?Film celebrating multiculturalism in Turkey makes premiere

A documentary telling its story around an orphan raised in monastery in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and Assyrian languages sheds light on mutliculturalism of Turkish society.
World Bulletin / News Desk
‘Misafir’ (Guest), a documentary film about Bahe, an Assyrian orphan left to famous Deir al-Zafaran Monastery in southeastern Turkey when he was 10 years old and spent his whole life there, was made its premiere in Mardin on Wednesday.

Deir al-Zafaran Monastery based in Mardin, a southeastern Turkish city known for multi-ethnical and multi-religious society, is an Assyrian sanctuary founded in the fifth century. Assyrians, a subgroup of mainly Orthodox Christianity speaking Assyrian ethnic language, live predominantly in southeast region of Turkey.

The documentary is about the life of Bahe, 77, who is known and called as ‘angel’ by locals. The story is told in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and Assyrian languages reflecting the multicultural nature of the local society.

The film was awarded the ‘Best Documentary’ in ‘8th Boston Turkish Documentary and Short Film Festival’, though no film festivals it has been screened in Turkey awarded the film.

Huseyin Kuzu, producer and scriptwriter of the documentary, said that the juries –which previously did not find the film deserving an award– praised it after it was awarded in Boston festival.

“I advised Haydar Demirtas, the director, to travel to Mardin, and to walk in the shoes of the local people. Insight and walking in the shoes of locals made the difference,” added Kuzu.

Priest of Assyrian Mar Behnam Ancient Church, Gabriel Akyuz, thanked the director of the film and the crew, and said they made Bahe “an immortal hero”.

“Bahe has a special place in the hearts of Muslims as well as Christians.”