More than one in three Turkish women have experienced domestic violence and the number of femicides is rising. Women in Turkey are fighting back.
Dartmouth Films is thrilled to announce that award-winning documentary DYING TO DIVORCE has been entered into the Academy Awards race and will now be in consideration for Best International Feature Film as the UK’s official entry, and may also be considered for Best Documentary. This is huge news for women in Turkey!
DYING TO DIVORCE investigates the shocking levels of femicide and domestic violence in Turkey
In Turkey, 1 in 3 Turkish women have experienced domestic violence, which is the highest proportion amongst economically developed countries worldwide. The film will be released to coincide with the UN Campaign of ‘16 Days of Activism’ to combat gender violence, starting 25th November https://16dayscampaign.org/ and will be released in UK cinemas from 26th November on the back of its recent nominations for both the BIFA and Rose d’Or Awards for Best Documentary.
Directed by BAFTA nominated Chloë Fairweather (School, I Do at 92) and produced by CPH:DOX F:ACT Award winner Sinead Kirwan (Still The Enemy Within, When a City Rises),developed and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, the film won the Special Jury Prize at The Golden Nymph Awards and the Best Film Amnesty International Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, and will celebrate its UK Film Premiere on 24th November, 18.30 at London’s Rio Cinema, Dalston.
Ipek Bozkurt, a courageous lawyer, fights for justice despite the danders it brings
DYING TO DIVORCE follows Ipek Bozkurt, who is determined to challenge this misogynistic trend by putting abusive men behind bars.
Working with a group of activists, Ipek is fighting to get justice for two survivors of horrific assaults: Arzu, married off at 14 to a farmer ten years her senior and Kubra, a successful and glamorous TV presenter. Arzu lost both legs and the use of her arms when her husband fired seven shotgun shells at close range after she asked for a divorce. She must try to rebuild her life to regain custody of her children, who have been taken into care.
Kubra suffered a brain haemorrhage after being attacked by her husband, two days after giving birth. Her injuries resulted in the loss of her ability to speak and walk. Her husband denies attacking her and has kept their daughter. Kubra must undergo intensive speech therapy in order to testify against him in court. Unless he is convicted, Kubra may not see her daughter again.
Ipek must fight not only against a legal system, which regularly gives light sentences to male perpetrators, but also an increasingly repressive government. After an attempted coup, there is an unprecedented crackdown on dissenting voices leaving Ipek, like thousands of other lawyers, fearing imprisonment.
Filmed over 5 years, DYING TO DIVORCE takes viewers into the heart of Turkey’s gender-based violence crisis and the recent political events that have severely eroded democratic freedoms. Through intimately shot personal stories, the film gives a unique perspective on the struggle to be an independent woman in modern Turkey.
Director Chloë Fairweather and Producer Sinead Kirwan said: “We are honoured to represent the UK for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars. After 5 years of hard work and numerous challenges, we are so proud that the creative team and more importantly the amazing women involved in campaign work in Turkey are getting this international recognition. It is particularly exciting as it comes just two weeks before the film’s UK theatrical release which will coincide with the UN’s Campaign of 16 Days of Activism to combat gender violence – kicking off on 25th November. We are pleased that DYING TO DIVORCE will now be able to draw even greater attention to the fight against femicide.”
Directed by BAFTA nominated Chloë Fairweather (School, I Do at 92) and produced by CPH:DOX F:ACT Award winner Sinead Kirwan (Still The Enemy Within, When a City Rises),developed and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, the film won the Special Jury Prize at The Golden Nymph Awards and the Best Film Amnesty International Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, and will celebrate its UK
IPEK BOZKURT & THE PLATFORM ‘WE WILL STOP FEMICIDES’
Ipek, the main contributor is a lawyer and activist for the platform WE WILL STOP FEMICIDE. The platform strives to stop femicide and ensure protection from violence for all women. The platform specifically campaigns for changes to Turkish law to ensure that women who are murdered or attacked by their husbands receive justice in the Turkish courts.
The platform’s activities take a variety of forms, from providing legal support for women and the families of those murdered, to staging demonstrations outside court and collecting data on the number of women killed. Over the years their work has gained global attention. Most recently they have been at the forefront of nationwide protests to stop Turkey’s sudden withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a human rights treaty for the prevention of violence against women.
DIRECTOR – CHLOË FAIRWEATHER
Chloe Fairweather is an award-winning director who specialises in observational documentary and the telling of complex true stories. This is her debut cinema feature. The Welsh born filmmaker started out in TV production over 10 years ago when she was selected for the BBC’s Production Training Scheme. From here she learned her craft assisting documentary directors such as award-winning filmmaker Olly Lambert.
Her first film, Mr Alzheimer’s and Me, was shortlisted for The Grierson Best Newcomer Award and was nominated for a BAFTA. Since then, she has made films for all the major British broadcasters. Her films tackle big issues through intimately shot stories and unique access. Her award-winning film, Dying to Divorce has just been long listed for a BIFA and she is in the early stages of developing a new feature length animated documentary.
DIRECTORS STATEMENT: “Dying to Divorce began when I met Arzu just weeks after her husband shot her in the arms and legs repeatedly. I was struck immediately by her unbelievable strength and horrified to understand that the terrible violence she has suffered was by no means unique. I knew I had to find out more. Five years later I still can’t believe the dramatic turns both the women’s stories and the wider political landscape have taken. This film is a testament to the bravery of women in Turkey and a record of their ongoing struggle.”
PRODUCER – SINEAD KIRWAN
Sinead Kirwan is an award-winning multi-disciplinary producer. Her first feature STILL THE ENEMY WITHIN (Grierson shortlisted, Sheffield Audience Award Winner, Focal Nominated) was screened globally. Her film DYING TO DIVORCE received a special mention at this year’s Movies That Matter Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, screened at HOTDOCS, won the Grand Jury Special Prize at The Golden Nymph Awards (Monte Carlo TV Festival) and is part of the BIFA longlist. She is also currently releasing WHEN A CITY RISES about the Hong Kong uprising that won the CPH:DOX F:ACT award in 2021 and is currently screening at Sydney International Film Festival.
ABOUT DARTMOUTH FILMS
Dartmouth Films are pioneers in Britain of independent documentaries—finding new ways of funding, making and distributing films which have impact. Recent titles include Grierson-nominated BANK JOB (Hot Docs ‘21), BFI-backed ONE MAN AND HIS SHOES (LFF, SXSW ‘20), BIFA-winning CHILDREN OF THE SNOW LAND and BAFTA-nominated A CAMBODIAN SPRING.
DYING TO DIVORCE will be released in UK cinemas from 26th November – 10th December. For cinema listings: www.dyingtodivorce.com