Shadow of the Holy Book


Pyhän kirjan varjo
Shadow of the Holy Book

90min, Finland, 2007

Shadow_of_the_Holy_Book.jpg
Original title: Pyhän kirjan varjo
English title: Shadow of the Holy Book
Script: Arto Halonen, Kevin Frazier
Photography: Hannu Vitikainen, Arto Halonen
Editor: Samu Heikkilä
Sound: Martti Turunen, Samu Heikkilä
Production: Arto Halonen / Art Films Production AFP Oy

Turkmenistan is a closed dictatorship with great oil and gas reserves. The now deceased dictator Saparmurat Niyazov wrote the Ruhnama, also known as The Book of the Soul, as guidance and law for his citizens. Ruhnama restricts freedom of speech as well as human rights and, despite the dictator’s death, the book is still a significant influence in the country.
 
In hope of business opportunities, international corporations have started translating the propaganda-filled book. Appreciating the book has helped corporations attain significant agreements with the rich dictatorship.
 
Western co-operation has helped Turkmenistan maintain the dictatorship and silence the opposition and non-conformists. Shadow of the Holy Book raises questions about the moral responsibility and obligations of large corporations. Are greed and profit to undermine human rights?
 
The film was one of the most screened documentaries at international film festivals in 2008. The film has raised much discussion around the topic, and many human rights organizations as well as governments have started examining their own actions in relation to these issues.
 
Text: Emma Taulo
 
Awards
 

- Nomination for the Best European Documentary Prix Arte Award, European Film Academy 2008

- Special Prize of the Jury, Batumi International Film Festival 2008
- Audience Award, Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2008
- Honorary Award, 1001 Documentary Film Festival, Istanbul 2008
- State Quality Award 2008
- Grand Prix in section Dossiers et Grands reportages, Festival International du Films des Droits de l´Homme (FIFDH) de Paris 2009
 
- JurnalTV Special Prize & Special Mention of the Jury, Cronograf Documentary Film Festival, Chisinau, Moldova 2010 

Screenings: 

92YTribeca
June 11th at 8.30 pm

Scandinavia House
June 13th at 7 pm