During the 1920s and 1930s hundreds of young Turkish Cypriot girls were forced into marriage and sent abroad, affecting many families with the consequences stretching across many generations. The non-political, non-governmental organisation YEU (Youth for Exchange & Understanding) Cyprus with Nicosia Municipality and the Youth Council of Nicosia are holding a free screening of the award-winning documentary Missing Fetine directed by Yeliz Shukri and produced by Stavros Papageorghiou, Tetratkys Films, which looks at the story of Fetine.
The screening will take a place at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation with English, Greek and Turkish subtitles on Tuesday September 17 and will be followed by a Q&A with film director Yeliz Shukri, Feline’s relative Pembe Mentesh, and the producer Stavros Papageorgiou.
“Missing Fetine was made out of a need to find one woman but also to uncover the truth about an entire generation of women that left Cyprus and often never came back,” wrote Shukri on the documentary’s website.
“I was 7.5 months pregnant when we first started filming for this documentary,” she added. “It was not the ideal time to start production of a feature-length film, but when things come together as they did, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity. There was a missing generation of women that were not being sought and I was intent on finding out more.
“Why were these women married off in exchange for money? Why did so many families lose contact with these girls? Why did so many die without seeing their family and their birthplace ever again? And above all why was this not spoken of in our community? When my close friend Pembe Mentesh posted a help message on Facebook looking for information about her great aunt, I knew that it was the right time to find the answers to all my questions. This film is both personal and investigative. It follows Pembe’s personal need to find her aunt and the means of locating her in the Middle East. Pembe, despite the decades’ long disappearance of her aunt, works tirelessly to not only track her down but to shed light on the reason why she was forced into marriage and why she was not sought.”
Documentaries function as public history and Missing Fetine has shed light on the historical perspective of the time. The documentary’s strong social impact has led to the unearthing of many other similar stories which in turn enabled the creation of a photographic exhibition.
The exhibition will be available for viewing prior to the screening. Entrance may be free but organisers ask those interested to RSVP through an online link to arrange the venue accordingly. Find the online link via the Facebook event.
Exhibition, screening and Q&A session with the director, film producer and main character of the film. September 17. Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, Nicosia. 7pm. Free. Tel:22-128157