Radio Kobani

The extraordinary story of a young reporter in war-torn Kobanî.

Radio Kobani Out of the smoke and dust of battle came Radio Kobanî, the brainchild of 20-year-old Dilovan. A young Kurdish woman, Dilovan took it upon herself to document the final days of IS control, and the stories of refugees returning to their flattened homes. Despite her harrowing experiences, Dilovan’s positivity is resilient. Her belief is vindicated by the strength of Kobanî’s citizens and their capacity to collaborate in the face of destruction.

"My childhood friend Shirin Hassan fell into the hands of terrorists", relays Dilovan. "They cut off her head and hung it in the square of Jarabulus. Humanity died for me that day on the square". Nobody was untouched by the IS occupation of Kobanî. But as the city is retaken it is a chance to heal; a process facilitated by the tireless reporting of Dilovan, finding the scraps of joy amongst the rubble and dust that was once a bustling city.

As the YPG, led by the inimitable Meryem Kobani, began to liberate parts of the city, Dilovan and thousands of others decided to return home. Radio Kobanî was born. Dilovan interviews the full tapestry of Kobanî's displaced, from widowed mothers to musicians, to those straight from the frontline. One sniper is haunted by those he killed. "Sometimes I discovered that they were children. That hurt me very much...Sometimes they appear in my dreams".

As more return, the clear up operation begins. The diggers clear the collapsed buildings to reveal countless corpses. Horrified survivors look on, but they can now be afforded a dignified burial. Soon roads are cleared, shops are open, people are in the streets. "The streets of Kobanî smell of love again... the breeze of love dances on the heatwaves of summer", delights Dilovan. As normality returns she picnics in the park with her friends and they tease the gawking boys. "Look at those staring boys, as if they've never seen a woman!"

Radio Kobanî is at once a darkly powerful documentation of one of the bloodiest battles in the fight against IS, as well as an inspirational tale of healing, hope and love.

The Producers

Reber Dosky (1975, Dohuk/Kurdistan) is a Kurdish-Dutch filmmaker. Living in The Netherlands since 1998, he studied film direction at the Netherlands Film Academy and completed his studies with The Call (2013), which traced the impact of war and displacement on the relation between a father and a son and won several awards on international film festivals. With The Sniper of Kobani (2015) Dosky achieved his international breakthrough, earning awards in Canada, Brazil, The Netherlands, Egypt, Italy, Japan and Mexico among others.

Making The Film

Dilovan, a 20 year old Kurdish woman, sets up a radio station in the devastated town of Kobanî, Syria, during the liberation fight against IS. Dilovan's programs, in which she interviews survivors, returning refugees, fighters and poets, bring a sense of belonging to the broken lives of the listeners who need to rebuild the city and their future. Dilovan tells her own story in a message to the child she may have one day. Shot over a period of three years during war and reconstruction in Kobanî, RADIO KOBANÎ is a bitter, intimate and poetic tale of trauma's, healing, hope and love.

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