"This is a war. A war for these kids, a war for you, a war for Diyarbakir!" (From the Film)
The Hoop Dreams of Diyarbakir, and a powerful testament to those fleeting moments of hope despite the war.
This is the story of a basketball team, hailing from Bağlar, a district of Diyarbakir which lies at the heart of Turkey's Kurdish conflict. We spend three basketball seasons with this group of young, talented boys and their coach, a 37 year old school teacher. An idealist, Coach Yıldırım created the Bağlar sports club, bringing a new meaning to the boys' lives and hope for the future, and to Diyarbakır, a rarely experienced sense of victory. Hopefully, he will be the one to take them to the nationals, as well. We follow them during their practices, on their bus rides to games, and their pep talks before games. Bağlar subtly reveals the boys' sensitive ties to their coach, their city, to what's happening in their region, and to the Turkish state; we simultaneously feel their power and their vulnerability. After airstrikes kill 34 civilians in nearby Roboski, not so surprisingly, they lose their first game. Right alongside these boys, we long for a world where, in place of fury, fear and lasting disappointments, life can flourish.
Melis Birder received her master's degree in Media Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York. As one of the founders of inHouse projects, she has carried out independent documentary work since 2003. Among her fi lms are Crossing Brooklyn (2002), The Tenth Planet: A Single Life in Baghdad (2005), and the Sundance Documentary Fund supported The Visitors (2009). Berke Baş received her MA in Media Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York. She has been working on documentaries as a director, cameraperson and editor for more than a decade. Her fi lms deal with Turkey's pressing social issues as wideranging as illegal migration (In Transit), women's political rights (What a Beautiful Democracy!), trials of manhood (Concrete Park) and the Armenian question (Hush: La Chanson de Nahide).