Dire straits of Syrian refugees focus of Turkish film


A new film directed by Olgun Özdemir focuses on the arduous experiences faced by Syrians who sought refuge in foreign countries while fleeing war

Director and scriptwriter Olgun Özdemir's new film "Mor Ufuklar" ("Purple Horizons") is a harrowing account of the experiences of the Syrian people who fled their country while struggling to survive, bringing the raw experiences of refugees to the silver screen.

Produced by Osman Subaşı, "Purple Horizons," stars Zeynep Sevil Yılmaz, Numan Çakır, Ece Özdikici, Dilek Serbest, Adem Yılmaz and Baki Çiftçi and was filmed in several regions of Turkey, including the district of Bozdoğan in Aydın province, Gökova in the southwestern Muğla province and various districts of Istanbul. After premiering at the Antalya Film Festival under the festival theme "Mediterranean Blues," "Purple Horizons" will hit the theaters in 2017 after competing in various film festivals worldwide.

Movie producer Subaşı spoke with an Anadolu Agency (AA) news correspondent about the film, said the production of the film was centered on giving a voice to the silent cries of the Syrian people. Claiming that the West disregards what is happening in Syria with the same indifference shown toward wars in all Islamic countries, Subaşı said: "The apathy of the West does not surprise us at all. Our goal in creating this film was to reach out to the Western world, to those who have become desensitized to the problems faced in Islamic countries. Has the West show any reaction to what is happening in Palestine or to the Bosnian War that broke out right under their [noses]? It is very tragic and even comical that the West accuses [Turkey] of committing genocide [against the Armenians] while images of the Srebrenica Massacre genocide, the crimes committed by NATO soldiers and the taciturn Western response to these human tragedies are still fresh on our minds."

Subaşi further noted that the images of what happened in Egypt's Tahrir Square will not be forgotten, saying, "Considering all that has happened throughout the years, the indifference of the West comes as no surprise to us."

He went on to say the good consciences of the Turkish people put the minds of Syrian refugees at ease, claiming that Turkey is the only country which has shown sympathy to refugees, citing the daily plights of refugees as the film's central theme. Subaşı said by basing the film on a true story and blending that story with fictionalized elements, producers were able to create a film that will draw attention to the problems faced by refugees while pointing out that the poetic language of the film scripts helped them accomplish this goal: "Our main objective was not to make a blockbuster film and see millions of people flock to theaters; to the contrary, we simply wanted to give substance to statements made by our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan using the [poetic] language of film," he added.

Subaşı said efforts to reach the target goal in a short amount of time are ongoing in the context of the latest developments in the art community.

"The entire film crew was very emotional during the production phase of the film. Everybody was aware of the film's main objective and this awareness was felt during filming. There was a scene during which the character played by Adem Yılmaz was searching for his passport. Once the filming of the scene was finished, everybody on the set was in tears. I believe that these emotions will also be felt by the audience and we will receive positive feedback," Subaşı said.

Producer Subaşı informed that the local people and the refugees also starred in the film. "We have a matchless history. We want to put forth the incidents that took place in our history and which might direct us in the future on the screen for the people of Turkey as well as the world."

Subaşı, calling for solidarity, said: "Be sure that nobody is aware of the existence of the Syrians except for the Turks. Let's not forget that a European journalist kicked a Syrian father who was trying to cross the border for a better life. Even through the rest of the world continues to ignore them, Turkey will continue to be a safe haven for those who are oppressed because Turkish traditions, history and culture teach us to protect those in need and not to question the identity of people who are seeking our help."

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