Film on Turkey's Feb. 6 earthquakes draws criticism

The film “Our Personal Matter” on the Feb. 6 earthquakes in southeastern Turkey drew public criticism after photographs from the set revealed actual rubble in the Hatay province was used as a shooting location. The film’s producer defended the film and the Hatay governor visited the film set.

The producers of the movie use the actual rubble in the province and picture is taken during the shooting of the movie.

Duvar English

“Our Personal Matter,” a film under production that depicts the destructive Feb. 6 earthquakes in the southeastern provinces of Turkey has drawn criticism from the public for being "insensitive" towards the subject matter and ignoring the government’s lack of intervention. 

Public outcry grew after Hatay Governor Mustafa Masatlı visited the film set and shared photos with the crew, which revealed that the shooting was taking place at actual ruins in Hatay. 

The Hatay Earthquake Solidarity group on Nov. 4 started an online petition to demand an explanation from the film crew.

Their statement read, “The film does not consider the mental state of the earthquake victims whose destroyed city used as decoration. It also poses the risk of turning our reality into a material of fiction.”

Hatay residents criticized the film production for being “insensitive,” as the shooting took place on real building rubble that have been unmoved since the earthquake. People also criticized the content of the film, as it ignored the problematic and insufficient rescue efforts of the government, and painted a heroic image instead. 

The film’s producer Bülent Durgun on Nov. 7 responded to the criticism and said that their efforts were misunderstood. “We are making this film to make sure the earthquakes are never forgotten,” he stated.

“We are shooting in Hatay to draw attention to the ongoing problems of the province,” Durgun added. 

The film’s expected release date is Feb. 6, the first anniversary of the earthquakes. 

Two deadly earthquakes struck Turkey’s southeast on Feb. 6, one at a magnitude of 7.7 and the other at 7.6. More than 50,000 people died according to the official figures in 11 southern, southeastern, and eastern provinces.

The delayed response of the governmental authorities especially in the Hatay province, as well as the various scandals associated with the Turkish Red Crescent, had drawn criticism in the period following the earthquakes. 

The unresolved housing crisis and the lack of infrastructure repairs in affected areas continue to wreak havoc on the already afflicted communities.