13 April 2015
ANF - Istanbul
The film: “A Guerrilla Documentary: Bakur (North)”, which was in the programme of the 34th Istanbul Film Festival, was prevented from being screened on the pretext that “there is no registration document”. The film was planned to be screened in the Atlas cinema in Beyoglu, Istanbul.
Bakur, directed by journalist Ertugrul Mavioglu and Cayan Demirel and produced by Ayse Cetinbas was not allowed to be screened on the grounds of not having a registration document. The organizing committee of the Istanbul Film Festival has issued a statement regarding the ban, saying that a registration document is a must for the films to be screened according to the relevant law, and added that the movie Bakur will not be shown in the framework of the festival due to that reason. The organizing committee further said if a registration document is submitted in the coming days, showing of the film will be rescheduled and will be announced to the public.
The statement further drew attention to the fact that international films are exempted from this requirement by the law and the Organizing Committee thinks that the same exemption should be valid for domestic movies as well in festivals. The statement said the Organizing Committee has several times communicated this demand to the Ministry of Culture, however the law still holds so that the Committee has to enact it.
Following the censorship many filmmakers withdrew their films and the juries also reacted strongly and withdrew from the festival. In the latest statement the organizing committee has said they are cancelling the event. The Turkish Ministry of Culture has blamed the festival for not heeding the law and regulations and claimed that the film is 'terrorist propaganda.'
The 92-minute documentary, “A Guerrilla Documentary: Bakur” starts with the historic call of the Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan that was read out at Newroz on 21 March 2013 in Amed and films the HPG guerrillas’ withdrawal from Turkey, and features interviews with the guerrillas. The movie also includes scenes showing the daily life of HPG guerrillas.