Fatih Akin gets Douglas Sirk Award as his film on Genocide screens

Fatih Akin gets Douglas Sirk Award as his film on Genocide screens

PanARMENIAN.Net - This year Filmfest Hamburg honored Hamburg-based film director Fatih Akin with the Douglas Sirk Award, according to the festival’s website.

“By presenting the Douglas Sirk Award to Fatih Akin, we would like to recognize his work both as a director and as a producer. His films, which are strongly rooted in Hamburg, have put the city on the world map of cinema. He has set an example for a whole generation of filmmakers – both in Turkey and in Germany. His films were a starting point of a whole movement of German filmmakers of Turkish origin”, says festival director Albert Wiederspiel about the reasons for this choice.

The award was presented at the occasion of the German premiere of Akin’s new film “The Cut” on Saturday, July 27.

“The Cut” tells the story of an Armenian man, Nazareth Manoogian, who after surviving the Genocide learns that his twin daughters may be alive, and goes on a quest to find them. Nazareth’s journey takes him from his village Mardin to the deserts, to Cuba and finally North Dakota. Nazareth, who is a mute, is played by Tahar Rahim. Other cast members include Simon Abkarian, Arsinee Khanjian, Akin Gazi and George Georgiou. The script is written by Akin himself and Mardik Martin. The film is in English, and runs for 138 minutes.

“The Cut” completes Akin’s “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy which began extremely successfully in 2004 with “Gegen die Wand” ("Head-On") and was continued with “Auf der anderen Seite" ("The Edge of Heaven") in 2007.

The prestigious Douglas Sirk Award is presented annually since 1995 to a personality who has made outstanding achievements within film culture and film industry (previous award winners: Tilda Swinton 2013, Kim Ki-duk 2012, Andreas Dresen and Peter Rommel 2011).

Fatih Akin is one of the most successful film directors in Germany. Gangster films, family sagas, love stories or road movies - Akin’s films defy any boundaries set between genres and stand for young, unconventional cinema.

Akin was born in Hamburg in 1973, son of Turkish immigrants. On completing high school, he studied Visual Communications at the Hamburger Hochschule für bildende Künste (HfbK). His debut as a film director was in 1998 with “Kurz und schmerzlos” ("Short Sharp Shock"). For his fourth film, “Head-On”, Fatih Akin was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, the German Film Award and the European Film Award. In 2005, he was a member of the jury at Cannes International Film Festival, where he also celebrated the world premiere of his film "Auf der anderen Seite" ("The Edge of Heaven") in 2007. The film received the Best Screenplay Award.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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