Azerbaijan

“Amazing Azerbaijan” – The Eurovision Political Film : Screening on August 25th

"Amazing Azerbaijan" - The Documentary Film. Photograph courtesy of entertainment.ie

“Amazing Azerbaijan” – The Documentary Film. Photograph courtesy of entertainment.ie

If you are in Dublin on Sunday August 25th at 13:00 (GMT) then you need to read this!

In 2012 Azerbaijan staged the Eurovision Song Contest. The capital city Baku played host to one of the biggest stagings in the contest’s history. The stunning oil wealthy city were generous hosts to all us journalists that made the annual pilgrimage to the contest. However in a documentary film produced by Aisling Ahmed and Liz Mermin, an American based in London, they claim that “behind the glitz and glamour of Eurovision 2012 there are tales of government corruption and abuse of power that have been quietly accepted by Europe in its hunger for oil”.

The movie’s makers describe the movie as follows – “The irony of the country’s evident wealth on offer for all to see at the Eurovision was the fact that it also drew attention to some of the means allegedly used to achieve it. In the build-up to the Eurovision a growing activist campaign claimed that the tens of millions spent, were a smokescreen to deflect attention from the government’s dire human rights record”.

The movie was made in Baku in the run up to and after the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. It includes an interview with the Eurovision Winner and Political activist Loreen. Other people in the movie documentary include “Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani radio reporter, who has allegedly uncovered several corruption scandals linked to Aliyev’s family; Jamal Ali, a rock musician who has performed at anti-government rallies; and Emin Milli, a writer and dissident from Azerbaijanwidely known as the “donkey blogger” for his role in a video lampooning Aliyev’s government.”  The 2013 updated version of the film shows exactly what happened to Khadija, Emin and Jamal in the months post-Eurovision.

The movie has received support from an outreach organisationin in the UK called BRITDOC. They run an initiative called the “BRITDOC/Bertha Connect Fund” where the film’s producer received a small grant to help get their film out into the public domain through host screenings and panel discussions in a number of cities around Europe. Several Human Rights groups have asked to use the film to train and inspire other activists in countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia.

One of those cities is Dublin – where in film and panel discussion with Liz Mermin (director), Aisling Ahmed (producer) and Rasul Jafarov (Chairman of Human Rights Club Azerbaijan and the ‘Art for Democracy campaign’ and member of the Civic Solidarity Platform) will take place TOMORROW SUNDAY AUGUST 25th at 13:00 (GMT) at the IFI cinema in Dublin. 

If you wish to attend, you can buy your tickets using the following IFI link

According to the film’s producer Aisling Ahmed “it feels like something is building and a younger generation are bringing with it a level of momentum and a passion for change; but they’re really up against quite a machine.”

This seems like an interesting movie/documentary and post screen discussion. We were in Azerbaijan and had a very positive experience – so it will be interesting to see if the movie reflects what we saw.

Will you be going to see the movie as it travels around Europe?

Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Source – Irish Film Institute

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