London’s first Kurdish Pop Up Cinema

London Kurdish Film Festival & Portobello Pop Up Cinema Present:pop up poster lkff (2)

For decades, working beyond the control of the governments of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, Kurdish filmmakers have made many remarkable films under incredible conditions. In today’s critical times, we’ve put together a snap ‘pop-up’ season  – with Kurdish film-makers in attendance – to bring urgent attention to the Kurdish people, the region and its radical cinema.

Despite many harsh realities – arrest, censorship, war and exile – Kurdish filmmaking has survived and recently it has experienced a creative new wave. We are celebrating this artistic resistance.

A special opening event with speakers, entitled ‘Syria Today – Remember Halabja!’, takes on Friday 20th September at the Portobello Pop Up Cinema, a reclaimed arts space under the Westway motorway.

‘London’s first ‘Kurdish Pop-Up’ opens with Taha Karimi’s tour-de-force critique of the West and its multinationals: Oil, The Cancer Of My City. Indeed the Kurdish Film Pop-Up is dedicated to the great film-maker Taha Karimi, who died recently this year aged 38.

This is followed by the very rarely screened in the UK, Halabja, The Lost Children, directed by Akram Hidou. Seen through Kurdish eyes, this provides a rare glimpse of the brutal devastation and raw healing following the vicious air-born nerve-gas attack on the Iraqi-Kurdish city of Halabja on March 16,1988, when at least 5,000 people died. Made in 2011, this affecting and heart-wrenching film carries a very chilling foreboding for events in Syria today. At these critical times this is a film that needs the widest public attention.

On Saturday 21st, September the pioneering author and director Mizgin Arslan presents her wonderful short-film: Asya, and there is a screening of Rojin by Chiman Rahimi. Next is the ambitious Kurdish film masterpiece, Mandoo (‘Fatigued’: Winner of the ‘Yerevan Golden Apricot’, directed by Ebrahim Saeedi). This is bravado filmmaking: shot entirely from the point of view of an unseen character. You, the viewer, are the desperate wheelchair-bound refugee fleeing a mountainous war zone. your eyes are what he sees. This is an unbelievable, incredible ‘camera-stylo’ masterwork, plus brilliant ensemble acting, the like of which you have never seen – a triumph of Kurdish cinema. A rare, unmissable screening of a film that deserves much wider critical acclaim. An epic tale of war and the plight of refugees.

Prior to this, at 18.00pm, there will be a special ‘film-extra screening’ of Saddam’s Road To Hell, directed by Gwynne Roberts, and of White Mountain, directed by Taha Karimi. Both these films give a better understanding of events on the ground today.

On Saturday night there will also be a special panel debate with celebrated Kurdish film-makers discussing: ‘What is Kurdish Cinema (Kurdistan to London): A journey through war and exile?’ The ausience will be able to join in the discussion.

Kurdish film-makers are a rare breed; their epic fortitude and unique critical imagination make them worth meeting and their films worth seeing.

Please contact us with any questions.


Friday 20th September

19.30pm: £5 (suggested donation)

Syria Today- Remember Halabja! Opening event with speakers and films:

Oil, Is The Cancer Of My City, Dir: Taha Karimi, 20mins, 2009. (Iraq-Kurd).

Halabja, The Lost Children, Dir: Akram Hidou, 72 mins, 2011 (Iraq-Kurd).

Saturday 21st September

‘What is Kurdish Cinema? A Journey Through War & Exile.’

18.00pm: ’Saddam’s Road To Hell, Dir Gwynne Roberts. 30min, 2006 (U.K).

 White Mountain, Dir Taha Karimi, 20mins, 2011. (Iraq-Kurd).

19.30pm: £5 (suggested donation)

 Asya. Dir: Mizgin Arslan, 9 mins, 2013. (Turkey).

 Rojin. Dir: Chiman Rahimi, 10 mins, 2010, (U.K)

 Mandoo. Dir: Ebrahim Saeedi, 90 mins, 2010 (Iraq).

Discussion with special guests follows.


The Portobello Pop-Up Cinema is located at:

274 Portobello Road, under-the-westway, W10 5TY.

Tube: Ladbroke Grove.

Bus: 7, 23, 52.

Tel: 020 7792 9626.

Tickets on the door £5 (Suggested donation).


Kurdish Pop Up Cinema: For enquiries about this event,  contact – Shiereen Saib, London Kurdish Film Festival, T: 07928393370, E:

For all other enquiries regarding the London Kurdish Film Festival please contact LKFF at: 1 Thrope Close, London W10 5XL


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