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Kurdish Director Shines At Berlin Film Festival

A poster of different scenes from Yusef's most recent film Trattoria.


BERLIN – The movie “Trattoria” tells the story of a teenage girl whose father is involved with the mafia. The girl wants her father to distance himself from the criminals, but circumstances don’t allow him to.

The director of this tragicomedy is Soleen Yusef, a Kurd from Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Yusef has been living in Germany since she was 9 years old.

Yusef, whose previous film “Nosh” was also a success, said she’s planning to make a film in the Kurdistan Region next year.

Now 24, Yusef is a graduate of the Cinema Academy in Wurttemberg, Germany.

“Trattoria” was screened at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival. Yusef told Rudaw that she wrote the script in 2010 and, after asking several TV stations for funding, finally received support for her project from a German TV company.

Yusef said that she was pleasantly surprised her movie was chosen to be shown at the Berlin festival.

“We are very proud that we have been able to take this huge step and get to know other filmmakers, and through the festival we will be able to make other projects with German channels,” she said.

A film by another Kurdish director, Umed Dagh, was shown among many international films at the Berlin Film Festival.

“I was so happy another Kurdish director was participating in the festival and that his film was being shown,” Yusef said.

Yusef told Rudaw she hopes to fulfill her childhood dreams through filmmaking.

“I want to do those things in my films that I couldn’t do in real life,” she said. “When I was a child, I loved drawing and wanted to become a famous painter and I tried, but I couldn’t do it. Then I turned to fashion and that didn’t work out either. So I turned to filmmaking and I’m currently traveling around the world so that I can improve my standard, because cinema is an international art and it doesn’t have borders.”