New film festival explores global humanitarian issues in Istanbul

TRT World Citizen, the philanthropic arm of Turkish public broadcaster TRT, has launched a new festival dedicated to human rights. The TRT World Citizen Humanitarian Film Festival, which opened Thursday in Istanbul, provides a platform for filmmakers to explore global humanitarian issues from a unique and creative perspective.

Many events, including film screenings and interviews, will be held during the two-day festival, where the issue of being refugees, hunger, war and humanitarian issues will be discussed.

Photographer, writer, producer and director Raşit Algül, who participated in the festival with his short film “Ronaldo,” told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the film he shot in 2020 was shown at online festivals due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Featuring the story of a child refugee, Algül said: “The movie is based on an incident which actually happened to me. I was in Bodrum in 2019 for a job, and there was an intense migration flow by sea. Everything was happening in front of our eyes. We couldn’t do anything. We were just watching. I was very impressed by the news that came out there. I developed such a scenario.”

“There were great tragedies then. We were losing a lot of people and it was very sad. I shot the movie to draw attention to this.”

I have toured many festivals around the world.

“I hope my message has been delivered,” he added.

Also, expressing his happiness, Algül said: “I will watch my film on the screen for the first time here because all previous festivals were held online. It is very nice to be here now.”

Festival dedicated to human rights

Participating in the festival from Canada with the film “Air Show,” director Maya Bastian said her film is a drama showing how refugees are affected by an international air show.

“In Toronto, we have an annual air show. They fly bombers and planes over the city for fun. But we also have many, many refugees. And so how are they affected when they come from a country that has bombing? How are they affected by this fun air show that everybody goes to enjoy? Bastian added.

Highlighting the importance of the Humanitarian Film Festival, she said: “I think this is a wonderful festival. It’s very rare in the world that you see a festival dedicated to human rights.”

“So it has been amazing to meet all these filmmakers and directors and actors who are very invested in human rights because it’s so important for the world. And it’s something that the entire world can understand and needs to think about,” she said.

A total of 16 films from various parts of the world, including Turkey, Iran, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, the United States and Senegal, will be screened.

Also, interviews with the directors of the semifinal films will take place in the festival’s workshops program.

At the end of the second day, the top three films will receive awards.

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