The Other Side of the River

Dir. Antonia Kilian, Doppelplusultra Filmproduktion, Pink Shadow Films [In co-production with Greenlit Productions Oy], 2020 | 92’, Germany, Finland

The film project was presented at the Baltic Sea Docs 2019.

Fleeing a forced marriage, 19-year-old Hala leaves her place of birth in Minbij, Syria, and crosses the Euphrates River to seek shelter with the Kurdish Female Military – a military academy where the notion of “warring feminism” can be taken literally. Together with other women she gains fighting skills and feminist education, as the goal is not only to take a stand against ISIS, but also against patriarchy as a whole. Inspired by the women’s movement, Hala prepares to fulfill her dream – to free her younger sisters from their fates and futures in accordance with tradition as planned by her father. During this time, with her mission taking up all her strength, is there room in Hala’s life for freedom and love?

Female defense units are part of the Roshnava Kurdish military forces. Roshnava is the de facto autonomous territory in Northeast Syria that has gained international attention with their true democratic initiatives and feminist politics. Ideologically, female defense units follow the teachings that the female emancipation level is dictated by societal freedom as a whole.

In Arabic, Kurdish and German with Latvian or English subtitles.