A documentary film by Nevine Gerits about her Kurdish family history

‘I was raised by a Kurdish activist’, filmmaker Nevine recounts. For the last 40 years her mother, Pervine Jamil, has been running her Kurdish Bureau in Brussels. Her main activity - still today at the age of 80 – is publishing her monthly newsletter, in which she communicates about the Kurdish struggle around the world.

Nevine’s childhood was dominated by her mother's dream of a free Kurdistan. Pervine inherited this dream from her father, Ekrem Cemil Pasha, one of the founders of the modern Kurdish movement. His grandfather was a pasha in Diyarbakir but after the fall of the Ottoman Empire their family was betrayed and exiled by Atatürk.

Nevine’s mother Pervine was raised in exile where she sacrificed her life for the Kurdish cause. Will she be the last in line of this dynasty to fight for their long-lasting family legacy? Will the burden of this legacy, passed on from generation to generation, fade with the filmmaker? Nevine’s dilemma is emphasized when she gives birth, and a new generation is born.

‘The Pasha, my mother and I’ is Nevine’s personal journey revisiting her rich Kurdish family history with the help of her mother Pervine.

Filmée sur plusieurs années, cette conversation va permettre d'interroger les notions de transmission, d'héritage et d'archives, entre histoire familiale et grande Histoire. - / Fred Arends

En donnant une Mention Spéciale au film « Le pacha, ma mère et moi » le jury a voulu récompenser un film qui, partant de l’intime, suscite la réflexion sur les notions très actuelles et universelles d’identité et de transmission. Chacun de nous reçoit un héritage culturel; qu’en faisons-nous? L’accepter, est-ce se limiter dans un schéma fermé? Le refuser est- ce trahir le passé?

Et enfin, le jury a aussi voulu récompenser ce film car il pose la question de l’évolution de la notion d’identité dans une ville comme Bruxelles, ville où vivent des identités multiples et où chacun de nous a tendance à être vu -ou à se voir- à travers son genre, sa religion, son origine, sa classe sociale. - Millenium Festival

About the director

Nevine Gerits has always been interested in telling stories. At 18 she decided to study film at the Brussels School of Arts, Sint Lukas. Nevine started her career in 2000 in television work with public and commercial production companies. Between 2000 and 2015 she went from working as a researcher, editor, and reporter to pursuing her vocation as a director. 15 years of audiovisual experience have prepared her to tell her family's story.


Through my own family I want to investigate the difficulties of inheritance. Within my family the issue has become even more relevant since my activist mother is getting older and is looking towards us, my sister and I, to continue her work, her legacy.  

Over the past 20 years I have asked myself many questions related to my mother; who is she really and how did she come to be that way?  As the daughter of a very passionate Kurdish activist, I have always had a love/hate relationship with Kurdistan. Gradually I began to realize that I knew very little about my mother's past, her origins. She has probably talked about it often, but our dual mother-daughter relationship resulted in selective listening from my side. 

Today I want to stop time and look back to finally be able to look forward, now that the realization is fully there that I am the last in line. To preserve our identity, my family’s legacy has been passed down from generation to generation for over a century. How do I cope with this?

Meanwhile, I am convinced that this story is relevant to many. A reflection on identity for myself, but more so for all who recognize themselves in this story. How does one deal with the high expectations that are passed on from generation to generation?


Directed by Nevine Gerits
Writer – Nevine Gerits
Editor – Sabine Hubeaux
Dop – Nevine Gerits, Johan Legraie
Music – Stijn Ylode De Gezelle
Sound design – Jamie MacLean
Image post – Stéphan Higolan at Triangle7
Graphics – Annelies Vaes
Animation – Rachel Marino

Awards & festivals

Duhok IFF (IQ) (avant-première)
Docville Int. Documentary FF, Leuven (BE)
Millenium Festival, Brussels (BE) - SPECIAL MENTION
Filmamed Documentary FF, Diyarbakır (TR)
New York Kurdish FF (USA) - Opening film
Kurdish Film Festival Berlin (DE)
Au Écrans du Réel, Le Mans (FR)
Traces De Vies, Clermont-Ferrand (FR) - Diversity Award
Festival Film Dokumenter, Yogyakarta (Indonesia)
My First Doc, Tunis (Tunisia)

Ensor Nomination for Best Documentary Film in Flanders

Production details

Duration: 83'
In co-production with Image Cré (BE) & VRT
With Support from Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Creative Europe Media and Tax Shelter Initiative of the Belgian Federal Government via Flanders Tax Shelter

Language: French, Dutch, Kurdish, English
Subtitles: English, Dutch, French