Three teenage girls from Vienna twerk in hijab and sing a pop song. A YouTube video of it makes them famous overnight, especially among Kurdish Muslims. Yesmin, the only one of the friends who is Kurdish herself, begins to distance herself more and more from her culture. Nati and Bella, on the other hand, seem fascinated by a world that is strange to them. When the girls meet two young Kurdish patriots, the situation threatens to escalate. A film about young people caught between social media and self-discovery, a story of rebellious young women.

Director's Statement

A few years ago, an Austrian taxi driver told me he was surprised to have a person like me in his cab for once, despite the fact he had picked me up in a “foreigners’ district”. Otherwise, it was all “Turks” and “Orientals” here. I contradicted him and told him that my background was also that of a migrant. He looked at me in the rear-view mirror. The ride fell silent. I took an Uber right afterwards, where a Kurd drove me and said that Kurdistan was much nicer and warmer than Vienna. He longed for his homeland. Everything there was organic and full of love. I said I was also Kurdish. He wanted to speak Kurdish to me. I couldn’t answer him. I don’t know the language. He was shocked that I, as a Kurdish woman, couldn’t speak Kurdish. This trip also became quiet. That’s why the film SONNE came about. Because I don’t belong anywhere. And also, because I had several Austrian girlfriends who were better than me at Kurdish lessons, looked better than me in headscarves, and had a fetish for always falling in love with refugees. My beginnings in film and art revolved around self-expression and the search for belonging. Failure in searching for all this played a role in many of my works. In SONNE I tried to mix all that with smartphone and Social Media Videos. I love the aesthetics and melancholy of these videos – they take a slice of life and stick it out there in the big wide world of the internet forever, where it will probably stay in the Cloud and on some server somewhere longer than we will live.

Director's Biography

Kurdwin was born 1990 Iraq. She lives and works as a director and screenwriter in Vienna. From 2008 to 2013 she studied painting and experimental animation film at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. At the same time, she studied Performing Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 2011 and 2012 Ayub won the MehrWERT Short Film Prize at the Viennale and in 2013 the Vienna In- dependent Shorts Newcomer film prize. Seven of her works were shown in 2016 in a special short film programme at the Festival for International Independent Cinema in Buenos Aires (BAFICI), at the Seville European Film Festival (2016) and at the Viennale (2012). For her first feature-length film, the documentary PARADISE! PARADISE!, Ayub was director, author and cinematographer. The film was screened at international film festivals and won the prize for best cinematography at the 2016 Diagonale, the New Waves Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Seville European Film Festival and the Carte Blanche Newcomers Award at the Duisburg Film Week in 2016. In 2019 Ayub won the Jury Prize for best short film at the Max Ophüls Film Festival with her film BOOMERANG.

2018 - BOOMERANG, Short
2016 - PARADISE! PARADISE, Documentary

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Kurdwin Ayub

Written by: Kurdwin Ayub

Produced by: Veronika Franz, Ulrich Seidl

Cinematography: Enzo rander

Editing: Roland Stöttinger

Cast: Melina Benli, Law Wallner, Maya Wopienka

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2022