Prix du Public /
Audience Award to
David and Layla
My Marlon and Brando
(Gitmek) is at New York
Tribeca Film Festival
Bahman Ghobadi is at
Bahrain Film Festival
David Tolhildan banned
in Singapore film festival
Call from Manchester
Kurdish Film Festival
Celebrate Newroz with
Shiva Rose at David &
Layla premiere in San
Kurdish films at 37.
Film about Kurdish
female PKK leader
documentary of Yusuf
Kurdish School of
Kurdish director Hiwa
Screening of "Crossing
5th London Kurdish
Film Festival will kick off
Paris Kurdish FIlm
Festival was successful
David the Tholhildan in
Yilmaz Guney Short
Film Festival in London
Call for 5th London
Kurdish Film Festival
Shewket Amin Korki
Ghobadi is a jury in San
Sebastian Film Festival
Second Iraqi short film
Half Moon in Melbourne
Great success of Half
Moon in Spain
Bahman Ghobadi in
Half Moon in London,
France and Germany
Premiere of David &
Layla in Beverly Hills
Ghobadi will work with
Free screening of
David & Layla in Verona-
message to the festival
David & Layla at
Half Moon at Tribeca
Screening of David &
Laylat at Verona Film
The First Hamburg
Kurdish Film Festival
The Fist Paris Kurdish
Half Moon in Portugal,
USA and Germany
Melbourne Kurdish Film
Censorship from Culture Ministry; 'Turkish girl cannot fall in love with a Kurdish boy!'
KurdishCinema.com - November 6 2008
Turkish Culture Ministry’s censorship cast its shadow on
‘Culturescapes-Türkei’ festival. Swiss Tages Anzeiger
daily reported that the ministry which contributed 400
thousand Euros demanded the removal of Hüseyin
Karabey’s prize winner film ‘Leaving’. Festival director
accepted that but confessed to the paper that he regretted.
Festival director Cooiman said “I should not have taken a
step back but I tried to save the festival, there would have
been no festival without the 400 thousand Euros from
It has been reported that an official from the ministry
İbrahim Yazar wanted the film to be removed from the
festival since the film told the story of a Turkish girl falling
in love with an Northern Iraqi man.
Turkish festival marred by censorship claims
Alleged Turkish interference in a culture festival in
Switzerland results in the removal of a movie and five
articles written by leading journalists from the printed program. "I shouldn't have followed the
pressure but the pressure was so strong," says the director of CultureScapes
Claims of a censorship attempt by Turkey on a movie featuring a love affair between a Turkish
woman and a Kurdish man from northern Iraq have overshadowed the Swiss festival
The artistic director of the festival said yesterday that the movie "Gitmek" was taken out of the
printed program after a threat from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
"The Culture Ministry threatened to withdraw money if the movie was not removed from the
program. And they did it very offensively," Jurriaan Cooiman told the Hürriyet Daily News in a
Starring Turkey as "guest of honor" this year, the annual festival's 800,000 euro budget is
equally financed by the Turkish and Swiss governments. Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry
contributes 200,000 euros, with Turkey's other half coming from the Promotion Agency of the
Cooiman said he contacted İbrahim Yazar in the Culture Ministry shortly before the festival
began Nov. 1 but faced Yazar's objection.
"Terrorism is a very sensitive issue in Turkey at the moment. Soldiers are losing lives on the
border with Iraq. The Turkish public doesn't want to see their government supporting
questionable films in foreign countries. It would be a bad sign if it came out," Yazar said,
according to Cooiman.
In response, Cooiman told him "Switzerland is the wrong place to show politics. We agreed on
the program months ago and we cannot change it with such short notice."
The pressure was not confined only to the
movie, Cooiman said, adding that the
ministry also opposed five articles written
by leading journalists and a theater play,
“Çirkin İnsan Yavrusu,” telling the story of
three women: one Kurd, one lesbian and
one who wears a headscarf.
"I could only save the play in the printed
program," he said. "I warned the ministry
not to censor the articles because they are not very critical about Turkey. And the film 'Gitmek'
won a prize in Istanbul and it is just a love story," said Cooiman.
The movie and the five articles were taken out of the program. But the film will be displayed in
theaters throughout Switzerland during the festival that ends Dec. 6, while the articles are
around and some of them already have been published in Swiss newspapers.
"I did apologize in my opening speech of the festival to my partners and to the audience. I
shouldn't have followed the pressure but the pressure was so strong and so shortly before
print," said Cooiman.
Still, he praised the collaboration with the Turkish government and the Turkish Embassy in Bern
and said: "I think we should focus on the wide diversity in our program and not on the mistakes
… I work for modern Turkey and I want to show a modern Turkey."
In Istanbul, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay acknowledged that as one of the
partner countries, Turkey made some proposals about the festival program.
"Can we consider our demand not to turn a festival we financially support into a political show
as a censure, like some newspapers write?" he told a press conference yesterday. "Shall we
remain silent in the face of broadcasts against Turkey?"