Filmmakers hold meeting for Bakur after its screening at Istanbul Film Festival canceled

Filmmakers hold meeting for Bakur after its screening at Istanbul Film Festival canceled

Filmmakers hold meeting for Bakur after its screening at Istanbul Film Festival canceled

Actors Union Chairwoman and actress Meltem Cumbul reads the press release. DHA Photo

Discussions continue over the cancelation of the screening of Çayan Demirel and Ertuğrul Mavioğlu’s film “Bakur” (North) at the 34th Istanbul Film Festival because of its lack of a proper registration certificate.

Cinema organizations and actors, who held a meeting on April 13 at the Atlas Movie Theater, launched a press release prepared by hundreds of filmmakers.

Actors Union Chairwoman and actress Meltem Cumbul, who read the press release, said the filmmakers were in determined solidarity following the ban on the film’s screening.

She said over a dozen films, as well as jury members of the national and international competitions, had withdrawn from the festival, with demands for an “uncensored festival.” All competitions, including the closing ceremony, have been canceled, she said, adding it was the first time in the history of the Istanbul Film Festival.

She said the filmmakers and cinema organizations had made many propositions to the Culture and Tourism Ministry to change censoring regulations.

 “Turkish cinema has gained much international success in recent years. One of the primary missions of the Culture and Tourism Ministry is to make and implement policies for the continuation of this rise of our cinema. In this sense, the basic responsibility of the ministry is to encourage filmmakers to produce freely and bring these productions to audiences,” she said.

Cumbul said regulations pertaining to evaluation and categorization procedures of films should be rearranged, by taking both scientific standards and international implementations into consideration.

Underlining the importance of showing Turkish films to audiences, Cumbul said, “The ministry’s decision to ban the screening of films should be lifted. The Cinema Law draft should be revised by consulting cinema organizations and implemented as soon as possible. Work should start for the formation of the Turkish Cinema Institution.”

Cumbul also called for Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik to hold an urgent meeting with cinema organizations to change current cinema regulations.

The press release has been supported by the !f Istanbul Independent Films Festival, the Ankara Cinema Association, the Ankara International Film Festival, the Documentary Filmmakers Union, the Contemporary Movie Actors Association, the Filmmor Women’s Films Festival, the Istanbul Film Festival, the Istanbul International Short Film Festival, the Cast Union, the Cinema Workers’ Union, the Cinema Writers Association, the Turkish Foundation of Cinema and the Audiovisual Culture and Flying Brooms Women’s Films Festival as well as Kadir İnanır, Mert Fırat, Biket İlhan, Ezel Akay, Derya Alabora, Ferhan Şensoy, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Murathan Mungan.

Competitions, closing ceremony canceled

The film “Bakur,” featuring the daily life of members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK), was pulled from the festival at the last minute before its April 12 screening, stirring up a “censorship” row after an intervention by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Following the cancelation of the screening, the festival announced that screenings of other films at the festival would continue, but a majority of films in the National Competition, the National Documentary Competition, the International Competition, the Cinema in Human Rights Competition, the Out of Competition and the New Turkish Cinema sections have decided to cancel their festival screenings. In addition, the National and International Golden Tulip Competitions, the National Documentary Competition and the closing ceremony are all to be canceled.