Aylan Baby has begun shooting in the southwest of the country, where the child’s body was found. Subsequent photographs highlighted the plight of migrants who die in the Mediterranean while trying to seek asylum in Europe.
The film is directed by Omer Sarikaya whose autobiographical drama, Islamophobia (2018), encouraged cross-religious tolerance and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. Aylan Baby – whose subtitle appears to be “Sea of Death” – will feature another 80s action star, Steven Seagal.
Sarikaya told a Turkish news agency that when he first saw the photographs, “I couldn’t sleep for a while. It was always on my mind.”
“I was thinking, ‘Hopefully, someone will shoot a film about it and send a message to the world’ but nobody has done it so far. I am doing it now.”
The film is set for release in Bodrum, where it is being shot, on 2 September, indicating a very fast turnaround for the edit and post-production. Profits from the film will be donated to humanitarian aid, said the director.
Alan, whose name was initially reported to be Aylan, died along with his brother, Galib, and mother, Rehana, after the small boat on which they were travelling in the hope of reaching the Greek island of Kos capsized about five minutes into the voyage.
His body, along with that of another child, was spotted in the shallows and moved to the beach, where they were photographed by a press photographer.
The image was widely circulated on TV, social media and on the front pages of newspapers and was credited with widening international appreciation of the migrant crisis. Heads of state commented on the tragedy and a 15-fold increase in donations to charities such as Migrant Offshore Aid Station was recorded within 24 hours.
The role of Alan’s grief-stricken father, who was also on the boat, became the subject of considerable debate in the months following the accident. Earlier this year, Abdullah Kurdi renamed a German rescue boat in honour of his son.
Photographs released earlier this week of a Mexican toddler, Valeria Ramírez, who drowned in the Rio Grande alongside her father, Oscar, in an attempt to reach the US, have drawn comparisons with those of Alan.
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