At 26, a Kurdish-German woman is elected the youngest mayor in Turkey. In a record 81% landslide she is elected mayor of Cizre, a Kurdish capital city that lies in the war-torn region at Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq. It is here that Leyla was born, but after her father was killed by the Turkish military, she was sent at the age of 5 to live in Germany. After more than 20 years, she returns home. Her goal is to heal and beautify the civil-war-torn city, which is enjoying a break in the violence. But on the eve of Turkey’s parliamentary elections, everything changes, and old memories become more real than ever.


Directors Note

In 2014 I read an article about Leyla Imret. A young woman at my age decides to return to the hometown of her parents. After reading her story, I wanted to know more about her motivation and ambitions. Why she went there, why this position, and what connects her with the town. I went to Cizre on research and wanted to experience her in that particular town. Here I saw her everyday life, which was new to a mayor, in an unknown town. I learned about her motivations. I knew that I had to make a film about it.


Aslı Özarslan





Cinema Release Date in Austria

Cinema Release Date in Germany










04.10.2017 / 11:25 pm






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Max Ophüls Preis

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

One World Documentary Film Festival

Movies that Matter Festival

Achtung Berlin

Crossing Europe Filmfestival Linz

Sehsüchte Berlin

DOK.fest München

Agadir International Documentry Festival

Documentary Film Festival Karlsruhe

Krakow Film Festival

Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis

Ischia Film Festival

First Steps Berlin

Duhok International Film Festival

Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival

Document 2017 Glasgow

Arab Film Festival Tuebingen

Escales Documentaires de La Rochelles








She is the youngest-ever and first female mayor of Cizre, a town located in the southeast of Turkey, where the majority of the population is Kurdish.



                  ORIGINAL TITLE    Dil Leyla

                                GENRE    Documentary

                               LENGTH    71 min.

                              FORMAT     HD, 16:9, Color

                       LANGUAGES     Kurdish, German

                        LOCATIONS     Cizre/Turkey and Bremen/Germany


                             RELEASE     2016

                CO-PRODUCERS     SWR, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

                            FUNDING     MFG Film Funding

     GERMAN DISTRIBUTOR     Essence Film

                   WORLD SALES     Filmdelights


Leyla İmret

Essence Film GmbH © 2016 | all rights reserved

She is the youngest-ever and first female mayor of Cizre, a town located in the southeast of Turkey, where the majority of the population is Kurdish.



IDFA   November '16

Max Ophüls Preis   January '17

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival   March '17

One World Documentary Film Festival   March '17

Movies that Matter Festival   March '17

Achtung Berlin   April '17

Crossing Europe Filmfestival Linz   April '17

Sehsüchte Berlin   April '17

DOK.fest München   Mai '17

Agadir International Doc. Festival   Mai '17

Documentary Film Festival Karlsruhe   Mai '17

Krakow Film Festival   Mai '17

Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis   June '17

Ischia Film Festival   June '17

First Steps Berlin   September '17

Duhok International Film Festival   September '17

Nuremberg Human Rights Film Fest.   October '17

Document 2017 Glasgow   October '17

Arab Film Festival   October '17

Escales Documentaires de La Rochelles  Nov. '17







Cinema Release Date in Austria   23.06.2017

Cinema Release Date in Germany   28.06.2017

SWR    04.10.2017 / 23:25 pm