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The Festival on Wheels travels to Skopje

Organized by the Ankara Cinema Association and supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Festival on Wheels is taking the road for Skopje (18-20 December 2009) with a van load of films for the 15th time.

The Festival on Wheels will begin this year's itinerary on home ground in Ankara. After inspiring audiences in the capital's Batı Cinema from 4-10 December, the festival will move on to Artvin on 11 December. As of this year, the international competition will be held with the support of the Municipality of Artvin; this follows a three-year stint in Kars. The International Film Competition will feature the Gold, Silver and Bronze Bull Awards and is scheduled to end on 16 December. Again, beginning from this year, the festival's local and overseas guests will be hosted in Artvin by the Municipality of Artvin. From Artvin, the festival will then cross the border into Macedonia, taking a programme of largely Turkish films to the city of Skopje from 18-20 December. Supported by the Culture and Information Office of the Turkish Embassy in Skopje, this leg of the festival will be joined by directors and actors from participating films.

 

Year's Best Films to Compete at the Festival on Wheels

This year's festival programme will delight film enthusiasts once again. Ten films are to have their Turkish premieres in Artvin after scooping awards at several of the world's top festivals. The Municipality of Artvin will be awarding the best film in competition with the Golden Bull worth 10,000 Euros, and the second best film with the Silver Bull worth 5000 Euros. As every year, the SİYAD (the Turkish Film Critics' Association) Jury will also present an award.

 

Turkish Cinema 2009

Alongside the international competition, festival goers will get to sample a selection of the latest fare from Turkey. The cast and crew of films screened in the Turkish Cinema 2009 section will be there to meet audiences in both Ankara and Artvin.

 

Anti-ism at the Festival on Wheels

Another, perhaps more challenging part of the festival line-up is the ANTI section. The films featured here reflect on the latest economic, political, social and cultural developments sweeping both Turkey and the rest of the world in their respective stands against capitalism, war, the middle class, education, nationalism, militarism and sexism. A panel discussion will also be held as a side-bar to the ANTI section.

 

Films in the section include:

 

ANTI Capitalism: The Yes Men (dirs, Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price) and The Yes Men Fix the World (dirs, Mike Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum), starring Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, the activist-artist duo notorious for their satirical pranks; ANTI War: Jean-Pierre Melville's timeless classic Le Silence de la Mer; ANTI Bourgeoisie: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (dir, Luis Buñuel), one of the most sharply critical and entertaining films in cinema history; ANTI Education: Jean Vigo's masterpiece Zéro de Conduite, along with Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub's cult short En Rachachant; ANTI Sexism: Sitcom, François Ozon's first feature-length film and one of his most accomplished works to date; ANTI Exploitation: Ken Loach's Bread and Roses; ANTI Nationalism: This is England from Shane Meadows, reckoned to be one of the finest examples of social realism in recent British cinema.

 

Germany 30 Years Before & 30 Years

On features two portmanteau films that take up the political and social problems facing Germany in the 1970s and 2000s respectively. Both Deutschland im Herbst (Germany in Autumn) and Deutschland 09 (Germany 09) are also a showcase of the responsibility felt by contributing directors towards their country.

 

New Discovery: Audrius Stonys

This year's festival discovery is Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys. Born and educated in Vilnius, Stonys has worked variously in New York, Copenhagen and Tokyo. As a guest of the festival, the director will be on hand to introduce his remarkably creative short and medium-length documentaries.

 

This year's Short is Good, a regular part of the Festival on Wheels programme, will again feature innovative shorts from different countries around the globe. As with every year the section will also give special emphasis to a national cinema, in this case Brazil. The films presented in Brazil in Short are intended to give an idea of Brazilian cinema as a whole.

 

Every year, the Children's Films section draws young audiences by the hundreds and screenings are invariably packed. Over the years, in fact, this has become one of the hallmarks of the Festival on Wheels. This year, the special programme for kids will include films from Poland and Germany.

 

This year marks the fourth for the Let's Talk Cinema meetings sidebar of the Festival on Wheels. The get-together of young filmmakers, now regularly referred to as a week-long film school, will take place this year in Ankara and Artvin. Launched in 2006, the event comprises a series of cinema classes given by professionals from various disciplines. This year's programme will take the form of workshops and Q&A sessions in the two cities.

 

The Docu-Travel international documentary film production workshop, organized as a collaboration between the Festival on Wheels and Bilkent University, is into its third year this year. As part of the workshop, film students from Turkey and Georgia will shoot films based around Artvin, the festival's international stop. As well as Let's Talk Cinema IV, Artvin will play host to a film criticism workshop with the collaboration of NISI MASA Turkey. Aimed at supporting young amateur film critics from Turkey, the workshop activities will include producing a daily festival newspaper, Nisimazine Artvin, which will be distributed free of charge to festival guests and audiences alike.

 

Each year, the Festival on Wheels gives away its own publications to attending audiences. This year brings a new addition to the collection, Reha Erdem Kitabı (The Cinema of Reha Erdem), a book that takes a comprehensive look at the films of Turkish director Reha Erdem. Edited by critic Fırat Yücel, the volume is to be published in collaboration with Çitlembik Publications.

 

This year's Festival on Wheels poster was designed once again by Behiç Ak, who has done the honours since the first edition of the festival. Yeşim Demir produced the graphic design.

 

The festival will be celebrating its 15th year in Ankara, Artvin and Skopje. Our thanks in advance to everyone joining us on our travels. We look forward to another year of watching, creating and sharing films...

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