On Monday April 13th the committee of the 34th Istanbul Film Festival announced the cancellation of the official national and international competitions, the national documentary competition and the festival’s closing ceremony. All this after several film-makers had withdrawn their films as protest to the last-minute ban of a Turkish documentary “Bakur” (The North), made by Cayan Demirel and Ertuğrul Mavioğlu. The film shows life in the camps of PKK militants (Kurdistan Workers Party).
The day before, just hours before the film screening, a letter from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was handed to the event organizers telling them the film did not have the necessary registration visa for screening in the festival. In Turkey, a registration visa must be obtained before a film is released in the cinemas, but it is also obligatory for any national production before it can be screened in a Turkish festival, whereas foreign productions are not subject to this requirement.
Sources: todayszaman.com, aujourdhuilaturquie.com, hurriyetdailynews.com et cineuropa.org