Norwegian-Kurdish Red Heart selected for Beijing, Abu Dhabi
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
10/04/2012 - Already screening at, among others, the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Quatar and the UK’s Middle Eastern Film Festival in Edinburgh, Norwegian director Mustafa Halkawt’s feature debut, Red Heart [trailer] – the first Norwegian film shot in Iraq – has been selected for the 5th Gulf Film Festival and the 2nd Beijing International Film Festival. The Gulf showcase in the United Arab Emirates takes place between April 10-16 April, the Beijing event unspools between April 23-28.
Kurdish-born Halkwat and his family moved to Norway 12 years ago – today they are Norwegian citizens – and he was educated at Oslo’s NISS-Nordic Institute of Stage and Studio. His first feature was packaged by Norwegian producer Egil Ødegaard, with Anders Graham and Halkawt, for Oslo’s Filmhuset in collaboration with Erbil-based Hene Film in Iraq.
Starring Jamal Shahen, Ibrahim Soran and Ahmed Ali, and scripted by Halkawt and Xarib J Jabar, Red Heart is described as a Romeo and Juliet story of a 19-year-old Kurdish girl, Shirin, whose father has traded her for a new bride for himself. On her wedding night, however, she runs away with her secret boyfriend, Soran, to start a new life in the big city.
The film was shot – with a Kurdish dialogue – by three different crews from Norway, Iraq and Iran, initially at the Kurdish mountain village of Rawanduz on the Iranian boarder, before it moved on to Erbil. The Norwegian/Kurdish-Iraqi co-production was domestically released by Europa Film A/S, while Wide Management Enterprise handles international sales; it has been theatrically launched in the UK.