March 14: Film (online): Red Handkerchief / Leyla Toprak (TR/SE)

Five years ago, Kurdish choreographer and filmmaker Leyla Toprak was invited by Weld to show a couple of her films. One of the films was Red Handkerchief (2015) which we asked Leyla about the opportunity to show again, this time online.

In the film, Leyla Toprak return to the folk dance tradition and its supporting and cohesive power, how its rhythmic steps together with singing are used as a tool for survival.

Red Handkerchief tells the story about five Kurds that were sentenced with long imprisonments in their twenties. Today free, they tell about how they survived abuse and torture through the Kurdish collective folk dance, ”Govend”. The dance that gave them courage and kept their spirits up and that made them organize.

March 14 at 8pm

The film is 16:20 minutes and will be available between 8pm untill midnight.

Link to the film online will be sent by mail before 8pm March 14.

Book at

Leyla Toprak about her situation today:

Well, Corona, which affects and continues to affect all humanity psychologically and physically, was also written in my personal history as a difficult time.

During this whole process, when I look back at myself, I feel deeply that the feeling of limitlessness created by the unkind enthusiasm of nature, the feeling that came from the compulsory limitation of human beings, in the uncertainty of the life we live in
, and what would be the next step?

This period took place in me as a time when I asked myself a lot of questions about life and it’s meaning. And the mystery of the answer that emerges each time is perhaps again hidden in the windows that open inside us, missed, ignored, closed, and perhaps buried in the dust of time. I think I can say that most of us feel anxious, sad, and sometimes helpless, it’s really hard to create an opportunity to look at everything inside and outside us.

My answer would be that humankind must stop being the master of nature, stop making profits from other living forms, and hopefully begin to see himself as a part of nature, just like a leaf on his branch, a free stream, and a handful of soil sprouting life in it.

Leyla Toprak (TR/DE)

Toprak was born in Istanbul. She took part in the artistic activities of modern dance collective Mesopotamia Dance, in Istanbul between 2003 – 2013. In 2014, she graduated from Performing Arts Department at Istanbul Bilgi University.

She studied Masters at Cinema at Istanbul Bilgi University at 2015-2017. She is studying UdK – University of Arts in Berlin Fine Arts – New Media. She has written, choreographed and directed several performances and short video works.

In recent years, she has participated with her films at a number of international film festivals and won several awards, including the Purple Camera Promising Woman Filmmaker Prize / 2016 at 14 International Filmmor Women’s Film Festival.

Red Handkerchief (2015)

Location: Diyarbakır
Year of Production: 2015
Running Time: 16:20
Genre: Documentary and Fiction
Language: Turkish
Subtitle:  Engish – Kurdish
Director: Leyla Toprak
Script: Leyla Toprak
Production: Leyla Toprak
Participation: Ramazan Morkoç, Sara Aktaş, Hasan Yağız Mehmet Akdoğan, Sevi Demir, Pero Dündar, Besime Konca, Herdem Kızılkaya, Şaban Tan, Hasan İnatçı
Editing: Leyla Toprak-Utku Kaya
Director of Photography: Mustafa Köksalan
Camera: Mustafa Köksalan, Özkan Küçük
Sound: Mir Mustafa Baydemir