Rojava Film Commune


We are honoured to be working with the Rojava Film Commune to share four of their films and to facilitate a conversation about their inspiring and vital work.




ROJAVA FILM COMMUNE is a collective of filmmakers founded in 2015, based in the autonomous region of `Rojava` in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. The commune is actively working in the region to rebuild and reorganise the infrastructures of filmmaking and film education. In the last years, it has educated a new generation of Rojava filmmakers, organized screenings in cities and villages and produced films. The Commune works to represent the values and ideals of the Rojava Revolution, but also to mediate and depict the daily struggles in the Syrian civil war and Rojava’s collective attempt to build a new society.


We will be sharing four films which will be available online over the week of the 17th of May. We are honoured to be joined by members of the filmmaking community on Thursday May 20th at 7pm. This extraordinary event will be facilitated by Side Cinema curator, Dawn Felicia Knox and Christo Wallers, co-founder of Star and Shadow Cinema.



LONELY TREES / Darên bi tenê

(Shero Hinde, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, 2017, 43m)

“Our lives cannot be explained with books, only with songs” (Abdullah Öcalan).

As the dominant history of the Kurdish people has been written by the states that oppressed them, traditional Kurdish folk songs have been a tool, a way to resist oppression and to preserve their history, passing it on to future generations. Through beautiful pictures of landscapes and people, this film connects a new of form of cinematic storytelling with that of Dengbêj – the heritage of singers, poets and storytellers of the region.


STORIES OF DESTROYED CITIES/ Çiroka bajarên wêranbûyî 

(Shero Hinde, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, 2016, 77m)

Sinjar, Kobanî and Jazaa are three towns that display the most destructive impact of modern war. The first feature shot in their own language by the Rojava Film Commune, this film sets out blending fictional filmmaking with testimonies of those who experienced the trauma of war directly, seeking to collaboratively transform their tragedies into a determination to leave a better Rojava for generations to come.



(Sevinaz Evdike, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, 2018, 9m40)

The first short shot in the city of Raqqa, former capital of the Islamic State in Syria, after it was liberated. While society tries to cope with the consequences of war, a small girl finds a peculiar way to survive amidst the ruins.



(Hogir Qolan, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, 2016, 40m)

Building a film culture from the ground up, one of the first objectives of the Rojava Film Commune was to start a film school – the Rojava Film Academy. This documentary offers a window onto the collaborative process of the collective as they train 12 young people in all areas of filmmaking while keeping firmly aligned to the democratic principles of the revolution.


COLLECTIVE NOW film season is supported by Film Hub North, Arts Council England and Community Foundation.

Thu 20 May 2021 -

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