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Culture and design – London Kurdish Film Festival 2013

Last week saw the 8th London Kurdish Film Festival held in Picturehouse Hackney and Westbourne Studios. The London Kurdish Film Festival is the largest nonprofit organisation of its kind that brings together films from four different parts of Kurdistan, and the rest of the world, to the big screens in London.

My relationship with the London Kurdish Film Festival began eight years ago when I was asked to work on a website for the 4th edition. A student at the time, this was a great opportunity- not only was it a strong addition to my portfolio, but it also gave me the chance to work on a fantastic event.

 The brief

For this year’s festival, I was asked to create promotional posters and a website to reflect the different areas of Kurdish culture.

The Kurdish culture is a rich and colourful one. The traditional clothing and rugs are full of vibrant colours and patterns; the music and the dancing are very lively and energetic.

The Kurdish people are split among four countries. I wanted to create something that brought the similarities of these different parts together in a simple and elegant way.

 The process

After a lot of research it was clear that the common trait throughout all four countries were the colours and patterns. Handmade textiles, arts and crafts are also a big part of the Kurdish culture, and that I also wanted to incorporate.

Recently I was working on a project involving a paper craft stop frame animation, which inspired me to create a paper craft camera. Each part of the camera was made up of shapes, patterns and colours from different regions of Kurdistan.

Props animation
Props animation

After 16 hours of cutting, folding and gluing, and a nice collection of paper cuts, I finally put the camera together. With the help of a designer friend of mine we photographed it and created the poster. 1500 copies were displayed around London. The design was also used on 3000 booklets, on all the cinema passes and in 12 London bus stops.

Posters animation

LKFF loved the design of the poster so much that they asked if we would apply the same idea and concept to create a television trailer. It was great to see how a single idea grew and was used across a range of media.

The trailer was a hit, receiving 2000 views online in its first week before the festival had even started.

This year the festival hosted 121 films: good news for the festival and the visitors, not so great for me when designing the website. I had just two weeks to create the site in two languages, making it an even bigger task, but I managed to launch it on time. Again, the response to the site has been unprecedented, receiving 6000 visitors in the first week and counting.

The buzz you get from working on a project like this is priceless, with the love and appreciation I received from people involved in the project making it all the more worthwhile.


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