Bill Nighy, Dominic West and ‘Pride’ Team Condemn Turkish Screening Ban

Several of the talent and team behind “Pride” have said they deplore the decision to ban a screening of their 2014 movie by authorities in Ankara, Turkey’s capital and second-largest city. In an open letter they condemned the ban and a crack down on the Istanbul Pride march. They called upon officials “to condemn the repressive actions of the Turkish authorities.”

The 22 signatories of the letter included director Matthew Warchus, and several actors who starred in the British-produced film such as Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and Dominic West. The activists that inspired the picture also signed.

“As members of the creative team which produced the 2014 film ‘Pride,’ and activists portrayed in that film, we are disturbed by reports of the growing repression of the LGBT+ community in Turkey culminating in the recent ban of the annual Pride parade and police violence against those who courageously defied the ban,” the letter said. “Reports that the Ankara authorities also banned a screening of the film ‘Pride’ are a chilling reminder that political authoritarianism regards artistic expression as its enemy.”

Authorities in the Ankara banned a screening of “Pride” on the grounds it “incites hatred and enmity” and there could be a “danger to public safety,” according to Hurriyet Daily News. The Istanbul Pride event also faced opposition from authorities. It went ahead on July 1 despite an earlier ban. Human rights group Amnesty International reported that police used tear gas on people taking part and that 11 people were detained.

The “Pride” movie traces the true story of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement (LGSM) and its support for British miners during their lengthy strike in the 1980s. It was in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2014 and went on to win the Queer Palm accolade. It also received several Bafta and Bifa noms.

The “Pride” movie team said in their letter that the ban on their film is “all the more Orwellian” given the movie has already played in Turkey, not least at the 2015 Istanbul Film Festival. The “Pride” team went on to say the actions of the Turkish authorities are a “salutary warning about the present political climate in Turkey.” The called upon the Turkish ambassador in London, and U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson, to condemn the moves to repress LGBT+ events.

The full list of signatories to the open letter from the “Pride” team is: Matthew Warchus; Bill Nighy; Imelda Staunton; Dominic West; Andrew Scott; Joe Gilgun; David Livingstone; Stephen Beresford; Gethin Roberts; Nicola Field; Mike Jackson; Clive Bradley; Jonathan Blake; Reggie Blennerhassett; Martin Goodsell; Colin Clews; Ray Aller; Sian James; Martin James; Jeff Cole; Richard Coles; and the Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valley Support Group.

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