Filmmakers and Activists Unite at TRT Festival to Spotlight Global Humanitarian Struggles
Filmmakers and Activists Unite at TRT Festival to Spotlight Global Humanitarian Struggles

The TRT Humanitarian Film Festival shed light on global humanitarian issues and provided an essential platform for filmmakers to address humanitarian concerns from their unique perspectives.

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This marked the festival’s fifth year and during the event, organized by Turkiye Radio and Television (TRT), the participants engaged in in-depth discussions on significant topics including war, conflict, women’s rights, the climate crisis, and more, while connecting with film producers and industry professionals.

The Festival, aimed at shedding light on global humanitarian issues, took place the other day in İstanbul, Turkiye. The Festival also centered on other topics including migration crisis, environmental pollution, hunger, famine, homelessness, and poverty while emphasizing importance of humanity.

The TRT Special Award at the festival was presented to film “Night” by Palestinian Director Ahmad Saleh.

On the occasion, General Director of TRT, Mehmet Zahid Sobacı and Türkiye Directorate of Communications, Fahrettin Altun presented awards to the winning films at a ceremony held at the end of the Festival.

Addressing the ceremony, General Director of TRT thanked the producers and directors for their participation and said the Festival was a result of TRT’s “human-centered” approach.

“We must lift the blockade in the world’s mind,” Zahid Sobacı said and noted that they needed to bring stories of unheard cries to the world and that the TRT Special Award given to the film “Night”, tells the story of the tragedy in Palestine, was a testament to TRT’s mission.

Sobacı said, “Since October 7, Israel has been carrying out a comprehensive massacre against people of Gaza. They are committing atrocities without discrimination, targeting infants, children, women, and sick people.

Israel has been demolishing hospitals, sacred places, schools, refugee camps, and committing crimes against humanity while the West attempts to suppress and silence conscientious citizens who take to streets in support of Gaza.

“Our President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stands in solidarity with people and cries out for justice in public squares. Using all available means to strive for peace and, through his unwavering stance, he is upholding dignity of humanity,” Sobacı maintained.

Emphasizing the importance of TRT Humanitarian Film Festival project, Sobacı, said, “For years, imaginary heroes, supposed righteousness, and certain concepts have been produced from a single Center and presented to us as if they were a set of universal values. Now, we must lift blockade in the world’s mind. And here, the responsibility lies with us, with you.”

General Director TRT, further maintained, “As Türkiye’s public broadcaster, we adopt a human-centered approach in all our television and radio channels, digital news platforms, mobile applications, and international digital platform called Tabii.”

He expressed his pleasure for hosting the participants, who focus on humanitarian issues, and holding the Humanitarian Film Festival in Türkiye.

“A week ago, we celebrated the centenary of our Republic, we have been striving for the well-being of this region for a thousand years, you are in a country that has always used its power, technology, and will in favor of the oppressed,” he added.

Moreover, in his brief address, Türkiye Directorate of Communications said, “I find this festival extremely valuable, which has drawn attention to millions of people in pain and despair with the power of art.”

Fahrettin Altun, who presented the first prize and Climate Awareness award at the Festival said, “I hope this festival, which is one of the most meaningful manifestations of TRT’s human-centered broadcasting policy, has been bringing blessings to all humanity.

He said today’s world was going through an extremely critical threshold due to economic crisis, pandemics, famine, climate change, and ongoing conflicts, and emphasized, “The key to motivating us in face of humanitarian crises is not tragedies reduced to numbers or categorized; it is the ability to understand these pains and the lives of those who experience them one by one.”

He further said, “The understanding that our country never shies away from taking responsibility for global peace and stability, and the sensitivity in this regard, is very pleasing to us. The fact that our public broadcaster, TRT, has successfully translated this understanding and sensitivity into its operational field is highly satisfying.

In addition to film screenings, the Festival featured a Film Production Panel, with participation of the Jury President Derviş Zaim and its members including Ismaël Ferroukhi, Suat Köçer, Vuslat Saraçoğlu, and Reshad Strik. An Acting Workshop was also arranged with actress Pelin Karahan.

It merits mentioned here that the Festival had received applications from over 370 films from various countries including Türkiye, Iran, Germany, Palestine, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Pakistan, Hungary and New Zealand, of which 12 films were screened, and awards were presented in five categories.

The categories were Best Film, Second Best Film, Third Best Film, Climate Awareness Special Award, and TRT Special Award.

The First Place award was bagged by “Branka”, Ákos K. Kovács (Hungary) while Second Place was won by “Split Ends”, Alireza Kazemipour (Iran). Third Place award was grabbed by “Displaced”, Samir Karahoda (Kosovo). Similarly Climate Awareness Award was won by “The Sprayer”, Farnoosh Abedi (Iran) and theTRT Special Award was given to “Night”, Ahmad Saleh (Palestine).

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