Magazine article Variety

The Year of Living Censoriously

Magazine article Variety

The Year of Living Censoriously

Article excerpt

Under normal conditions the 22nd annual Golden Boll Film Festival in Turkey's southeastern city of Adana would have been celebrated with galas, concerts and parades in September. Under normal conditions, its chief rival, the recently redubbed Antalya Inti. Film Festival, would have been held in October. Azize 'Em would be gearing up for her 10th year at helm of the country's largest cinematic event, the Istanbul Film Festival, and Cem Erkul would still be head of the Cinema General Directorate. But conditions in TYirkey have been anything but normal this year, and the festival circuit has been among the most visible casualties as the increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AK-Party) and prime minister Tayyip Erdogan fight to stay in power.

The government has stepped in to ban films screening at festivals, and in the case of the Antalya film festival last October, ruling AK-Party officials tried to ban Reyan Tuvi's "Love Will Change the Earth," about the Gezi Park protests that brought Istanbul and many other TYirkish cities to a standstill in summer 2013. They backed down, but 11 of the 15 docs - and the doc jury - withdrew from the fest.

At April's Istanbul Film Festival, out-of-competition documentary "North," a film about Kurdish PKK guerrillas - a group that the Turkish government is fighting - was banned because it lacked a formal registration certificate. Most feel it was banned because it showed Kurdish rebel fighters in a humanizing light. …

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