Amsterdam – Radio Kobani is an investigative film by lauded Kurdish filmmaker Reber Dosky. On Wednesday, it won the Award for Best Documentary at the International Documentary Festival – Amsterdam (IDFA).
The movie follows a young female reporter, Dilovan Kiko, as she starts a radio station in Kobani city. Dilovan and her close friend Biter report about the lives of refugees, speak with survivors and interview fighters and musicians in the war-torn city.
The Islamic State (ISIS) besieged Kobani in September 2014. According to Idriss Nassan, a self-administration spokesman, about 70% of the city was destroyed or otherwise rendered uninhabitable. Radio Kobani shows the gradual return of life and the city-wide rebuilding process.
Reber Dosky told ARA News that he feels a close affinity to the residents of Kobani. “Kobani made me feel at home, and this is true for many Kurds: Kobani united them and made the impossible possible,” he said.
The documentarian previously traveled to the Kobani when ISIS was in control of most of the city. There, at great personal risk, he shot another documentary film, Sniper of Kobani. Dosky returned to the city this year to shoot more footage.
“Dilovan has become the voice of many Kurds and I tried to share the drama of the Kurds with the world through her,” Dosky explained.
The filmmaker told ARA News that he had not expected to win the prize. “The competition this year was too big with well-known documentary makers. Therefore I was surprised,” he said.
Reber Dosky was not the only Kurdish filmmaker honored at the IDFA. Zaradasht Ahmed received the Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary and €12,500 for his film, entitled Nowhere to Hide.
Ahmed’s film chronicles the life of a nurse who is forced to flee his hometown, Jawala, after it is conquered by the Islamic State. “The director gave us an unprecedented window into the real life-lasting consequences of war,” the jury said.
Both Kobani and Jalawla have since been retaken by US-backed Kurdish forces. The People’s Protection Units and the Kurdish Peshmerga continue to safeguard them from the Islamic State.
“There are those films which are wonderful to see and there are films that the world needs to see,” the jury said. “The film we choose combines both features. The experience was immersive and left us deeply touched.”
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