PFI's primary mission is to help empower the local cinema and theatre via filmmaking and acting course for children and adults; screenings of local and art-house films; holding forums and discussions with filmmakers and experts; and hosting of film festivals and other film-related events. This is all done under the roof of our Peace Film Center in the region's capital, Erbil.
We believe that through the art of filmmaking, theater, and other forms of self-expression we can promote peace and coexistence and in turn combat aggression and violence in conflict zones. We also believe in the arts as an essential part of cultural identity and film as a means to relate one’s culture and stories to the world.
While our school is for everyone, we are placing a special focus on the underprivileged communities and among the refugees and internally displaced families. We will enroll creative and artistically inclined children and teenagers from public schools and IDP camps through our student sponsorship program SaS (sponsor a star).
The youth who have the potential to be the artists and creative minds of tomorrow will be guided and empowered through our meticulously crafted courses and hands-on workshops.
Our first annual international human rights film festival is underway (May. 12-16, 2019) in the region’s capital, Erbil. The festival theme is Living Together in Peace to coincide with the first anniversary of the UN General Assembly's 'International Day of Living Together in Peace' (May 16). Our selection criteria are fictional films, documentaries, and short films about human rights issues and films that promote peace and coexistence. Along with screenings of films from across the Globe, IPFF will also present a set of panel discussions with filmmakers and human rights activists. IPFF will serve as a bridge between local filmmakers and the world film community and help introduce foreign filmmakers to the crisis particular to the region.
IPFF will be the first of its kind in the region's capital. International artists and dignitaries will be invited, among them UN goodwill and Peace ambassadors.
Our aim is to highlight Kurdistan as a place that advocates peace and coexistence despite being surrounded by aggressive neighbors and constant wars. We are also aiming to partner with UN to celebrate their designated 'International Day of Living Together in Peace' (May 16) as the closing day of our festival to be celebrated with music and dance. This will put IPFF-Erbil on the map in the international festival circuit, and consequently serve as good publicity for the region as promoter of peace and coexistence.
UN to celebrate their designated 'International Day of Living Together in Peace'
PFI's traveling Cine-Caravan consists of a specially designed truck with back projection and protruding screen. This cinema on wheels has been used extensively to showcase family-oriented educational and entertaining films at the IDP camps in the region.
The mobile is now undergoing some tuning up and a new paint job in preparation for the coming year. In addition to screening at camps, our plan for 2019 also includes screenings in villages and in public schools across the region. Our purpose for such screenings is manifold: to provide cinema to segments of the society that have been deprived of the silver screen experience; to educate the public through educational films that will accompany our main features; and to help create a film culture in the region starting with elementary and secondary schools.
Daughters of the Peacock Angel
A film project illuminating the plight of thousands of Yezidi women who were raped and tortured by ISIS, over 3000 remain in slavery in unknown locations. The goal is to raise International awareness, see the slaves freed, the mentally and physically injured restored, and the perpetrators of this horrific genocide brought to Justice and to prevent them from committing any future atrocities.
Daughters of the Peacock Angel traces the Yazidi faith to its ancient Mesopotamian roots and depicts the hardships the Yazidis have faced in preserving it, culminating in the present day genocide at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). As per an UNAMI report, as many as 6300 Yazidi women and children were abducted by the terrorist group and as many as 3500 remain in captivity. The women are being exploited as sexual slaves, and the children are being trained to become future killing machines. Those who have managed to escape are now telling harrowing stories of their experiences in captivity. Their stories along with their portraits (while dressed in wedding gowns to imply purity) are transmitted through photojournalist Seivan Salim's lens. The film begins and ends with an exhibition of these portraits at the lobby of the United Nations headquarters in New York.
exhibition of these portraits at the lobby of the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Daughters of the Peacock Angel is not a plea for sympathy, though it will instigate such feelings. Nor does it demonize any specific faith or group for their actions of many centuries past. Our purpose for this project is twofold. One, to apprise the viewer on one of the most ancient spiritual beliefs that has survived despite a history dotted with genocides concluding in the present-day massacre on the hands of ISIL, and two, to enlighten the viewer with the human spirit that has kept such a small group survive through the ages.
HOUSE OF HOPE
HOUSE OF HOPE centers on a fictional shelter for battered women. The series revolves around the lives of victims who take refuge in the shelter as well as those who run the place.
As per UNDP statistics, one out of every three women in the Middle East has either experienced first-hand victimhood or had a family member who suffered violence. There has also been record high statistics of self-immolation by hapless women in distress.
Often, these incidents go unreported and the survivors are left with no support. House of Hope aims to bring forward the different issues regarding gender-related violence and the women’s plight for equality by reaching out to the masses in an entertaining way and to serve as an instrument that will instigate public debate on the local and national levels. Our ultimate goal is to influence change in people’s perspective in regards to the woman’s place in society.
We have produced a pilot episode (50 minutes long) with the support of UN-Women. We also have the treatment for the first ten episodes. Each episode will be 44 minutes of length. The drama covers characters from all of Iraq. They include all sectors and ethnicities. The spoken languages are Kurdish and Arabic. The series also focuses on peace and coexistence as an alternative to the prevalent violence that has stormed the region.
A WAVE OF SORROW
In 2014, following the reporting of a 2012 terrorist attack in Afghanistan, Cordola visited Kabul. He later returned and engaged in youth work teaching guitar to teenagers of the war-torn country under a project named "Girl with a Guitar".
A Wave of Sorrow is the latest song written, composed, and performed by American classical rock star Lanny Cordola following his visit to Shingal in May of 2018. The song is in English fused with Kurdish Yazidi folk and daf instrument.
In 2014, following the reporting of a 2012 terrorist attack in Afghanistan, Cordola visited Kabul. He later returned and engaged in youth work teaching guitar to teenagers of the war-torn country under a project named "Girl with a Guit". This year Cordola came to Kurdistan and visited the Yazidi IDPS in Duhok. This inspired him to write the song "Wave of Sorrow" about the Yazidi Kurds, which he then composed and recorded in Hollywood, California.
PFI has taken the initiative to produce the video version (music video) of the song along with Mr. Cordola for worldwide distribution. We believe that this song in the form of a music video will do a great service to the Yazidi Kurds and deliver their massage to millions of untapped viewers across the globe. This project may also become a vehicle to raise support for the Yazidis who remain in great distress and help locate and rescue the ones still missing.
With words like "Daughters of God, I will not sell but give, for my nature is sacred within your keeping as a wave of sorrow fills the Earth" accompanied by high concept visuals we aim to cinematically capture the tragic story of the Yazidi women and children through reenactments in the region of Shingal, including Mt. Shingal, and the IDP camps in Kurdistan.
A similar initiative by Cordola in collaboration with The Beach Boys founding member, Brian Wilson was created incorporating Cordola's Miraculous Love Kids / Girl with a Guitar (a group of young Afghani girls in Kabul founded by Cordola in 2014). The song "Love & Mercy" was recorded and lensed in Los Angeles (Wilson) and Kabul (Cordola and the Miraculous Love Kids). The music video had its world premiere on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 27, 2018).
"LOVE AND MERCY" first appeared on BRIAN WILSON's 1988 self-titled solo debut. Calling it "the most spiritual song" he's ever written, the singer is pleased to see the tune, 30 years later, resonate with a new generation in another, often misunderstood part of the world. "I'm glad music makes the children feel love and mercy," WILSON says. "That's what music is all about — making you feel happy!". LANNY adds, "BRIAN WILSON's genius lies in his masterful blend of melody, words, sounds, and texture. It is that glorious, mystical gift that few possess. Music is one of the few art forms that can bring together girls and their guitars from a war-torn, poverty-stricken country like Afghanistan with a musical iconoclast like BRIAN WILSON for the highest form of connection — songs of justice that aim for transcendence."
The "LOVE AND MERCY" music video was filmed in Los Angeles, California