Saturday, December 16, 2006

Our December Author: Hiner Saleem

Here are a few links for our December author, Hiner Saleem, (My Father’s Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan). Most concern his career as a film director, rather than a the book. You can start with his IMDB page for an overview, then check out articles regarding his most recent film, Kilometer Zero, set in Iraqi Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq war: Cannes Film Festival summary, Guardian and Christian Science Monitor articles and here's a bit from the New York Times,
In exile since the age of 17, the director, like his hero, is an angry man, with the kind of suppressed rage that comes out in spurts. His previous film, ''Vodka Lemon,'' on the plight of Kurds in Armenia, won the San Marco award at Venice in 2003. ''Of course I'm the same person with the same sensitivity and aesthetics,'' he said, ''but 'Kilometer Zero' is inspired by one of my brothers, who was nabbed off the street and sent to fight for Saddam Hussein.''
and on the difficulty of filming in Iraqi Kurdistan from a CNN interview transcript(scroll down),
SALEEM (through translator): It was impossible to find a single camera in Kurdistan. There are no film crews, no professionals, no film stock. There was nothing, only people and fantastic landscape.

GLASS: It was just as hard to find an image of Saddam Hussein. Once ubiquitous, all of them have been destroyed. The statue that is endlessly transported across the screen was specially made.

SALEEM (through translator): Kurdish sculptors refused to make it. I had to commission an Arab in Mosul. For security reasons, it was build in Kurdistan behind a high wall. But when it rose higher and higher, people spotted Saddam's head peering over the wall. The police came and confiscated the statue and arrested the sculptor. I had to intervene and explain it was for a film.
Finally, here's another profile describing a different film, but perhaps more fun, at the same website there is a collection of Kurdish panoramas.
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