Erdogan: The Dictator's Republic is a startling documentary about the stripping of democracy in Turkey produced by Heilman Productions—it made it's World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the Doc LA Film Festival hosted at Raleigh Studios on October 22, 2017. Narrated by Alfred Molina, the film follows the rise of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from his early days as a poor bus driver to eventual president of the country, as well as how he ruthlessly silenced his critics and reformed the country’s laws to give him absolute power.
Shortly after returning from filming their project, Heilman and his brother Joe were banned from Turkey after being associated with journalist Can Dundar, who wrote an expose tying the Turkish government to weapons smuggling in Syria. Dundar was forced to flee Turkey after being accused of terrorism for his journalism.
Narrated by Alfred Molina and told through the voices of Turkish citizens, Erdogan explores how a man with democratic ideals became the dictator he fought so hard to defeat.
Initially a leader that united Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on the fast track to become a model politician for the Middle East. However, just a few years later, Erdogan has eroded free speech in the region, supported international corruption, and has alienated his European allies.
Through first hand accounts from journalists who have since been imprisoned, friends of President Erdogan, and every-day civilians, this documentary is an eye-opening account of how the country slipped so far from democratic ideals, and the terrifying parallels we are seeing in the Western World.
“It was a pleasure to work on this project, and an honor to be part of something that sheds a crucial light on one of the most important moments in Turkey’s history,” - Alfred Molina
“Erodgan controls what information gets out of the country right now, so as documentary filmmakers, we thought go in and smuggle out the truth, not only to help the people of Turkey, but also to show people in America the danger of electing strongman politicians that constantly attack freedom of speech and critical opponents.” - Director Ryan Heilman