Gulîstan, Land of Roses (French title: Gulîstan, terre de roses) is a 2016 feature-length documentary film about women guerillas in a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Free Women’s Unit, in combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, directed by Kurdish Montreal filmmaker Zaynê Akyol. Shot in Iraqi Kurdistan, the film is co-produced Montreal’s Périphéria Productions, Germany’s MitosFilm and the National Film Board of Canada.
Originally published by Wind Born Films Koletive Channel.
The film was conceived and named for a woman, Gulîstan, who’d been a role model for the director in her adopted home in Montreal, until she left to fight with the PKK. Akyol went to Iraq in 2010 in an unsuccessful effort to find her and make a film about her. Unable to locate Gulîstan, she did find women who knew her and the focus of the documentary shifted to telling Gulîstan’s story through their memories of her. But when she returned to Iraq to film in 2014, some of those women were now dead while others were in combat, and so the focus of the film shifted yet again, to documenting the experiences of women like Gulîstan.