In 2018 it will be 400 years since the famous Dutch poet and playwright Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero passed away. The year 2018 has been declared ‘Bredero year’. To mark the occasion in 2019, performances of his most famous play De Spaans Brabander will take place under the direction of Gerardjan Rijnders. The piece has many characters, which make the production extra costly.
The mission of initiator, theater group De Kale, is the preservation of classic Dutch theater texts as an indispensable part of our literary heritage. Those texts must be kept alive by bringing them on the shelves. That is the only way to prevent the prevailing taste and the delusion of the day to unnotice our classic authors.
That would be an as special and undesirable form of censorship. That is what the board wants to help fight with a financial contribution so that the serious preparation of the festival can begin.
Through a related London institution, ETF has come into contact with Iranian lawyer Mehdi Khosravi, author of a thorough Persian study on the questionable judicial circumstances in his homeland. Given the impact of what he has to tell to the entire world, it would be a mistake if his story were reserved for an audience that can read Persian. For this reason, the ETF has consulted with the author to explore the possibilities of translating and publishing an English version of the book. Meanwhile the deliberation on this is progressing so well that publication at the end of 2018 is possible.
The board considers this a good example of how the ETF can act as an international safety net for special projects that other, more bureaucratically and passively operating, aid organizations often can not support.
After her contribution to the censorship series about the situation in Turkey, published under the title Bans, Jails and Lies, Fréderike Geerdink focused her sights on Iraq. Iraq scores extremely badly on international press freedom lists. It is dangerous: in 2016 six journalists were killed, both by murder and by working on the front line against ISIS. A journalist is virtually outlawed in this country. Independent journalism does not exist at all: every newspaper and every TV channel is connected to a political party. Because all those media are fairly free to tell their own colored story, an ambiguous situation has arisen. At first sight, it seems as if there is press freedom, but censorship from above and self-censorship leave little of this superficial image.
The Cultural Revolution of the great helmsman Mao Zedong is a subject on which silence is kept in contemporary China. In spite of this taboo much has been recorded about it in the course of time. Initially promising contact with a Chinese film maker, living in Japan, wanted to assemble a documentary about this subject, by means of previously recorded material (so-called footage), ended in failure.
Thanks to the intervention of Tienchi Liao-Martin of the Independent Chinese PEN-Center, ETF came in contact with Zhou Qing, an acclaimed writer and filmer, living in Germany. Based on the story of screenwriter Lu Wei (known from the film Farewell My Concubine, 1993) about his traumatic experiences during the cultural revolution, in which two teachers were beaten to death by their own students, Zhou wrote the synopsis for his film.
Almost 50 years later he detected the perpetrators and some of their fellow students. With the help of the ‘Ai Weiwei Film Team’ he managed to record their testimonies on screen. The ETF enables him financially to process this material into a documentary of which the title is already certain: I Can Not Recall. Unfortunately Zhou has to conclude that this is the attitude these days of a large part of the Chinese people towards this bloody episode of their history.