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Logline & Synopsis

Project Text



Voices from a Dystopia is the documentary of the two distinct but inter-related facets of globalisation: street musicians who are strangled by the global system, forced to flee their countries to live a self-imposed exile and the city-wide devastation – “urban renewal” - they witnessed in Istanbul, triggered by the same capitalist ethos. Every year, Istanbul hosts several groups of street musicians from around the world. From the well-known corners of the world-renowned Istiklâl Avenue to underground stops and to historic neighbourhoods of Istanbul, the city is increasingly getting used to street music day by day. The reason that brings street musicians to Istanbul is not a simple passion for globetrotting. Those who make Istanbul a stage for their performances are mostly the representatives of cultures and life styles that are oppressed or marginalized by the global system. What makes them stop at Istanbul is their being forced to an exodus in the face of their freedoms being limited in their home countries. Meanwhile, Istanbul, the city that hosts street musicians, the city the street musicians chose to make their stage is going through a radical transformation.

Reinforcing its brand-city image with the notion of an “emerging capital of culture” of Europe, Istanbul is rapidly transforming into a cement dystopia that symbolizes greed and ambition. From the Third Bosphorus Bridge to shopping malls promoted as emblemas of development, from gigantic luxurious residences to cluster-housing areas and other “dream projects”, urban renewal is shamelessly destroying the cultural, historic and collective wealth of Istanbul. 
Voices from a Dystopia embarks on a journey to investigate the link between two realities: that of the street musicians who are forced to flee their countries and the horrific transformation the city they chose to sojourn is going through. 
From “symbolic performances” before the backdrop of sites of urban renewal to personal stories of the musicians, Voices from a Dystopia aims to bear testimony to the two faces – in reality the hypocrisy - of globalisation. As it underlines the feelings shared by both wandering musicians and locals, it whispers that the fate of the self-exiled musicians can very well become the future of the locals.

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