Turkey: Tensions between film festivals and government take toll

28 October 2015

The film festival circuit in Turkey has been among the most visible casualties as the increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AK-Party) fights to stay in power, reported the film magazine Variety.

Simmering tensions between artists and the government came to a head at the Antalya film festival in October 2014, as officials sought to censor a film about the Gezi Park protests that brought Istanbul and many other Turkish cities to a standstill in the summer of 2013.

The Istanbul Film Festival in April was next to face the fire, this time for daring to show a film about Kurdish guerrillas. ‘North’ was banned under a certificate law crafted for commercial distribution. Festivals had been largely exempt from the law in practice and other films without certificates had already screened at Istanbul Film Festival when the Cinema Directorate stepped in the day before ‘North’ premiere. From that day forward, festivals were forced to take a clear stand on the certificate.

Some, such as Documentarist, chose to ignore the law and show films (including ‘North’) without a certificate, but larger festivals such as Ankara, Eskisehir, Adana and Antalya, which depend on government or corporate backing, have all upheld the certificate requirement.

» Sourced through from:

Read more:

» Artsfreedom – 25 August 2015:
Turkey: Festival director steps down after censorship scandal

» Variety – 5 June 2015:
Turkish Government Rules Chill Artistic Expression

» Artsfreedom – 16 April 2015:
Turkey: Film festival censorship controversy and cancellations

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