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Hold Still will compete in the 43rd Istanbul Film Festival


27 years and counting... Families whose sons and brothers disappeared at the hands of state forces in the Dargeçit district of Mardin in 1995 are fighting for truth and justice within the Turkish judicial system with the help of their lawyer Erdal Kuzu and the Human Rights Association. They travel for hours to each hearing of the trial, which finally began in 2015. While breaking the state’s wall of impunity may seem impossible, “the truth is out there for those who want to see it.”

Hold Still (Dargeçit), a feature-length documentary supported by Hafıza Merkezi, has been selected for the National Documentary Competition of the 43rd Istanbul Film Festival. Dargeçit will be one of the ten local documentaries competing at the festival this year.

The festival screenings of Hold Still will be held on Saturday, April 27th at 4 pm at Beyoğlu Cinema and on Sunday, April 28th at 1:30 pm at Kadıköy Sinematek. The general sale of tickets will start on April 5 through the Passo application. 

Directed by Berke Baş and produced by Enis KöstepenHold Still was shot between 2018 and 2022. In 1995, seven people were forcibly disappeared in Mardin’s Dargeçit district. The documentary follows the court process of the Dargeçit JİTEM Trial, opened after years of struggle by their relatives, their lawyer Erdal Kuzu, and the Human Rights Association. It focuses on the last five years of the trial, which began in 2015. At a time when we face the risk of the dismissal of cases regarding the gross human rights violations committed in the 1990s due to the 30-year statute of limitations, we aim to raise the voice of the struggle against impunity through Hold Still’s distribution.

Hafıza Merkezi has been monitoring the Dargeçit trial as part of since 2015. The course of the trial, including the political atmosphere that made it possible for these indictments to be drafted and how the trajectory changed over time, opens the door to multi-layered debates on impunity, confronting the past, conflict resolution, justice, and the search for truth in Turkey. We hope that Hold Still will contribute to the expansion of these debates and become a part of the memory of the human rights movement as a documentary that honors the resilience of the struggle for this cause.

To this end, following the Istanbul Film Festival, a series of screenings will be organized in Diyarbakır, Mardin, Şırnak, Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir to bring the film to more audiences. These screenings will take place in May and June and will be the first public event of an impact campaign we have been planning for some time, supported by the CultureCIVIC Programme.

Hold Still won a documentary film grant from Canada-based The Alter-Ciné Foundation and has been featured in various national and international documentary film platforms. Some of these are:

  • İstanbul Cinema Network Documentary Meetings (2019)
  • MakeDox - MakeCoProDox Forum (2022) Documentary Association of Europe Mentoring Award
  • Antalya Film Forum Belgesel Work In Progress (2022)
  • MEDIMED, Anti-Pitch (2022)
  • ZagrebDox Pro 2023: Dox of War (2023)

We invite individuals, initiatives, and institutions who would like to screen Hold Still in collaboration with Hafıza Merkezi in the coming months to contact us at