Turkey’s International Migration Film Festival continues.

Director Amir Hossein Hemmati, who is taking part in the festival’s UNICEF International Short Film Competition, was the guest of a “Question and Answer” session published on the festival’s Instagram account.

Hemmati talked about his first professional film Ahoo, which is about an Afghan woman trying to hold on a difficult life where women are pushed behind, try to survive and earn a living.

Stressing that he is also an architect, Hemmati said: “I was working with Afghan immigrants in some constructions in Iran. Many did not have permission to stay in Iran. I noticed how hard it was for them. Actually, this is not what I’m telling in this film. For example, I’ve not seen a mother who lived alone. But I wanted to do something like this to commemorate them. My starting point was to demonstrate the problems and difficulties.”

When it comes to immigration, everyone thinks of the Middle East rather than countries such as Belgium, France and the USA do not come to mind, he said, adding: ”Films on immigration should also be included in film festivals such as Cannes and Venice.”

Hemmati also said he wanted the film to benefit refugee lives.

“I would be very happy if I could help even one person. Likewise, I would be happy if I could change the way people view refugees. It is very important to change people’s views on refugees.

“To make a strong impact in Iran regarding refugees, it is necessary to make feature films instead of short films. On the other hand, I know that short films are popular in Europe. Short films are often made for festivals,” he added.

A total of 45 films will be available for viewing online free of charge during the week-long festival held on June 14-21 via through a subscription.

The festival will end on June 21 with a closing ceremony.

The opening ceremony of the festival was held in a real-time 3D virtual studio created by the digital blending of the Stonehenge monument in England and the Gobeklitepe archaeological site in Turkey.

The festival aims to stress that “migration has been a common story experienced by all nations throughout history”, and to raise awareness on the issue as well, according to its organizers.

With Anadolu Agency being its global communication partner, the festival is supported by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry and organized by the Interior Ministry under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara.

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