In Mesopotamia, there are children of different ethnicities, religions and languages. Zelal, 7 year-old petite girl, is an ethnic Kurd as well as religiously an Ezidi (Yazidi). An ordinary school day turns into a life changing event for Zelal and her introvert admirer, Zeki, after their Turkish teacher introduces the letter of the week ‘O’…

Directors Statement

THE CIRCLE aims to showcase the universal story of discrimination and violence inflicted on minorities and the most vulnerable groups at anywhere and anytime. As a reflection from the world of children, the film addresses various layers of oppression towards diversity that impose monotypic ‘co-existence’ for all those who are different than the ‘majority’ in power.

At the core of THE CIRCLE, which is surrounded by various oppression circles on minorities, this film focuses on Ezidi Kurds (Yazidis). They were not only ethnically different as being Kurds, but also religiously different than all. They were the most vulnerable group among all other minorities. Ezidism as one of the ancient monotheistic religions only followed by Kurds, based on the believe that the Angel Peacock is Head of Angels and God’s representative in worldly affairs. The Angel Peacock is thought of by other monotheistic religions to represent what is theologically understood as the notion of a ‘fallen angel’, basically that of Satan. However, despite uniformed misconception, Ezidism doesn’t adhere to satanic believes since it holds that the Angel Peacock is a force of good and the representative of God’s benevolence.

Though still to date Ezidis are accused as ‘evil worshippers’ yet they are the most peaceful people in the region. They were and still are exposed to discrimination and violence throughout the history and now, forced to migrate from their homelands. Only in Turkey, the Ezidi population was approximately 40.000 in 1915, and it is less than 200 in 2016. While their tragic story in Turkey still remains an unspoken truth, the 'Ezidi genocide’ by ISIS and influx of enforced immigration from Syria and Iraq to Turkey and all around the world in recent years is another drastic 'circle' of tragedy for Ezidis.

Throughout my carrier in human rights, I supported the cinema in various ways with a strong believe that film is one of the best media to convey human rights messages. Though I never thought I will do my own film until THE CIRCLE, especially as a person with no education or any experience in filmmaking.

THE CIRCLE is a very personal story. It is the story of my father's 'biggest regret in life’, which he shared with me months before he passed away. As an introvert child, he was not able to help a ‘circled small Ezidi girl’ during his childhood. Unfortunately ‘Circling Ezidis’ as a way of ‘Circling the Satan’ was a common discrimination practice in Turkey. Beside this practice being very real, it had so many symbolic references to the current and past tragedies of Ezidi Kurds in the region as well as to the universal story of all those discriminated... My father’s regret made me understand why he became who he was - a 68' revolutionist and fighter against social injustice.

I didn’t know what to do with this very real and personal yet karmic and symbolic story which remained within me / circled me. Only a few years later when I was recovering from a fatal accident, I decided to write my father’s story and other personal stories as a way of healing. Converting my physical pain and human rights experience into creativity and ‘his biggest regret’, the tragedies of the Ezidis & all other discriminated groups, people and lands as a reflection from the world of children into THE CIRCLE has been and still is a healing ...

Director's Biography

Kurdish born on 1976 in Diyarbakır –Turkey, she lived in Istanbul, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Athens, Vienna, Venice, Kiev, San Diego and Moscow. She graduated with an EMA in Human Rights and Democratization from European Inter University Consortium on Human Rights and Democratization, Venice (2002), after having completed programmes in University of Vienna and University of California Los Angeles, and a BBA in University of Marmara, Istanbul (1999).

She worked a number of years as human rights expert for United Nations with honours and recognitions, and following that as lecturing professor on human rights in the university as well as representative of NGOs and an activist for social collective initiatives.

After having a serious injury in 2014, she was in long bed rest where she has developed a number of stories and screenplays with an aim of advocating human rights and reaching public through medium of films. Written & directed & produced HEVÊRK as her debut film in 2016.

She is now based in Istanbul and in process of her new film AETHER.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Rûken Tekes

Produced by: Rûken Tekes

Cinematography: Deniz Eyüboglu

Editing: Özcan Vardar

Sound Design: Umut Senyol

Main Cast: Delila Kaya (Zelal), Emircan Kaya (Zeki), Sehmuz Demirtas (Bekir), Müfit Aytekin (teacher)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Short Film 2017