Sunday, October 20th   I    1:30 PM    I    Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas

90 Minutes   I   Canada   I   Ontario Premiere

Join us for a panel discussion after the film with Co-Director Sami Mermer in attendance,

Moderated by Craig Damian Smith, Associate Director of the Global Migration Lab. 


Sami Mermer, Hind Benchekroun


Sami Mermer


René Roberge


Sami Mermer, Hind Benchekroun

A small village in Turkish Anatolia slowly becomes a ghost town as families move abroad, leaving behind a group of dedicated women who keep things running, in this rare document of the hidden consequences of migration. 


Xalko has been bleeding men as many of the village’s males have gone off to Europe or America, under the pretence of finding work or to start new lives altogether. Most don’t return for years at a time, leaving their wives and children alone to continue difficult, sometimes impoverished, lives in the town. It’s in these women that Xalko comes to life. They work the livestock together and make bread to feed their families while joking about their absent husbands. 


Xalko is Director Sami Mermer’s birthplace, as he returns from his new home in Canada to reconnect with his relatives. Along with the help of Co-director Hind Benchekroun, the film is afforded an intimacy and honesty that doesn’t come easy as the women divulge the details of their private lives and frustrations. They eschew sentimentality for a grounded look at an increasingly unfamiliar way of life.

Join us for a panel discussion after the film, presented in partnership with The Global Migration Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy



Language: Kurdish, Turkish with English Subtitles 


Co-presented with The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy’s Global Migration Lab

Enjoy This short clip below:




Born in Turkey and based in Montreal, Sami Mermer first directed The Box of Lanzo (2006), a documentary about homeless poeple in Michigan, USA. In 2010, he also shot and co-directed Turtles Do Not Die of Old Age with Hind Benchekroun, which won the Grand Prize at the International Film festival of Tétouan in Morocco as well as a Jutra nomination at Les Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois. Their last film Callshop Istanbul, produced in 2016, traveled to 25 festivals around the world and won several prizes: Grand prix 2M, Prix des droits humains at Fidadoc (2016); Best documentary at Duhok film festival and Best documentary at Golden Tree Film Festival. The film was also nominated for best editing and best documentary at Gala-Québec Cinéma in 2017.




Hind Benchekroun co-directed her first feature length documentary, Turtles Do Not Die of Old Age, with Sami Mermer in Morocco. The film is a Jutra nominee and received a special mention at Les Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois. It also won the Grand Prize at the International film festival of Tetouan. Their last documentary Callshop Istanbul played at several festivals around the world (Ridm, Hot Docs, Dok Leipzig, Jihlava, Carthage, Rotterdam, etc.) and won a variety of prizes. The film was also nominated for best documentary and for editing at Gala-Québec Cinéma in 2017.

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