Shadow of the Holy Book

Immoral companies do business with the dictatorship of oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan, thus helping to hide its human rights and free speech abuses.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
September 14, 2009
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
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    2007 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)-Joris Ivens Competition Selection
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    2008 Taiwan International Documentary Festival-Audience Choice Award
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    2008 Batumi International Art House Film Festival, Georgia-Jury Special Prize
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    2008 International 1001 Documentary Film Festival, Turkey-Honorary Recognition
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    2008 The Finnish State, Finland-Quality Production Award
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    2008 European Film Academy-Prix Arte Award
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    2009 International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH)-Grand Prix Award
  • Producer/Director

    Arto Halonen

    Arto Halonen has directed numerous films, including the documentary films Pavlov’s Dogs, Conquistadors of Cuba, The Tank Man, The Star’s Caravan, A Dreamer and the Dreamtribe, and Karmapa – Two Ways of Divinity. In 2005 the Minister of Culture in Finland awarded Arto Halonen the Finland Prize, the highest annual prize in the arts given by the Ministry of Show more Culture and the state. Among other prizes, he has received the Humanitarian Award of the European Union in 1998. Halonen is also the founder and the first festival director of the DocPoint, the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival. Show less


    Kevin Frazier

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    The Film

    Turkmenistan has some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves in the world — along with one of the worst records on human rights. Western companies long supported the country’s dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov (who called himself Turkmenbashi), through translating and praising the Ruhnama, his book of social and political propaganda and revisionist history. Shadow of the Holy Book explores how some companies use the Ruhnama to gain access to the country’s rich resources.