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Passed by censor

A film by Serhat Karaaslan


In the heart of Istanbul’s prison, Zakir controlls the letters prisoners receive. His average day is spent between the censorship office, his colleagues and his evening writing class. For a writing assignment, he steals a photo from one of the letters, in which appears Selma, an inmate’s wife. More than an inspiration, she becomes an obsession for Zakir. He observes her, makes up stories, and imagines the worst to the extent that he puts himself at great risk.


Universcine // Netflix


Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture
Bir Film
Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung GmbH (MDM)
Farbfilm Verleih
Bac Films

Writing residencies :
Jerusalem International Film Lab (2016), Cinéfondation Residence-Cannes (2015), Berlinale Talent Project Market (2015), Locarno Filmmakers Academy (2015), Paris Coproduction Village (2015), Scenario Workshop Award at the Mediterranean Film Institute, “MFI Script 2 Film Workshops” (2014), and the Film Development Workshop - Meetings on the Bridge/Turkey (2014)


Best Screenplay & Best Editing at IKSV, 38th Istanbul Film Festival 2019 (National Competition), Turkey
Best Film, Best Actor (Berkay Ates), Best Screenplay and Best Actress in a supporting role (Fusun Demirel) at Ankara IFF 2019, Turkey
Best Director & Best Screenwriter at Duhok IFF 2019, Iraq
FEDEORA AWARD at Karlovy Vary IFF 2019, Czech Republic
Special mention for the director at Singapore IFF 2019
FIPRESCI Prize & Panorama Award at the 32nd Panorama of the European Film Festival in Athens 2019, Greece

Technical film summary

Directed by : Serhat Karaaslan
Written by : Serhat Karaaslan
DOP : Meryem Yavuz
Original music : Chloé Thévenin
Editing : Ali Aga
Genre : Drama
Format : Feature film
Production : +90 Film Production (Turkey), Departures Film (Germany), Silex Films (France)
Producers : Serkan Cakarer, Undine Filter, Thomas Král, Priscilla Bertin, Judith Nora
Theatrical distribution (France) : Bac Films Distribution
Theatrical distribution (Germany) : Farbfilm Verleih
Theatrical distribution (Turkey) : Bir Film
International Sales : Bac Films


Berkay Ateş (Zakir)
Saadet Aksoy (Selma)
İpek Türktan Kaynak (Emel)

Festival selections

IKSV, 38th Istanbul Film Festival 2019 (National Competition), Turkey
30th Ankara IFF 2019, Turkey
Karlovy Vary IFF 2019 (East of the West Competition), Czech Republic
Duhok IFF 2019, Iraq
Singapore IFF 2019 (Competition)
Cinemed 2019 (Panorama features) in Montpellier, France
Arras Film Festival 2019 (Cinémas du Monde), France
31e mois du cinéma Turc at l’Odyssée de Strasbourg, France
Panorama of the European Film Festival in Athens, Greece
24th IFF of Kerala 2019 (Competition), India

Press review

“Passed by Censor au lineup de Bac Films”, Cineuropa (17/10/2017) To the article Bac Films Nabs Serhat Karaaslan’s Turkish Drama ‘Passed by Censor’”, Variety (17/02/2018) To the article Karlovy Vary Film Review ‘Passed by Censor’”, Variety (26/07/2019) To the article