Komîna Fîlm a Rojava

Komîna Fîlm a Rojava (Rojava Film Commune) is a collective of filmmakers founded in 2015 and based in the autonomous region of Rojava. The collective was born out of a desire to reclaim the central role of cinema and film as tools and media through which society can be reimagined. It is inscribed in the specific context of the Rojava revolution and tries to emulate its values and learnings. As such, a specific focus is given to the empowerment of women as well as ethnic and religious communities. The commune works across the Rojava region to build and organize the infrastructures for filmmaking, screening, and education.

It is night and a film scene is being shot outdoors. Spotlights illuminate the camera team. Children and residents stand or sit along a wall and watch the filming.

Komîna Fîlm a Rojava, filming Stories of destroyed cities, Derbesiye, 2016, photo: Nadia Derwish

Even before the start of the war in Syria, the region of Rojava suffered from a lack of investment in arts, culture, and education, leading part of its youth to move to other regions (such as Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Hama) to pursue their education in the arts. By 2011, for example, all the cinemas that had opened in the region since the 1940s had closed. In addition, the Syrian state practiced a violent politics of forced assimilation of Indigenous communities leading to an erasure of their specific histories and artifacts. The war in Syria also brought renewed challenges (displacement, destruction, and traumas) as the Rojava region was not spared and suffered the attacks and occupation of Daesh. Since 2013, the region of Rojava has been governed by an autonomous administration following the principles of confederal democracy (or stateless democracy), based on women’s rights, ecology, and equality in all spheres of life.

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Komîna Fîlm a Rojava