Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Abstract: In what ways do Kurdish films circulate in Europe? How does a transnational public for a Kurdish documentary film come into being? I explore the ways in which Kurdish media producers, marginalized in mainstream Turkish cinema culture, strategize between national and transnational media worlds in order to advance their media practices and social and political agendas. A significant goal of their activities is to create and maintain transnational publics that reinforce further circulation of their media texts. Transnational circulation is significant for politically engaged Kurdish filmmakers for two reasons. First, because of their controversial content and/or filmmakers’ political reputation, their films do not circulate widely in Turkey; transnational exhibition venues have historically been primary outlets for these films. Second, in Turkish national media circles, the existence of European audiences for Kurdish films and their successful transnational circulation functions as leverage against political censorship, exclusion, and marginalization.
Based on participant observation and interviews in more than a few international film festivals, I analyze the ways in which The Last Season Shawaks, a documentary film about a nomadic Kurdish community, moves through international screening venues. As The Last Season Shawaks journeys through film festivals in Europe, its director Kazim Öz accompanies it and by producing discourse, he attempts to increase and accelerate the transnational circulation of his film. In festival settings, Öz carefully tailors his encounters with international audiences and positions his film and filmmaking within a circumspectly crafted discourse during question and answer sessions that follow film screenings. In doing so, Öz seeks to accomplish two intricately related social ends: to advance an interest in his filmmaking and to stimulate European attention to Kurds in Turkey, both of which, in relation to one another, he anticipates, would accelerate the circulation of his films.
P.S: The seminar will be in English.