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photo © corazón international/Hervé Dieu

Camburnu is a small mountain village in northeastern Turkey. Thanks to the Black Sea’s mild and humid climate, the villagers have lived for generations off tea cultivation and fishing in harmony with the nature surrounding them. But this idyllic environment is threatened by the government’s decision ten years ago to build a garbage landfill directly above the village. Despite protests by the mayor and the villagers, a waste facility has been built that does not comply with the most important security and building standards and since then has continued to pollute the environment through accidents and disasters. The air is polluted, the ground water is contaminated, the annual rains flush the waste down the slopes, and flocks of birds and stray dogs have besieged the village. The tea growers, whose plantations lie beneath the landfill, have lost their livelihood. The consequences are devastating and clearly evident for everyone to see and yet tons of waste continues to be dumped in the landfill every day.

In 2006 award-winning filmmaker Fatih Akin went to Camburnu for the first time to shoot the finale of his film THE EDGE OF HEAVEN in his grandparent’s home village. When he learns of the impending environmental disaster, he decides to take action in the best way he knows how. Over a period of more than 5 years, he documents the small village’s struggle against the country’s powerful institutions, and records the inevitable disasters that consistently plague this former paradise. POLLUTING PARADISE is a remarkable portrait of a Turkish community far removed from the major urban centers and a moving plea for civil courage.

Fatih Akin is an internationally successful filmmaker. He won the Golden Bear for HEAD ON in 2004 and at that time he had already completed film school, two short films, one documentary about his parents’ migration from Turkey to Hamburg, and three feature films. He then achieved international success with the drama THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (2007) for which he won the prize for Best Screenplay at the Festival de Cannes. The film also received the European Film Award and the German Film Award. For his following film, SOUL KITCHEN (2009), he was honored with the Special Prize of the Jury at the Venice Film Festival. With his production company corazón international, founded in 2004, he has produced several films alongside his own productions, including the internationally successful films CHIKO, TAKVA and MIN DÎT. He has been directing his films exclusively for his production company bombero international since 2012. THE CUT was the company’s first production and premiered in 2014 in Venice. In 2017 his film IN THE FADE with Diane Kruger and Denis Moschitto in the leading roles premiered in Cannes in Competition, where Diane Kruger won the award for Best Actress. The film also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. A selection of his films includes: SHORT SHARP SHOCK (1998), IN JULY (2000), HEAD-ON (2004), CROSSING THE BRIDGE – THE SOUND OF ISTANBUL (2006), THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (2007), NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (episode, 2008), SOUL KITCHEN (2009), POLLUTING PARADISE (2012), THE CUT (2014), IN THE FADE (2017), and THE GOLDEN GLOVE (2019).
Genre Environment/Ecology
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2012
Director Fatih Akin
Screenplay Fatih Akin
Cinematography Bünyamin Seyrekbasan, Hervé Dieu
Producers Fatih Akin, Klaus Maeck, Alberto Fanni, Flaminio Zadra , Paolo Colombo
Co-Producers Alberto Fanni, Paolo Colombo
Production Company corazón international, in co-production with NDR/Hamburg, in association with Dorje Film/Rome
Length 98 min
Format HD, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Cannes 2012 (Special Screening), Busan 2012, Lecce 2015
With backing from Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German Federal Film Fund, German Federal Film Board

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