ZER (Germany/Turkey, 113 min) is the story of Jan and Zarife, an estranged grandson and grandmother. When Zarife is brought over to New York City for cancer treatment, they begin to know each other in the course of the treatment. The bond they forge after many years end abruptly when Zarife dies. Jan, then, goes on a journey to find the song that Zarife sang to him on her deathbed. As he traces back to the song Zer, he finds himself in Dersim, Kurdistan, and amid the remnant of the massacre, further in the middle of the secret that his grandmother had kept her entire life. At the end of the story, Zarife turns out to be one of the surviving children of the 1938 Massacre of Kurds in Dersim. Jan finds himself also searching for his grandmother’s lost village, its tales, and eventually his own self and identity while looking for the song.
Kazım Öz is an awarded Kurdish director, scriptwriter and producer. He started to produce art with Kurdish theatre. In 1990s, he continued to work with Yapım 13 Production Company which is affiliated to Mesopotamia Culture Center. He shot his first short film Ax (Land, 1999) and was awarded by many of the prominent film festivals. Later, he managed to shoot his first feature film Fotoğraf (2002). The rest of his filmography includes: 2005: D û r (Distant); 2008: Bahoz (The Storm); 2010: Demsala Dawi: Şwaxan (Last Season, Shawaks); 2014: He B û Tune B û (Once Upon A Time ); 2016: Beyaz Çınar (The White Sycamore); 2017: Zer.
Introduction by Greta Scharnweber, Associate Director, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, and after-film discussion with Kazım Öz moderated by Negar Taymoorzadeh, PhD Candidate, Cinema Studies, NYU
Cosponsored by the Center for Religion and Media, the Center for Media, Culture, and History, and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute