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Turtles can fly: San Sebastian winner's statement

Bahman Ghobadi, (the director's) Statement.

Three days after the collapse of Saddam, I went to Baghdad to show my film Songs of my motherland as it was being released. Just as the superpowers were sending heavy weaponry to Iraq, my purpose was, on a symbolic level, to contribute artistically to what was going on.

With the small DV camera I was carrying, I shot for a few weeks what I had witnessed in Baghdad, as well as in the other cities.
Back in Iran, I had second thoughts, and a few days later I went back to Iraq to make a film about what had upset me – the mined lands, the crippled children, the people at a loss, the worsened security situation… It looked as if war was just beginning!

We shot with a small crew (it took me three months to obtain the green light to shoot in Iraq).
Just as the world TV networks were announcing the end of the war, I began to make a film whose leading stars were neither Bush, nor Saddam, nor any other dictators. Those people had been the media stars the world over. Nobody mentioned the Iraqi people. There hadn't been a single shot of the Iraqis. They were mere extras…
In my film, the supporting cast are Bush and Saddam. By contrast, the Iraqi people and the street children play the leading parts.

I wish to dedicate my film to all the innocent children in the world – the casualties of the policies of dictators and fascists.

The Filmmakers
Written and Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
Director of Photography Shahriar Assadi
Production sound mixer Bahman Ardalan
Music Housein Alizadeh
Edited by Moustafa Khergheposh – Hayedeh Safiyari
Production Company MIJ FILMS (Teheran)
Produced by Bahman Ghobadi

Starring : Soran EBRAHIM, Hirsh FEYSSAL, Avaz LATIF…
An Iran/Iraq coproduction, 2004, Sound Mix: Dolby Digital, 35 mm, 1.85
Runtime: 95 min, spoken language : Kurdish
Worldwide distribution : Bac Films (France)

Synopsis :
In a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, on the border between Iran and Turkey, the villagers desperately seek for a satellite dish antenna in order to keep updated on the impending attack of the Americans in Iraq… Coming from another village with his younger sister and her child, a mutilated boy has a foreboding: the war is getting closer and closer…

Bahman Ghobadi
Bahman Ghobadi was born in 1969 in Baneh, in Iranian Kurdistan.
While he was student, he worked for a radio station and went on to join a Sanandaj group of amateur filmmakers who helped him direct his first short films. He then relocated to Tehran to attend film classes at the university but he dropped out before graduating.
Between 1995 and 1999, he directed ten or so short films which garnered many awards in several national and international festivals. Among others he was awarded the Clermont-Ferrand Festival Special Jury Prize for Life in the Fog.
In 1999, he became Abbas Kiarostami's first assistant on The Wind Will Carry Us.


That Man Has Arrived (short)
Again Rain With The Song (short)
1996 Dang (short)
Part Of The Notebook (short)
God's Fish (short)
Like Mother (short)
The Reception (short)
Life in the Fog (short)
Melodies Of A Girl From The Steppes (short)
A Time for Drunken Horses (first feature)
Directors' Fortnight (Cannes Film Festival), Golden Camera Winner, International Critics Award, "Art et Essai" Award (CICAE)
Songs of my motherland (feature)
Cannes Film Festival-Un "Certain Regard", Chicago International Film Festival "Golden Plaque"

Bahman Ghobadi was a jury member of the 2002 "Golden Camera"
2004 Turtles Can Fly (feature)

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