Year: 2004
USA: IFC Films
UK: ICA Projects
Cast: Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Countries: Iran / Iraq
Language: Kurdish (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 95 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains implied sexual assault and war trauma
USA Release Date: 18 February 2005 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 15 January 2005 (Limited Release - London)


As the world TV networks announced the end of the war, director Bahman Ghobadi began filming the award winning TURTLES CAN FLY, starring not the media figures of the war, Bush, Saddam, or Blair - but the 'extras' - the Iraqi people. TURTLES CAN FLY is the first film to come out of Iraq since the collapse of Saddam's regime.

In a refugee camp on the Iraq/Turkish border, just prior to the 2003 US invasion, the refugees, desperate to keep abreast of the forthcoming US invasion, become obsessed with acquiring a satellite dish. Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) the accepted leader of the children in the camp and still a precocious teenager himself finally acquires the equipment the camp craves by trading landmines that the children have cleared from the area.

On meeting Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal) from a neighbouring village and himself a victim of the landmines, Satellite discovers another way of getting information: Henkov has a potent gift of prophecy. Satellite realises that Henkov's cursed gift can bring much-needed news to the camp, where technology only fails.

Three days after the collapse of Saddam's regime, Ghobadi entered Iraq to screen SONGS OF MY MOTHERLAND. Shocked by what he had seen, he returned a few weeks later to record scenes for the film that was to become TURTLES CAN FLY - the mined lands, the devastation, the injured and maimed children and the ever-worsening security situation.

Awarded the Golden Shell Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival Ghobadi says, "I wish to dedicate my film to all the innocent children in the world - the causalities of the policies of dictators and fascists."