Ekrem Serdar


Voted for

Sambizanga1972Sarah Maldoror
The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
I am Somebody1970Madeline Anderson
YOL1982Serif Gören
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Kurak Günler2022Emin Alper
Dema Dirîreskan (Blackberry Season)2021Hasim Aydemir
There Is No Evil2020Mohammad Rasoulof
Poosteh2009Mostafa Al-Ahmad
3 Faces2018Jafar Panahi


Kurak Günler

2022 Turkey, Germany

The producer of the film, Çiğdem Mater, was initially arrested in November 2018 in the crackdown against people and organizations connected to philanthropist Osman Kavala and the 2013 Gezi Park protests. In April 2022, Çiğdem Mater was among seven defendants connected to Kavala who were sentenced to 18 years in prison for ‘aiding his crime’.

More info:


Dema Dirîreskan (Blackberry Season)


The editor of the film, Erhan Örs, was arrested in June 2022. From prison, he wrote that his work as an editor on certain films was given as a reason for his arrest.

More info (in Turkish):


There Is No Evil

2020 Iran, Czech Republic, Germany

Mohammad Rasoulof was arrested with Mostafa Al-Ahmad in July 2022 for social media posts they made that were critical of the Iranian government.

More info: https://www.indiewire.com/2022/07/iranian-filmmakers-arrested-mohammad-rasoulof-1234740239/



Mostafa Al-Ahmad was arrested with Mohammad Rasoulof in July 2022 for social media posts they made that were critical of the Iranian government.

3 Faces

2018 Iran

Jafar Panahi was arrested five days after Mostafa Al-Ahmad and Mohammad Rasoulof while visiting the prison to inquire about Al-Ahmad and Rasoulof's conditions.


Further remarks

I’m thinking how I first used this poll when I was in high school, thanks to the playwright Memet Baydur and his son. I saw a film I knew and loved, saw who else voted for it, and then learned of more films which I now know and love. Accordingly: five filmmakers you are probably aware of, whose name probably grace other voters lists: Anderson, Akerman, Güney, Maldoror, Pontecorvo. Five more: films by filmmakers and film workers who are currently in jail, which seems the most utilitarian use of this list, for me at least, and perhaps for some others this year. For each of them, I listed their most recent work. In some cases, as I have noted, it is not the director who is imprisoned, but an editor or a producer.

These aren’t the only people involved in making films who are in jail, but five who are on my mind. Noting that these people are based in Iran and Turkey, I can’t help but imagine a common hypocritical Westerner, who will tsk-tsk the horrors abroad while ignoring what's happening in their own back yard. After all, I work a short walk away from the Erie County Holding Center (the second largest in New York state), and a 40-minute drive away from the Buffalo (Batavia) Service Processing Center, run by ICE, both of which have inflicted numerous cruelties on their prisoners, in addition to imprisonment.

This is not just a little stunt to draw attention to their cases and introduce you to the work of these people, but also a way of asking you to consider how you approach films: to take more than a distant and/or alienated view of our relationships with films and their makers (though that is also needed on occasion.) It is not surprising that I focus on incarcerated filmmakers: I grew up, like many others, seeing the Kurdish filmmaker Yılmaz Güney as the only filmmaker from Turkey in such lists. He was imprisoned, fled, and died far from home. I think of people's homes as I write this, and how their incarceration has impacted their friends, colleagues and loved ones, and how it impacts the choices artists and filmmakers make, ripples and waves.

I could easily populate this list with the many amazing filmmakers and artists who I’ve been lucky enough to work with, but choosing them to be part of this is somewhat contrary to how I approach my job. I have no doubt many of them are on some people's lists, or will be in the future. I’m already excited by the many wonderful younger artists whose work I get to see grow, and the futures of the forms and lives they envision.

One bit of joy that wouldn’t make much sense for me to programme in my current position, and which is unlikely to find a place here otherwise: Yuen Woo Ping’s Dreadnaught (1981) features some of the most joyous on- and off-camera choreography, from Yuen Biao’s stunt work to the speed and deliberation of the zoom lens operator. It's a lovely way to imagine everything beyond the lens's field of vision, an entire production team dancing and moving.