Film-screening night with the Rojava-based Kezi collective + solidarity fundraising campaign

Thursday, 16 May, 19:00–21:00 / Casco HQ
Lange Nieuwstraat 7, 3512 PA, Utrecht

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons is launching a solidarity fundraising campaign to collect funds to support the work of the Rojava-based filmmakers collective Kezi. On 16 May, we welcome Kezi and together organize a film-screening night.

On Thursday evening, 16 May, Casco will welcome Sevinaz Evdike and Kolstan Osse, members of the all-women Rojava-based collective Kezi. The evening will include a screening of the collective’s films and provide an intentional gathering space to engage and share with them. We hope you can join us on this important day to discuss the vital work they do and the challenging context that informs their practice.

Presentation and conversation with Sevinaz Evdike and Kolstan Osse
Screening of Home, 2018 and Berbu, 2022 by Sevinaz Evdike‎

In anticipation of this event, we are launching a fundraising campaign to begin collecting funds. Please consider donating towards the development of their coming year’s filmmaking activity, any amount is helpful! International donations are possible via our PayPal account. 

Please mention ‘Donation for Kezi’ in the subject line;
addressee ‘Stichting Casco’.

NL62 RABO 0166 3207 65
Via PayPal:

The Kezi collective is a group of women filmmakers hailing from Kurdish and international backgrounds, operating out of Rojava, northeastern Syria. Their activities encompass various aspects of filmmaking, such as production, screenings, and providing training opportunities for women interested in cinema across the Rojava region. Rojava, known as the de facto autonomous area primarily inhabited by Kurds in northern Syria, has been embroiled in significant social and military challenges, largely stemming from its struggle for recognition. These challenges have been exacerbated by the onset of the Syrian civil war. Notably, Rojava is dedicated to implementing a wide-ranging, inclusive experiment in democratic self-governance, feminism, and environmental sustainability. For further insights into the Kezi collective, please refer to the detailed background information provided below.

Casco Art Institute has maintained an ongoing relationship with Komîna Fîlm a Rojava (The Rojava Film Commune), a collective of filmmakers based in the autonomous region. Through workshops and presentations, we have supported the work of these artists, filmmakers, and cultural workers. Now, with the formation of the all-women Kezi collective, we are collaborating to raise funds to support their important work. The fundraising campaign precedes the visit of two members of the collective to the Netherlands in the context of the Amsterdam Kurdish Film Festival (AKFF), taking place on May 10–12. For more information on the collective, please visit their social media (FacebookInstagram).

Kezi’s story:

”The history of humanity has been marked by the oppression of women, and this reality is particularly pronounced in Syria and the broader Middle East. This is especially true for women hailing from small cities or villages. In Rojava, women’s experiences are not vastly different from those of women in the surrounding region. Traditionally, young women are expected to remain within the confines of their families until they are married and then effectively become the property of their husbands.

Before 2011, which marked the beginning of the Revolution, the most fortunate women might have had the opportunity to attend university for four years, only to return home and assume roles as schoolteachers, at best. Pursuing careers in the arts was never considered a viable option for us as young women.

The Rojava revolution brought about significant changes for women. It introduced a democratic ideology that emphasized coexistence and fought for women’s freedom. The Women’s Defense Units, or YPJ, not only symbolized women’s freedom within Rojava but also resonated as a symbol for women globally. Nevertheless, the struggle was far from easy. Convincing families that their daughters could pursue careers as directors, writers, or composers posed a challenge, especially in a society where such aspirations were previously unthinkable. Additionally, providing a space for young women to explore their interests and careers, in the absence of formal academies or established professionals to guide them, presented its own set of challenges. As aspiring female filmmakers, we decided to establish our own organization, where we could learn together and learn through hands-on experience.

The years of war have made life considerably more challenging for everyone, but women, in particular, have borne the brunt of these difficulties. We have suffered losses, both in terms of friends and relatives, as well as parts of our land, due to the presence of ISIS and various Turkish military invasions and their affiliated militias. Women, targeted because of their progressive values, have been especially affected. Despite these hardships, we have persisted. Today, after many years, we are women who write our own stories, direct our own films, and assist other women in joining the struggle. We aspire to a future where Rojava’s women filmmakers can serve as symbols of resistance and freedom, much like the YPJ.”

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