Houses With Small Windows, a short film by Flemish-Kurdish director Bülent Öztürk, has been selected for Official Competition at the Venice Film Festival. The film’s world premiere screening is set for the Orizzonti short film section of the festival, a programme that selects films based on criteria such as quality and originality of language and expression. The 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival takes place from 28 August until 7 September.

Houses With small windowsHouses With Small Windows is a powerful and yet muted portrait of an honour killing in the rural Kurdish south east region of Turkey  in which 22-year-old Dilan pays for her forbidden love for a young man in a neighbouring village with her life, at the hands of her own brothers. And as tradition has it, the killing must be compensated and yet another victim is made.

Through this story Bülent Öztürk sheds light on a widespread and profound issue. Every year 5,000 women are murdered in honour killings all around the world. Among his people, the Kurds, the practice continues to be commonplace. Houses With Small Windows deals with this emotionally shattering topic in a most restrained, yet poetic way and presents the viewer with a bitter reality that still burdens entire communities.

Öztürk himself hails from south eastern Turkey and came to Belgium in 1995 as a student refugee. In 2007 he enrolled at the RITS school of arts in Brussels where he made the documentary Zaman Zaman, Talking Stones of Bakacaik. His previous film Waiting (Beklemek) documented the accounts of three people, survivors of the massively destructive earthquake that hit eastern Turkey in 2011.

Houses With Small Windows was written by Bülent Öztürk and Mizgin Mujde Arslan. Hanne Phlypo and Antoine Vermeesch produced the film for Clin d’oeil Films (Silent Stories, The art of becoming), in co-production with The Fridge.tv. The short film received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Thursday 25 July 2013

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