom Lecture. Through their filmmaking they influence public opinion on the Kurdish struggle. During this evening they share their story on filmmaking, Kurdish politics and the meaning of freedom. By showing clips from their films Stories of Destroyed Cities and The End Will Be Spectacular, the filmmakers show how powerful film can be in their political struggle.

The Rojava Film Commune emerged from the Rojava Revolution, a conflict that established the autonomous region Kurdistan, and aims to contribute to the development of the revolution both by narrating the history of the struggle and the possibilities it has opened for the present and future.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, and since the recent withdrawal of the American army and the invasion of Turkey in Northern Syria (Rojava – the Kurdish name for the autonomous region of Northern Syria), the situation in the region has been very tense. The Rojava Film Commune keep continuing their work in these circumstances.

Photo: Filmmaker and teacher Khwshman Qado leads a teaching session at the Rojava film Commune in Derbisiye, Cezîre Canton, in the autonomous region of Rojava, 2015. Photo: Ruben Hamelink.

Speakers

Şêro Hindê, Sêvînaz EvdikêErsin Çelik, Diyar Hesso and Mahmud Berazi are the founders of the Rojava Film Commune.

Renée van der Maur was from 2012 until 2018 programme developer at the artistic and political organization New World Summit, founded by artist Jonas Staal. She visited the autonomous region of Kurdistan three times, where she collected interviews with the leaders. Currently she is supporting a range of civil organizations in Rojava.

Kawa Nemir is a Kurdish poet, story writer, translator and editor born in Iğdır. Kawa studied English language and literature at Hacettepe University in Ankara and at the University of Istanbul.

the freedom lecture

Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands often take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighter like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats, internet activist Esra’a Al Shafei from Bahrain and Patrisse Cullors & Janaya Khan from the Black Lives Matter-movement.

The Freedom Lecture is made possible by Stichting Democratie en Media en vfonds.