News Release Article from  National Film Board

Zaynê Akyol's feature documentary Gulîstan, Land of Roses has its world premiere in International Competition at Visions du Réel Festival in Switzerland. Kurdish women fighters wage war on ISIS in this Périphéria Productions/Mîtosfilm/NFB co-production.

March 23, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Zaynê Akyol’s first feature documentary, Gulîstan, Land of Roses (Périphéria Productions/Mîtosfilm/NFB), will have its world premiere in the nternational Competition at the Visions du Réel International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland. The film follows Kurdish female fighters who share their revolutionary and feminist ideals as they fight for their territory and wage war against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State group. Directed by a young and talented filmmaker, this powerful look at a red-hot topic affirms the NFB’s ongoing support for auteur documentaries destined for the big screen. The 47th edition of Visions du Réel, one of the most important festivals dedicated to documentary film, will run from April 15 to 23, 2016.

About the film

They belong to the armed wing of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is also an active guerrilla movement. The mission of these female fighters? Defend Kurdish territory in Iraq and Syria, and defeat ISIS (the armed militants of the so-called Islamic State group), all while embodying a revolutionary ideal advocating female empowerment. As filmmaker Zaynê Akyol follows their highly regimented lives, seasoned fighters like Rojen and Sozdar openly share with us their most intimate thoughts and dreams.

Even as fighting against ISIS intensifies in the Middle East, these women bravely continue their battle against barbarism. Offering a window into this largely unknown world, Gulîstan, Land of Roses exposes the hidden face of this highly mediatized war: the female, feminist face of a revolutionary group united by a common vision of freedom.

Gulîstan, Land of Roses is produced by the Montreal production company Périphéria (Sarah Mannering, Fanny Drew and Yanick Létourneau), in co-production with the German production company Mîtosfilm (Mehmet Aktaş) and the National Film Board of Canada (Nathalie Cloutier and Denis McCready). Yanick Létourneau, Mehmet Aktaş and Colette Loumède (NFB) are the film’s executive producers.

About the director

Filmmaker Zaynê Akyol completed her bachelor’s degree from the Media School of the Université du Québec à Montréal by winning the René Malo Chair/National Film Board of Canada award for most promising documentary filmmaker. Her 2010 medium-length documentary, Iki Bulut Arasinda (Under Two Skies), won an award at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. After completing her master’s degree in Communications, with a concentration in Film, in 2013 Akyol’s script-in-development for her first feature documentary, Land of the Roses: My Name Is Gulîstan, was selected for the Doc Station at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film is now being released as Gulîstan, Land of Roses.


Associated Links

Périphéria Productions
Visions du Réel International Documentary Film Festival

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