A critically acclaimed film in Turkey about the murder of a gay man by his father is prompting Turkish society, once again, to examine its tolerance of differences.
Zenne Dancer is inspired by the story of 26-year-old university student Ahmet Yildiz, who was gunned down in Istanbul in 2008 in what has often been called Turkey’s first gay “honor killing.” Yildiz’s father is the prime suspect in the murder and remains on the run from police.
Film directors Mehmet Binay and Caner Alper were shooting a documentary about male belly dancers, called “zenne” in Turkish, when they got the news that Yildiz, a friend of theirs, had been murdered. "We stopped filming, but a few months later I suggested to Mehmet that we make a feature film instead, combining the two different stories,” remembered Alper.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.