Kurdish Calling

Mon Dec 10,2012

The 92-minute feature, set and filmed in Iraqi Kurdistan, was discovered by Harms as a short film. “I just wanted to work with Karzan because he’s incredibly talented. When he said he wanted to turn BEKAS into a feature-length project, I was skeptical because I wasn’t sure there was more material in it. And then he shared the script and I realised it was meant to be a feature all along and had been squeezed into a short,” she said.
Karzan describes the film as nostalgic, but one filled with warmth, adventure and love. “My family was smuggled out of Iraq when I was seven-years-old. We spent 11 months on the road before we reached Sweden, and I’ve really seen it all. But that’s not what I wanted to bring out in the film. If I had wanted to make a strong political film, I could have and I have the material to draw from, but BEKAS was meant to be a film about cherishing one’s dream,” he said.
To discover his dream cast of the two lead child actors – 12-year-old Taha, who plays Zana and 16-year-old Fazil, who plays Dana – he did not have the luxury of a casting agent and talent scouts, but had to wander through the streets of Iraqi Kurdistan in search of interesting faces. Taha was found in an orphanage. “He’s not an orphan but hung out in the building because the orphanage had lots of toys,” said Kader. Fazil, on the other hand, he describes as “destiny’s child” because “I saw him the day before we started filming and after I had finalised my Dana. But sometimes you have a special feeling when you find someone and I believe you must act on it.”
A Swedish theatrical release and positive chatter about the film have Kader hopeful of the film reaching a larger global audience – his ultimate goal.

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