11-10-2010

Kusturica Exits Antalya Golden Orange IFF: Competition Lineup

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ANTALYA: Serbian film director Emir Kusturica has left the 47th Antalya Golden Orange IFF following protests over his alleged comments about the Bosnian war. Kusturica has said he did not make the remarks as alleged in the Turkish press and that his comments were distorted and misquoted.

Kusturica was a member of the jury for the international competition at the festival. He left suddenly on the second day of the festival saying that his continued presence was causing disruption to the event. Protesters had gathered outside the festival hotel entrance and Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu, director of Bal (Honey) the winner of this year's Berlin IFF had withdrawn from the festival because of Kusturica's presence.

Dr Mustafa Akaydin, Mayor of Antalya and chairman of the Antalya Culture and Art Foundation (AKSAV), which is the main backer of the festival, said that he was sorry that the director had left. The Serbian director was alleged to have made remarks about the Bosnian war and the massacre in Srebrenica. But the Mayor said that Kusturica had never made the remarks attributed to him and that his remarks about Bosnia had been distorted in the press.

In a deeply moving speech Akaydin, a liberal politician, said he supported artists such as Kursturica and artistic freedom in general and that he deplored the situation that had caused the Serbian director to leave.

Bosnian cultural associations based in Turkey had earlier protested Kusturica's presence at the festival and Kaplanoglu last week issued a statement saying he would not attend the festival because of the Serbian director's presence.
In 2007 Kusturica was also a guest of the festival and gave a concert and Kaplanoglu attended the festival with his film Yumurta (Egg). There were no protests or objections.

The festival this year will screen 191 films from 35 countries in total with 14 new Turkish feature films in the national competition. With Turkish film riding high at festivals around the world journalists, festival directors and other industry insiders are watching the event to see what new talent it will unspool.

For full competition lineup see www.aksav.org.tr