The first screening of the short film “Kazhal,” written and directed by Iranian director and Arkın University of Creative Arts and Design (ARUCAD), Film Design and Management Department faculty member, Ali Azhari, took place at a gala night held in the Conference Hall.
The short film, which was produced using the facilities and resources of ARUCAD by a team consisting of the university’s academics, students, and staff, begins with Kazhal, an Iranian woman who moves to Cyprus in search of a more secure life. Before coming to Cyprus, Kazhal participates in protests in Iran following the recent death of Mahsa Amini, fighting for women’s freedom and an end to discrimination in daily life. She gets injured during the protests. From the place where she is wounded, Kazhal will create a new life while also expecting a baby.
Ali Azhari, an Iranian filmmaker and cinematographer who is a faculty member in the Film Design and Management Department at ARUCAD, has worked professionally in scriptwriting and cinematography in Iranian cinema. With his film “Kazhal,” Azhari focuses on interactive cinema and its aftermath as his research area.
After watching the film, ARUCAD Rector, Prof. Dr. Asım Vehbi said in his speech: “The short film by our faculty member Ali Azhari is an emotionally touching film that also sheds light on the realities of the world, containing significant messages in this regard. It makes us think about women’s freedom and the future of our children. In this sense, it is highly notable. Another aspect that fills us with pride is that this short film was produced at our university. I would like to thank director Ali Azhari and everyone involved in the production. After its first screening at the university, I hope the film will be successful in its journey through international festivals.” The director of the short film, Ali Azhari, said, “The struggle for women’s freedom in my homeland, where I was born and raised, was a process that we always felt with our hearts and kept our minds connected to, even if we were far away. My family and friends still live in Iran. Being away from them did not prevent me from being the voice of what was happening. I wanted to tell the story through my art. I dedicated this film to the memory of Masha Amini and those who lost their lives in the protests in Iran.”
Continuing his speech about the short film, which was produced using the university’s facilities and with a film crew consisting of ARUCAD academics, students, and staff, Azhari added, “I am extremely happy to have the opportunity to produce a film from start to finish in the university where I work. I am grateful to all my academic colleagues, students, and the university administration for their support.” After the screenings, a Q&A panel was held with director Ali Azhari, actors Pariya Vaziri and Elnaz Nasehi, assistant directors Yelis Sezener and camera assistant Mohammed Abdallah, moderated by artist Batu Gündal. The panel provided answers to questions about the making of the film.