Turkey’s International Migration Film Festival kicked off Sunday night.

The opening ceremony began with speeches by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

Soylu said Turkey, with its historic migration experience, is one of the most successful countries in terms of migration management.

Ersoy said that in every geography where civilization is rising, immigration is exchanging.

The festival is being held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally planned to take place in southeastern Gaziantep province.

The ceremony began at 20:00 local time (1700GMT) and was broadcasted by CNN Turk as well as on the festival’s website and its social media accounts.

Eight films are vying for awards at the festival, of which Oscar-winning Syrian-US actor F. Murray Abraham is the honorary president.

The international jury will be chaired by Turkey’s celebrated filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who has won several awards including for best film and best director at the Cannes Film Festival.

“At the end of the competition, the ‘Best Feature Film’ will receive 15,000 euros (US$16,881), while the ‘Best Short Film’ and ‘Best Inspirational Scenario’ will each be awarded 5,000 euros.

Another short film will be awarded 1,000 euros in the Same Boat Short Film Competition, said the organizers.

A total of 45 films will be available for viewing online free of charge during the week-long festival from June 14-21 via through a subscription.

The festival will end on June 21 with a closing ceremony.

The opening ceremony of the festival was held in a real-time 3D virtual studio created by the digital blending of the Stonehenge monument in England and the Gobeklitepe archaeological site in Turkey.

The festival aims to stress that “migration has been a common story experienced by all nations throughout history” and to raise awareness on the issue, according to its organizers.

With Anadolu Agency its global communications partner, the festival is supported by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry and organized by the Interior Ministry under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency.

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