The 12th edition of a festival that has grown in volume and importance. You felt it immediately when you were with the Turkish organisers and their young group of volunteers – all together people from or linked to the Association of Documentary Filmmakers in Turkey: This festival is made out of passion and commitment. They want people to come to see the world, ”and the truth”, as they phrase their slogan. Entrance to the many screening places (7, including cultural institutes like the French and Italian) was free, and almost all of the screenings took place in the area of Taksim in Pera (Beyoglu). Many of the screenings that I attended were full and there were around 20 foreign guests invited – thanks to the Danish Embassy for helping the festival to cover my flight expenses.
Learning, this is what it was about for us guests, and for the organisers and their Turkish filmmaking colleagues. I was there 6 years ago and saw with great joy that Turkish filmmakers now also make films about current social and political issues, not to forget documentaries that deal with horrors of the past. At my previous visit I watched a majority of nice cultural films about life in Anatolia, rituals, legends, anthropological and sometimes touristic stuff, this time it was different with a more outspoken criticism of the society and a choice of controversial themes.
One film will stay in my mind, ”Prison Nr. 5: 1980-1984” (PHOTO) by Cayan Demiel, who tells about the undescridable horrors that took place in the prison of Diyarbakir following the military coup in 1980. Most of the prisoners were Kurdish accompanied by socialists and communists. ”Turkification” was the aim of the regime and torture was the means. I will later this month review this extraordinary documentation.