Porn starlet goes from bare to bear
20 February 2004 , HAMBURG - The star of the film that won the Golden Bear award at the recent Berlin Film Festival has gone into hiding amid death threats from her own family - because she has appeared in hard- core pornographic films. Only days after being celebrated at the festival for her role in the award-winning film "Head-On", 23-year-old Sibel Kekilli is under police protection in Hamburg, according to a published report Friday. Amid fears that members of her ethnic Turkish extended family might se
20 February 2004
HAMBURG - The star of the film that won the Golden Bear award at the recent Berlin Film Festival has gone into hiding amid death threats from her own family - because she has appeared in hard- core pornographic films.
Only days after being celebrated at the festival for her role in the award-winning film "Head-On", 23-year-old Sibel Kekilli is under police protection in Hamburg, according to a published report Friday.
Amid fears that members of her ethnic Turkish extended family might seek her out, police considered transporting her to another city, said the report in Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper. Now, however, she is said to have found refuge with unidentified friends.
The newspaper said her father, the patriarch of her extended family, had personally threatened to take her life.
The scandal has enthralled Germany's tabloid readers since the mass-circulation Bild newspaper plastered its pages with still photos of Kekilli in highly candid poses in flicks with titles like "Heavy Pecking Down on the Chicken Farm".
In fact, she appeared in hard-core productions up until late 2002 when she was picked to be in Hamburg filmmaker Fatih Akin's "Head- On".
His low-budget film, dealing with the story of a young Turkish- German woman who marries a man she does not love to escape her conservative Moslem family, became the first German picture in 18 years to win the top award at the Berlin Film Fest.
Festival organisers have been on the defensive since revelations about Kekilli's pornographic past surfaced.
"This is an outrageous and scurrilous attack on a talented young actress," said festival director Dieter Kosslick. "We fully support her and I'm not making any moral judgements. I just want everyone to know that this festival stands firmly behind her."
Kekilli's devout Moslem father, living in Germany since 1977, was tracked down by reporters and news crews, who badgered him for details about his daughter's upbringing.
"The disgrace is too great for the family," Kekilli's father said. "Sibel moved to Hamburg two years ago. I thought she was working at city hall - and now this! I can never forgive her for it. I don't want to ever see her again," he said.
Through it all, the petite actress with a child-like face has been completely candid about her chequered career.
"Yes, I did make these (porn) films. But that's the past. What counts is the Golden Bear," she told Bild.
Her 30-year-old director concedes he was also aware of Kekilli's past right from the beginning.
"I knew all about it," Akin admitted. But added he has not seen the porn flicks himself because "I wanted to direct 'Head-On' with an unbiased mind."
Known for temperamental outbursts, Akin lashed out at tabloid news coverage, calling it "bigoted and disgusting" and indirectly accusing the German media of anti-foreigner bias.
But he acknowledged it was his own fault for having under- estimated the ramifications - and not having expected that his low- budget film would come under intense media scrutiny.
"Sibel and I hoped naively that it wouldn't come out," he told a Berlin paper.
Kosslick, meanwhile, says the film festival's attorneys have been asked to come to Kekilli's rescue.
"But thanks to the media, she can't even go out of her home, she's totally besieged," he says.
Subject: German news