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Istanbul Film Festival

The largest, most established and most influential film event in Turkey, the Istanbul Film Festival has over the past 30 years, presented Istanbul audiences with a total of more than 3,250 films, showcasing the cinema of 103 countries, and attracting a total audience number of 3,150,000. With an audience of 150,000 in 2011, it is also considered the biggest Turkish film festival. Established in 1982 as a film week, and accredited by FIAPF in 1989, the Festival aims at encouraging the development of cinema in Turkey and promoting films of quality in the Turkish market. As such, the Festival incorporates the Meetings on the Bridge platform, and within the frame of this programme, a competitive Feature Film Project Development Workshop that was initiated in 2008, and a Work-in-Progress sidebar in order to support the Turkish film industry and Turkish film professionals. In 2015, the MoB began to accept submissions from neighbouring countries.

The Istanbul Film Festival features an International Competition (limited to films on arts and the artist or literary adaptations) with a monetary award of a total of €25,000 as its grand prize the Golden Tulip. Showcasing Turkish cinema as the most active promotional, international platform in Turkey, the Festival features a National Competition, A National Documentary Competition, and a Human Rights in Cinema competition endorsed by the Council of Europe. The festival each year screens around 200 feature films, and takes place in April.



31. Istanbul Film Festival Daily: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow



• GOODBYE IRAN! Director Mohammad Rasoulof focuses on an Iranian woman in his film. He shaped the whole story on the Iranian lawyer and her efforts to find a visa out of the country. Goodbye was screened at Atlas Sineması at 11.00 with the participation of director Rasoulof.
Rasoluof stated: “It is difficult to make independent films in every part of the world. But it is even more difficult in Iran due to censors... Besides, there isn’t a certain policy about films in Iran. Sometimes they put you in jail or force you to have a film in the festival. I could not leave the country for two years and now I wait for a decision for my penalty. But I do not think about these. If I think about them, I’ll go crazy. I just want to focus on making films!”

• A HARSH STORY FROM THE SWEDISH YOUTH The film is about Kim’s efforts to escape from evil in his blood in Scandinavia where crimes become trivialised. Will Kim succeed? Savage was screened at Fitaş 4 at 11.00 with the participation of directors Martin Jern and Emil Larsson. “The film is based on a true story. Making the film was a very hard process. Besides, the subject of the film is quite upsetting. We finished the film nearly a year ago. Even we’re still having the hardest time to watch it... On the details of the shooting, we never held the camera still. There are two reasons of this: Firstly, we wanted it this way and preferred that people seem like they are being followed. Secondly, we were a small team. We had only one camera. The very same person was also responsible for the lights.” stated directors on the film.

• KADİFE ANA AT FESTIVAL THEATRES There are only two things that matter for the main character Kadife Ana: Sustaining her breed and protecting the safety of her son... Out of competition screening of Velvet was at Beyoğlu Sineması at 11.00 with the participation of director Erdoğan Kar.
Director Kar: “I tried to be impartial while making the film and I believe I succeeded... But I was faced with censorship and pressure of the state and the communities there in the region as I do not belong to neither party.”

• A JOURNEY FROM ISTANBUL TO MUĞLA 800 Km Hurdles is the story of the thirteen-day-long journey of two disabled friends who travelled from Istanbul to Muğla on a motorcycle and a passenger basket. The film was screened at Pera Museum at 11.00 for those who want to see the film with the director Murat Erün. The audience stated their gratitude. Actor Hüseyin Eroğlu stated: “We just tried to show the situation in the documentary. I am a journalist but I cannot express the situation enough. We wanted to touch to some points with a narrative beyond scorning and compassion.”

• IT IS HARD TO WAIT FOR A DELAY Maria leaves her father on a bench far away in the suburbs due to economical problems. However, she regrets what she has done on her way home and looks for a shelter for his father. Screening of the “International Competition” film Delay was at Fitaş 4 at 13.30 with the participation of producer Sandino Saravia.
Producer Saravia talked about the actor playing the father: “This was his first experience as an actor. He is eighty two years old and a retired architect. It was a great chance for us to find him.” Besides she stated on the film: “Uruguay is in an even worse condition than Europe regarding the old population. Statistics show that we will be in an irreparable situation in thirty or forty years.”

• FRENCH TEACHER TO VILLAGERS! In the summer of 1998, villagers wait for the first foreign English teacher of the village. But they confused the French tourist Julie, who finds herself there by mistake... Screening of the One Day or Another was and the Q&A with the participation of director Ali Vatansever at Beyoğlu Sineması at 13.30.

• TWO SCREENINGS AT PERA! There were two consecutive screenings at Pera Museum after 13.30. Life as a Fable a Narrative and Tell Me-Tattoos/Laments/Stories were screened. Director of “Life...”, Hüseyin Karabey and directors of “Tell Me”, Uğraş Salman and Mehmet Sait Tunç was present for the screenings.
Jülide Kural, hero of Life..., was present at the screening. Director Karabey talked about the film: “We actually wanted to focus on the points where Jülide’s life coincides with Frida’s. Jülide had a traffic accident during the play and she had excruciating pains. Starting from this point on, we focused on the similarities between the two artists.” Kural said: “After I watched the film, I decided that that I am done with Frida. I had to be in new productions!”
Directors of Tell Me-Tattoos/Laments/Stories, Uğraş Salman and Mehmet Sait Tunç stated: “Stories of tattoos are not unique to Mardin and Urfa. This is something related to the Mesopotamian culture beyond all boundaries. We wanted to reflect this reality because in twenty years most of these women will have passed away.”

• I FLEW, YOU STAYED “We talked about my father with my nana secretly. My grandfather did not want us to talk about him. He used to use swear words for him. After a while, I started not talking about him as if he never existed...” National Competition film I Flew, You Stayed by Mizgin Müjde Arslan was screened at Atlas Sineması at 16.00. “I want this film to be considered as a father and daughter story. While I was trying to find my father in the film, interestingly enough I find my mother. This film really changed my life.” You can reach the special interview with Mizgin Müjde Arslan here .

• PARTICIPATION TO FACE FROM FRANCE A family man, Marécaux and his wife were arrested together with twelve people for sexual harassment of children in 2001 in a small French village called Outrea. Marécaux does everything to prove his innocence. Guilty by director Vincent Garenq was at Fitaş 4 at 16.00 for the who wanted to have a closer look at the story.

• SICILIAN VISITORS OF “HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CINEMA” Director Emanuele Crialese tells the story of fisher family which takes an Ethiopian woman and her child into their homes after they were rescued from a wrecked ship. The film was screened at Fitaş 1 at 16.00 with the participation of director Crialese.
On the selection of the actors, director stated: “I am not a director who meets with the actors on the first day of the set. The person I work with should be talented. As a director, my mission is to polish this talent. But first, I have to get to know the actor better. It doesn’t matter whether they are professionals or amateurs. I always believe that the world is full of geniuses but these people don’t use their intelligence for self-promotion. Therefore, I find the genius and work with them.” Then he added: “During the set, film crew with eighty people stayed six months on the island with the population of 250 people. After some point, fishers from the island started to get involved in the frame. They have contributed every scene of the film.”

• AN AMAZING ANIMATED FILM! Screening of the gripping animation considered as “one of the most creative and poetic French films of the year” by LePoint the magazine was at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00. Director Jean-François Laguionie participated to the screening of The Painting and answer questions. Besides, students watched the film within the BitamBiöğrenci project.

• WAITING FOR THE EARTHQUAKE Waiting is a document made with the aim of noting down on the history “in today’s world where we forget or are made to forget everything quickly” with Bülent Öztürk’s words and keeping the memory alive. The documentary was screened at Pera Museum at 16.00 with the participation of director Öztürk.

• INSIDE AND WHAT’S HIDDEN IN IT Director Zeki Demirkubuz focuses on the existential problems of the individual around the character created based on “Notes from the Underground” by Dostoevsky. Inside was screened at Atlas Sineması at 19.00 with the participation of the director Demirkubuz.
Demirkubuz stated: “We should leave our poor egos aside and try to understand the unique grammar of each situation. Finding actors is nearly impossible for me. Because there is not any actors in the world who can understand what I want. Therefore, I try to look at them as individuals rather than actors and I don’t build personal relations.” You can find the interview with Demirkubuz at the website.

• TWILIGHT ZONE AT THE FESTIVAL! The main theme of the film involves transformation of Marina from a high class social worker to femme fatale after she was raped. Director Angelina Nikonova and actress Olga Dihovichnaya participated to the screening of Twilight Portrait at Fitaş 1 at 19.00.
Director Nikonova: “We wrote the script with Olga. You can see extremely striking and shocking scenes in the film from time to time. The first half hour may challenge you. In dramas, the story gets harsher and harsher towards the end. In this story it gets lighter.”

• A DOCUMENTARY VISIT TO THE NEIGHBOURS 1+8 is a documentary on Turkey and her eight neighbours. By visiting the eight borders of Turkey, we meet different lands and people. For the screening at Pera Museum at 19.00, directors Angelika Brudniak and Cynthia Madansky were present. Directors participated to the screening and thanked the audience for their support to the film.

• A CALL FROM THE ISLAND Whispers of Dead Zone is the first feature film by Fırat Çağrı Beyaz. The film aims to have a creative artistic call not only for the audience in Turkey and Cyprus but for the whole world for the peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem. Director Beyaz participated to the screening at Beyoğlu Sineması at 21.30.
Beyaz stated: “This film reflects the reality of Cyprus. It hasn’t been released in Cyprus yet. But I don’t care much about what people will think. My attitude on the issue is certain and I expressed what I wanted to say in the film.”

• MASTER CLASS FROM THE HEAD OF JURY Head of Jury for the “National Competition”, Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave a master class. Director shared his perspective on cinema with participators at his Master Class: Nuri Bilge Ceylan at Salon İKSV at 16.00 by using clips from his film “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”, which garnered several international awards.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan talked about a range of subjects from his responsibility as an artist to his identity as a director in the set, from his directing to his thinking about life, and his favourite films: “Life is ambiguous. We cannot have every information every time. We see a part of the reality and live with it... We cannot know the real feelings and ideas of the person who is next to us. Cinema is ambiguous exactly at this point. I try to create this in my cinema. Of course, as a director I know more than I showed at my film, but I love to let the audience interpret it. As the audience, I prefer the same. If I can conclude the meaning of the film, the effect of it becomes more permanent.”

• DISCUSSION ON VAN AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE The panel discussion, Van Earthquake-Art in Ruins, with Bülent Öztürk, director of “Waiting”, and a number of speakers: Zozan Özgökçe (VAKAD), Şennaz Uzun (Van Çocuk Evi-Van Children’ House), Feryal Öney (Kardeş Türküler) moderated by documentarist Elif Ergezen, member of the documentary advisory board of the festival. The panel discussion was held at Pera Museum at 16.00.

• TOWARDS THE END OF “MEETINGS ON THE BRIDGE” There were two events at Akbank Sanat within the programme of “Meetings on the Bridge”. Workshop On Project Development, And Preparing For The Best Pitch was between 09.30 and13.00 while Turkey - Holland Co-Productions was between 14.30 and 16.30. Projects were awarded in the “Meetings on the Bridge” award ceremony held at the Netherlands Consulate at 19.00.
Mizgin Müjde Arslan was awarded with A Special Mention with Bust. Tolga Karaçelik was selected for Binger Lab Script Consulting Award worthy of 2,500 euros with his project Lonely Child. Ahu Öztürk was awarded with 10.000 Euros granted by France Centre of National Cinema (CNC) which is the backbone of the French cinema with the project The Dustcloth. Motherland by Senem Tüzen was awarded with 10.000 support granted by Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and 25.000 Turkish Liras Post Production award granted by Melodika. Finally, Strangers in the House by director Dilek Keser won the Work in Progress Workshop and was awarded with 1000 Volt Post Production Award.


• JULIO’S NOVEL Main character Julio goes to a job interview but he doesn’t get the job. Afterwards he decides to write his own novel. Bonsai premiered in Cannes in the “A Certain Look” category will be screened in Istanbul for the competition. The film will be at Atlas Sineması at 11.00 with the participation of the producer Nadia Turincev. The film will be also screened at Fitaş 1 at 21.30 with the participation of Turincev.

• A DAY IN ISTANBUL Five different characters have a day in Istanbul. On this day their lives intersect with each other and they affect lives of one another. To Better Days will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 11.00. Director Hasan Tolga Pulat will also participate to the screening.

• TWO SCREENINGS AT PERA! Turkish A+ will be screened with the participation of director Murat Bayramoğlu, and the Cemetery will be screened at Pera Museum with the participation of Mehmet Salih Çelik and Sevgi Akdaş. Film screenings will start from 11.00.

• SPECIAL SCREENEING AT PERA CONTINUE İmre Azem invites the audience to watch ever-growing Istanbul in her first feature film. Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits will be screened at Pera Museum at 13.30 with the participation of director Azem.

• RUNNING IN THE FAMILY Director Joao Canijo reflects the relationship in a family and what they live because of one another in the multi-awarded Portuguese film. Blood of My Blood will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 16.00 with the participation of the lead actress Rita Blanco!

• FEARFUL MOMENTS WITH A ROMANTIC DRAMA IN THE NATURE! Director Julia Loktev invites the audience to a journey in Caucasian Mountains. The Loneliest Planet premiered in Locarno Film Festival will be screened at Fitaş 4 at 16.00 with the participation of the director.

• DIYARBAKIR FROM THE CAMERA OF THE DIRECTOR OF ‘AUTUMN’ We visit Diyarbakir with Sumru, who goes there for collecting laments, and we observe the city through the eyes of her. Future Lasts Forever will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00 with the participation of Özcan Alper. The film competes for FACE Awards supported by European Council.

• HARD DAYS AT THE THEATRE While drama student Josephine works for being a better actress, we witness the change in her character. Cracks in the Shell will be screened at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 16.00 with the participation of director Christian Schwochow and lead actress Stine Fischer Christensen.
• DAMN THE DAMS! Number of hydroelectric power plants increase every day... Directors Osman Şişman and Özlem Sarıyıldız put a light on how the village people were affected from the power plant. Damn the Damns will be at Pera Museum at 16.00... Students will also watch the documentary within BitamBiöğrenci project. After the screening, Panel: HPPs and Docs will be held.

• HPPs AND WHAT THEY BRING There will be a panel discussion at Pera Museum at 16.00 about hydroelectric power plants which have been constructed at a number of places in Turkey. Don’t miss the discussion if you want to look at the issue from a professional angle with a cinematic approach! Panel: HPPs and Docs will be held with participation of documentarists Rüya Arzu Köksal, Umut Kocagöz, Özlem Işıl, Osman Şişman and Özlem Sarıyıldız with Can Candan as the moderator.

• SHIPS AT THE “NATIONAL COMPETITION” While Ali fulfils the wishes of his father involuntarily, he gets used to attribute meaning to coincidences and to collect signs of a life that will make him happier... Ships will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 19.00 with the participation of Elif Refiğ.

• THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN In the “Mined Zone” section of the festival this film questions the idea of “distance” through a German man who floats around in the middle of an eternal delta away from the civilization. The film will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 19.00 with the participation of director Jan Zabeil and lead actor Alexander Fehling.

• FROM OSLO TO THE COMPETITION... “International Competition” film Oslo, August 31st will be screened at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 19.00 with the participation of actress Ingrid Olava.

• ROMA PEOPLE AT PERA WITH MUSIC! The documentary works on the musical potential of Istanbul, looked for its unique style even abroad, through Romas, the centre of this potential. Romanistanbul will be screened at Pera Museum at 19.00!

• PRESENT TENSE AT ATLAS Director Belmin Söylemez tells the story of Mina who is an unemployed, lonely, and unhappy person. While every negative thing is around her, she makes her mind: She will go to the United States and starts her life from the scratch. Present Tense will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of director Söylemez. The film competes in the “National Competition” category.

• WHAT THE IMMIGRATION ACT BRINGS New Immigration Law in Germany affected the women in the Eastern villages unexpectedly. These women have a common issue despite their differences of age and face: To learn German. Ich Liebe Dich will be screened at Pera Museum at 21.30 with the participation of Emine Emel Balcı.


• LAST WEEKEND OF THE FESTIVAL... Festival audience will dedicate themselves to the festival at this third and last weekend of the festival... Note down the productions you won’t miss while the festival is about to end!

• IN FLAMES FROM TRABZON TO DIYARBAKIR In Flames adapts daily prejudices on ethnicity to silver screen with an enjoying narrative. The film suggests that the problem is not actually between individuals and relationships on this level can be solved easily. The film will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 11.00 with the participation of director Murat Saraçoğlu.

• BIRTHDAY PARTY BACKFIRED! Last film by Onur Ünlü adapts an absurd story to silver screen by finely mocking with all the institutions and conditions included. The Extremely Tragic Story Of Celal Tan And Hıs Family will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 13.30 with the participation of director Ünlü.

• WOMEN OF SALVATION... Yusuf Pirhasan focuses on violence against women in his first feature film Last Stop Salvation. The film built on what’s happening in an apartment building in Kurtuluş will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00 with the participation of director Pirhasan.

• A ROMA STORY FROM HUNGARY Turkish audience will remember director Bence Fliegauf with “Womb”, “Forest”, and “Milky Way”... Director focuses on the fearful life of a Roma family which lives in a Hungarian village. Just the Wind will be screened at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 19.00 with the participation of the director. The film competes in the “Human Rights in Cinema” category.

• CLOSING FILM FROM VENICE IN THE “ANTIDEPRESSANT” SECTION Don’t miss Damsels in Distress on three beautiful women, who try to make a revolution at East Coast University in the sloppy and patriarchial conditions, on this beautiful Saturday night. The film will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of the director Whit Stillman.

• JOY OF CINEMA WITH BitamBiöğrenci AT SATURDAY The first film to be screened within the project is The Pirates! Band of Misfits in the “Animated Cinema” section. It will be screened at Akbank Sanat at 13.30. The second film, The Magicians in the “Kids’ Menu: Special Holland” section will screened at Fitaş 1 at 19.00.

• GGODBYE FESTIVAL! Both fun and sad night awaits for the festival audience tonight... The night willl begin with the Closing Ceremony at Lütfi Kırdar. After the ceremony, we are going to prepare ourselves to the last day of the festival with the closing party at Salon İKSV under the sponsorship of Efes.


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About Istanbul Film Festival

The most comprehensive and oldest international film festival in Turkey. Established in 1982, it screens more than 200 films of various genres, and has an extensive Turkish features showcase. The Golden Tulip Grand Prize of the Festival has a monetary award attached.



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