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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 17:07 UK
Animated film to build bridges
Kawa the Blacksmith
Kawa the Blacksmith is forced to battle an evil king

Animation directors Havi Ibrahim and Stuart Palmer have adapted a famous Kurdish folk story, The Legend of Kawa the Blacksmith.

The Hull based duo produced the film with the support of a local community centre.

It is thought to be the first ever Kurdish language animated film.

The work was made using local Kurdish and English voice artists, many of whom had never acted before.

The story tells of a brave blacksmith who kills King Zohak of Mesopotamia.

The king has been cursed by a demon and has two large black snakes growing from his shoulders.

The snakes torment the king, whose only relief from pain is by feeding the snakes the brains of local children.

Kawa has lost six of his seven children to the snakes. When the seventh is stolen the blacksmith sets off to the castle and kills the king with his hammer and lifts the curse.

The traditional tale forms the centrepiece of the Kurdish New Year celebrations. According to Havi Ibrahim, the film attempts to bring the story to a wider audience:

"The legend of Kawa the Blacksmith is about the Kurdish new year on 21st March. About the birth of a nation; basically sacrifice. I think the way we have dressed this story, and show it, and script it we are trying to make it clearer to Western people."

Havi Ibrahim and Stuart Palmer
Havi Ibrahim and Stuart Palmer hope to produce more films

The project was supported by the Goodwin Centre, a community and training project, based in west Hull. The 54-minute feature was produced entirely on computers as Stuart Palmer explained:

"The whole film is created using computer generated animation, all created in 3D software. The soundtrack is recorded digitally on the computer and the two are married together."

The film has been shown at various festivals around the world and is available to buy on DVD. The pair plan to produce further films based around Kurdish folk tales.

For Havi Ibrahim their work helps overcome some of the negative perceptions of the local Kurdish community, and allows people from different cultures to work together in a creative way:

"We try to do good things. We try to create and be creative, no matter who you are and where you are. In my point of view there are a lot of creative Kurdish people who work in art and design and I am very proud of them.

"I would like to show that this film, or this production, is basically not just made by a Kurdish people, but is just like Hull working together. Making this relationship together it's all about bringing the communities together."


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