Kurdistan Seeks Cinema Revival

Apparently, reviving movie theaters in Erbil and other Iraqi cities will take time, since citizens and movie enthusiasts lost trust in these theaters long ago. Makary said, “Encouraging the local population to attend theaters takes time. In Erbil, many are passing by and asking about the movies, especially the new ones. They are waiting for the movies to be shown, notably the younger generation.”

Speaking of the specifications, Makary noted, "International standards are used and the theaters are designed pursuant to international theater designs. The equipment was brought from Europe and the US."

Makary pointed out that in the past, movies were recorded on 35 mm film. These days, movies are recorded on a hard disk, featuring a key that allows it to be shown on a specific date. Additionally, all the devices are digital. Such strict measures were adopted, Makary noted, to prevent new movies from being copied and sold on CDs at rock-bottom prices.

Makary explained, "We have employees that check the theaters and prohibit the audience from recording movies, whether using cell phones or cameras. Cameras are not allowed inside the theaters, and if anyone is caught trying to record the movie we delete the footage."

Fadel al-Jaff, a consultant to the KRG Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, reiterated the importance of having modern movie theaters in Erbil in order to revive this sector. “The return of movies to theaters, especially these high-tech theaters, is a turning point that I hope will lead to the construction of other theaters in Kurdistan," he said.

Mohammad Zankana, a Kurdish arts and culture journalist, told Al-Monitor, "In past years, going to the movies had a negative social connotation. Yet, after seeing the new theaters and the featured movies, I believe that this is an important step toward reviving this sector."

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