ELAHA is a young woman who spends each day fighting for some autonomy on the battleground of the patriarchy. The unconditional love for her family gives her strength and at the same time makes her vulnerable. What remains is a relentless urge for self-determination.

"A heartfelt and courageous performance from 28-year-old Syrian-born actor Bayan Layla”
"A sexually candid, seriously intentioned film about what really matters to young women like Elaha"


"A coherent, consistently implemented color concept, impressive camera work, especially in the long uncut opening scene, testify to the fact that Elaha is not just a thematic film, but an all-around well-crafted piece of cinematic art.”

"Stylistically, ELAHA moves along conventional lines, but convinces with characters that seem authentic, pointed dialogues and, above all, a differentiated view of its subject matter."

“A nuanced portrait.”

"…ELAHA, one of the strongest films of this year’s Berlinale"


Elaha is a young Kurdish-German woman torn between the unconditional love for her family and her own aspirations in life. Although she cares most about having a good time with her girlfriends and taking care of her younger brother, she has to fight patriarchy while being the perfect daughter. Ultimately, she has to make a decision: To tell the truth or live a life in grand delusion. A psychological journey about emancipation that reveals that only by facing reality, we can be true to ourselves.

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Film presentation
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Director: Milena Aboyan
Genre: Drama
Tags: Emancipation, Family, Traditions, Patriarchy, Empowerment
Original title: Elaha
English title: Elaha
Country of production: Germany
Year of production: 2023
Length: 110
Color: Color
Shooting format: 4K
Screening format: DCP 2K
Original language: German, Kurdish

Subtitles: English
Cast: Bayan Layla, Derya Durmaz, Nazmi Kirik, Armin Wahedi, Derya Dilber, Cansu Dogan (Leyan), Beritan Balci, Slavko Popadić, Hadnet Tesfai, Homa Faghiri, Rebér Ibrahims
Scriptwriter: Milena Aboyan, Constantin Hatz
Director of photography: Christopher Behrmann
Production designer: Nora Balmer, Christina Mammes
Editor: Elias Engelhardt
Sound design: Perschya Chehrazi
Sound mixing: Perschya Chehrazi
Music: Kilian Oser
Producers: Matthias Greving, Igor Dovgal, Executive Producer: Kirsten Lukaczik, Creative Producers: Emina Smajić, Janina Sara Hennemann
Production company: Kinescope Film GmbH in cooperation with Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in coproduction with Essence Film SWR/Arte
Supported by: MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH, Nordmedia – Film- und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH

Film poster

Festivals / Awards

Berlinale - Perspektive Deutsches Kino - World Premiere
Lichter Film Fest Frankfurt, Germany - Audience Award
Internationalen Studierendenfilmfestival Sehsüchte, Germany
Crossing Europe, Austria - Special Mention in Section „YAAAS!“
Sprouts Film Festival, The Netherlands  
Internationales Filmfest Emden-Norderney, Germany - Norderneyer Engel 2023, NDR Film Prize for Young Talent, DGB-Filmpreis
Sydney Film Festival, Australia
Youth Film Festival Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Giffoni Film Festival, Italy
MICGénero, Mexico
World Cinema Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fünf Seen Film Festival, Germany - Perspektive Junges Kino
Elbe Dock, Czech Republic
Bucharest Feminist Film Festival, Romania
Calgary International Film Festival, Canada
First Steps Award, Germany - Götz George Young Talent Award
Riga International Film Festival, Latvia
Cinecitta International Film Festival Tilburg, Netherlands
Cine por mujeres, Spain
Jakarta Film Week, Indonesia
Kurdisches Filmfestival Berlin, Germany
Unabhängiges Filmfest Osnabrück, Germany   
Berlin Filmfest Frauenwelten, Germany
Kinofest Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore
Prix Europa Awards, Germany - Best Feature Film
Augenblick, France
Televisionale Baden-Baden - MFG-Star for Best Young Director
Duhok International Film Festival, Iraq
Sottodiciotto Film Festival, Italy - Special Mention (Bayan Layla)
Les Arcs Film Festival, France
Pune International Film Festival, India
Festival International du Film Politique, France
Angers Premiers Plans Film Festival, France - Scania Diversity Award
Filmfestival des deutschen Films, Switzerland
The Bavarian Film Awards - Best Young Actress
Glasgow Film Festival, UK
International Film Festival Mons, Belgium
International Film Festival of Ottawa, Canada
Festival del Cinema tedesco Roma, Italy
Filmfestival MOOOV, Belgium
Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival, USA
Amsterdam Kurdish Film Festival, Netherlands - Best Feature Fiction Award


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