Aysel Akhundova

Born in 1992 | Baku, Azerbaijan

2019: MA Screen Documentary, Goldsmiths University, London
2016: Filmmaking, at Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague

Aysel Akhundova a transdisciplinary artist, a documentary filmmaker, researcher, producer and co-organizer of the first two editions of the DokuBaku Film Festival. Aysel is also the co-founder of the Femiskop collective, a platform dedicated to forging feminist discourse in Azerbaijan. Also, she is one of the hosts of the Həyasız Kadınlar (Naughty Women) podcast.

Aysel is currently engaged in organizing weekly film clubs online Daydream Cuts, as well as producing the documentary “Strange Sea” (dir. Lala Aliyeva) about the Caspian Sea. She is also directing the experimental documentary film about Azerbaijani pop diva Aygun Kazimova.

Aysel Akhundova is Advisory Board member of Çağdaşçılar Critical Art Platform and Baku Community Space NGO.

Aysel has studied at Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and at Goldsmiths University with a Chevening scholarship.



Assistant director of “Swan-Song” (2017)
17 minutes

Artist statement of Aysel Akhundova:

At certain moments of my life
At the times of war
At the times of feeling completely disempowered
At the times of being called a member of people labeled as barbar
At the times when this notion was not contested by anyone
I felt like reclaiming this term
Changing my name to Barbar Aysel
The first part “Barbar” acting descriptive, serving as an adjective to describe the Aysel
I have a quite barbaric name
It is not a name of a saint
It is a name of untamed nature
The catastrophe of the “sel”, the avalanche the strong waterflow, the power of destruction The “Ay” before the “Sel” also acts like an adjective, subduing the meaning of these ferocious power of water
The “Ay” makes it to be a mere path of the moonlight
Thus, my name becomes less barbaric, it becomes a ray of light, moon light