International Migration Film Festival features Documentary “EnstANtane” on Syriac Migration

TURKEY – The documentary “The Instant / EnstANtane“ which deals with Syriac migration from Turkey will be featured until 21 June at the International Migration Film Festival. The documentary EstANtane depicts events in the Syriac town of Azekh (Turkish: Idil), Şırnak Province, in the 1980s, the subsequent migration of the Syriacs and seeks underlying migration reasons. All this, on the basis of a snapshot photo of young Syriacs from Azekh taken 30 years ago.

The documentary was made and directed by Turkish filmmaker Hakan Aytekin who found the photo on social media and followed the photo and the people on it. Aytekin: “the documentary is about the Suryoye (Turkish: Süryani), one of the historical riches of peoples in Turkey – which is disappearing from Turkey since the migration wave started at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although they are together in the picture, almost all of them now live in different cities. The thing they have in common is their remembrance to Turkey and Idil as the centre of their childhood, which they cannot forget.”

Azekh lies on the edge of the Tur Abdin region of Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia). The town has different ethnic groups, Arabs, Kurds, Yazidi’s and Syriacs. Although in the sixties it had thousands of Syriacs living in the majority Syriac town centered around the church of the Virgin of Azekh, the current number of Syriac families can be counted of one hand. The many destroyed ruined churches are evidence of the rich and ancient history of Azekh as a Syriac town. The Azekh diaspora is scattered all over the world with large communities in Syria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

This year’s International Migration Film Festival is organized by the Turkish Interior Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Tens of films are available for viewing online free of charge via www.festivalscope.com through subscribing (film screening is closed for abroad but can be viewed by selecting Turkey). The International Migration Film Festival, which every year is held in a different country, was launched by the United Nations Migration Agency in 2016. The festival features films and documentaries portraying migration in all its aspects and aims to inform, educate, entertain, and provoke debate about migration.

The trailer of “The Instant / EsntANtane” can be found on the Festivals’ website Here.