60-year-old film festival cancelled over controversy on banned documentary
Disputes over a political documentary have led to the cancellation of Turkiye’s most prestigious film festival, the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
“I regret to inform filmgoers that we cancelled this year’s Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival scheduled for Oct. 7-14 due to events beyond our control,” Antalya Mayor Muhittin Bocek said in a post on social platform X.
At the root of the controversy is political documentary Kanun Hukmu or Decree, which tells the story of a physician and a teacher who were dismissed from their government jobs, under a state of emergency after a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.
The film was initially selected for Antalya’s Golden Orange Film Festival, but excluded from the competition last week, prompting an outcry from filmmakers and jury members who condemned the move as “censorship and threats to artistic expression”. The outrage forced organisers to readmit the documentary to the festival.
Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, however, withdrew its support from the festival accusing the organisers of allowing “terror propaganda”. The festival then eliminated the documentary again and cancelled the entire festival.
Nejla Demirci, the director of the documentary, rejected the government’s propaganda accusation, saying that none of the featured people were convicted of any crime.