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Dying to Divorce – In Conversation with Chloe Fairweather

DYING TO DIVORCE is a documentary film that investigates the shocking levels of femicide and domestic violence in Turkey, which continues to resonate worldwide. In Turkey, 1 in 3 Turkish women have experienced domestic violence, which is the highest proportion amongst economically developed countries worldwide. The film was released to coincide with the UN Campaign of ‘16 Days of Activism‘ to combat gender violence. J.Allan Longshadow spoke to Director Chloe Fairweather:

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 celebrated its UK Film Premiere on 24th November, 18.30 at London’s Rio Cinema, Dalston.

More than one in three Turkish women have experienced domestic violence and the number of femicides is rising. Women in Turkey are fighting back. DYING TO DIVORCE follows Ipek Bozkurt, a courageous lawyer, 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.”

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Jan Longshadow
I am a coach, mentor, author and radio presenter with a passion for positivity. I founded Motiv8.me in 2016.

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