11 documentaries withdraw from Golden Orange festival amid 'Gezi' censorship claims

11 documentaries withdraw from Golden Orange festival amid 'Gezi' censorship claims

11 documentaries withdraw from Golden Orange festival amid Gezi censorship claims

The Antalya Golden Orange Festival is Turkey's most important film festival.

Eleven documentary films have withdrawn from the 51st Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, as debate over "censorship" continued.

The films were scheduled to compete in the documentary category of the festival, a category that includes 15 films in total.

Producers and directors of the withdrawn titles announced the decision through director Reyan Tuvi’s social media account.

Tuvi’s documentary “Yeryüzü Aşkın Yüzü Oluncaya Dek” (Love Will Change the Earth), had become the focus of censorship claims when it was removed from the festival’s National Documentary Competition, on the grounds it violated articles 125 and 299 of the Turkish Penal Code on defamation of the president.

A compromise was reached and the film, which focuses on last year’s Gezi protests, returned to the festival program, after Tuvi removed the translation of a Turkish swear word from the documentary’s English subtitles.

However, Tuvi has again withdrawn her documentary along with the other 11 films on Oct. 8.

In a joint statement, the producers and directors of the documentaries said the crisis had been "mishandled" by the festival committee as it had failed to take responsibility, leading to disagreements.

“The main point was the film's evaluation according to the Turkish Penal Code, thus legalizing censorship. A discussion was stirred that divided the cinema world,” it added.

With the festival only days away, the statement said they had abandoned hopes that the problems would be properly understood and resolved in time.

“Holding the festival is very important to us, but we find it serious that there was no awareness of the censorship with regard to our films,” it added.