FilmAmed Festival returns after a year forced stop

The AKP’s ‘hijacking’ of Kurdish municipalities meant cuts in cultural budget as well.

After being suspended for one year, renown FilmAmed Documentary Film Festival will be held this year.

The FilmAmed Documentary Film Festival (Mîhrîcana Belgefîlman a Fîlmamed) has grown to become one of the most awaited appointment for documentary directors both from abroad and the region, as well as for documentary fans.

The Festival had five previous editions, all supported by Kayapınar Municipality. The AKP government though detained many Kurdish mayors and appointed trustees to control and run the municipalities. These confiscated all properties and goods the Kurds have achieved in the areas of arts and culture. Cultural halls were virtually seized and the municipal budgets allocated to artistic and cultural activities have been severely cut.

Precisely because of the cuts the “hijacked” municipality operated to its budget, this year, the 6th FilmAmed Festival will enjoy the support of Pale Huner, Ma Music, Middle East Cinema Academy and Amed City Theater.

Kayapınar Municipality co-chair, Mehmet Ali Aydın was detained on 6 December 2016. On the 8th of December, a trustee was appointed to the municipality.

Aydin was remanded in custody on December 12 on charges of "being a member of an illegal organization”.

He was released the day of his hearing, on May 10, 2017.

FilmAmed, which held its first edition in 2011, thanks to the support of Kayapınar Municipality, was not organised in 2017 because of the pressure on then municipality. The festival will open on Thursday and will run till 27 May.

In a statement the festival organisers said:

"We have received 105 applications to participate in FilmAmed Documentary Film Festival which will take place this year, after a year forced pause.

We are grateful to all the filmmakers who sent their films to our festival and expressed their solidarity. This year, unfortunately, we will only be able to run the festival for four days, as conditions to run it for a longer period are not yet available”.

The promoters added: “We would like to have been able to screen all the films which applied this year, but unfortunately this is not possible. We apologise to all directors who have sent their work and we hope to meet you all to the next edition, which we trust could be organised in a different situation”.