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  7. Audience Emancipated - The Struggle for the Emek Movie Theater

Audience Emancipated - The Struggle for the Emek Movie Theater

Emek Bizim İstanbul Bizim initiative , Turkey 2016, 48 Min., OV with English subs
Followed by a talk with Fırat Yücel and Zeyno Pekünlü

The planned demolition of the Emek cinema in Istanbul led to years of protests. This protest movement, which was documented by the activists through phone recordings, was one of the first triggers of the Gezi protests. These protests eventually gave rise to a new public consciousness, which organized itself on the streets and via the Internet, documented the events with live videos and tweets, and enabled independent reporting. Audience Emancipated takes into account the constant process of this "reporting from below". Standing in the film’s credits, next to the collective’s email address, is: "this film is an ongoing project by Emek Bizim İstanbul Bizim. As long as the struggle continues, the film's editing will continue". Film footage of the protesters, TV coverage and film clips commenting on the events are contrasted again and again throughout the film. The juxtaposition of two images evokes a third, fourth or fifth idea and a multitude of poignant political arguments. Seldom has activist filmmaking used cinematic means so cleverly, while also keeping the pulse on the times.

Zeyno Pekünlü is an artist based in Istanbul and currently running the Production and Research Program of the Istanbul Biennial (ÇAP) for young artists and researchers. She is part of the editorial board of Red Thread and member of Institute of Radical Imagination. She is also involved in the Emek Bizim İstanbul Bizim initiative.

Fırat Yücel is a film critic and filmmaker. Up until 2019, he was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the independent cinema magazine Altyazı. He is currently editing Altyazı Fasikül: Free Cinema, Altyazı's supplement focusing on the freedom of artistic expression. His filmic works include Only Blockbusters Left Alive (2016), Welcome Lenin (2016), Audience Emancipated (2016), and CemileSezgin (2020). He is part of the Emek Bizim İstanbul Bizim initiative.