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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.



IFF APRIL 12, 2011

• MEETINGS ON THE BRIDGE CONTINUE Meetings on the Bridge, the sixth of which takes place this year and which aims to create a platform for the cinema industry to meet, continue. Representatives from CNC and Unifrance, producers that target or are in the process of a co-production, and distributors will attend “Meetings on the Bridge Turkey-France Panel: Co-productions and New Media.” The panel is due to start at 10.00 in the French Cultural Center. This panel will be followed by another panel, “A New Era in Cinema: Tips on Digital, New Media, and Networking.”

• RECEPTION FROM ARTE FRANCE Nuri Bilge Ceylan is honored by the French Government with Officier dans l'Ordre national des Arts et des Lettres’ medal. Consul General of France in Istanbul Hervé Magro will present the director with the medal in the reception organized by Arte France under scope of the 30th Istanbul Film Festival. The reception will start in Istanbul Modern at 20.00.

• MERRY-GO-ROUND IS IN THE COMPETITION Following her debut feature film Love in Another Language, İlksen Başarır’s second film Merry-Go-Round again handles a social problem that is often left unspoken and covered up. The screening of the film, which will be shown under National Competition, will take place 16.00 in Atlas with the participation of the director.

• IT IS BLOWING FROM NORTH-EAST Following her award-winning short film Poyraz, Belma Baş’s feature debut film Zephyr, had won her first place in the Film Development Workshop in Meetings on the Bridge in 2008, the platform’s first installment under Istanbul Film Festival. Baş will attend the film’s screening in Atlas at 21.30.

• FILMS BUILD BRIDGES Armenia-Turkey Cinema Platform (ATCP), which aims to serve, in the long-term, as an example for collaborations between Armenia and Turkey, is a production and communication initiative established between the two countries. The Platform is sharing its first films with Festivalgoers. The film’s directors will attend the screening in Pera, which will start at 19.00

• FILMS ABOUT CONSCIENCE PREMIERE IN THE FESTIVAL In 2009, with the invitation “Let’s Take a Look Through Our Conscience,” the Hrant Dink Foundation had called upon everyone around the world capable of shooting a film, amateurs and professionals alike, to make films. The short films that accepted this invitation are screened for the first time during the Istanbul Film Festival. The films’ directors will attend the screening in Pera, which will start at 21.30.

• JITEM ON THE BIG SCREEN Lost Freedom, which will be screened under “New Turkish Cinema,” takes viewers to the Turkey of 1990s and handles the JITEM military team, a subject that remains to be a taboo in the Turkish cinema. Director Umur Hozatlı will attend the screening at 11.00 in Beyoğlu Movie Theater.

• AN ORHAN KEMAL DOCUMENTARY In The Voice of the Voiceless – An Orhan Kemal Documentary, which follows his feature film Havar that travelled several international festivals, Mehmet Güleryüz recounts the life story of the prominent writer of the enlightened realism movement, Orhan Kemal. Güleryüz will attend the screening, which will take place at 11.00 in Pera.

• MUSIC TAKES OVER ALEXANDRIA Microphone, which is the first feature film to be shot entirely on Canon 7D camera, is a musical journey that travels through Egypt’s multi-cultural port city Alexandria. Director Ahmad Abdalla and leading actor Khaled Abol Naga will answer audience’s questions following the screening at 13.30 in Atlas.

• A MINIMALIST INDEPENDENT FILM Director Uygar Asan’s minimalist independent film City of the Scattered is a work of details on questions and ways of being. The director will attend the screening at 13.30 in Beyoğlu.

• THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHILD ABUSE The first collaboration between Catalan directors Judith Colell and Jordi Cadena, Elisa K delicately and sensitively tackles the traumatic consequences of childhood sexual abuse. Director Judith Colell will attend the screening at 13.30 in Nişantaşı City’s.

• DANCE! Made in the USA, Under the Spotlight, depicts the difficulties faced by dancers and choreographers who have worked with world renowned artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, P. Diddy, Toni Braxton, Jennifer Lopez, Pussycat Dolls, Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera. The screening, attended by director Duygu Etikan, will take place at 13.30 in Pera.

• A STORY OF CRIME AND REDEMPTION Winner of the Torino FIPRESCI prize, Small Town Murder Songs tells the story of crime and redemption of an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town. Director Ed Gass-Donnelly will attend the screening at 16.00 in Beyoğlu.

• ISTANBUL’S ARTISTS The Colors of Cultural Diversity: Art and the City, which takes as is subject 16 artists from various communities in Istanbul, will be screened at 16.00 in Pera. Film’s director Annie G. Pertan will attend the screening.

• THEN AND NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Inspired by this article, seven filmmakers from seven countries explored the themes of tolerance and respect for differences in Then and Now, Beyond Border and Differences in 2010. The film is having its premiere at the Festival. Hüseyin Karabey, one of the film’s directors and producers, will attend the film’s screening at 19.00 in Fitaş 1.

• THE STORY OF A STREET URCHIN Recycling Life “I found Dostoyevsky in Garbage” is a film about street urchins, those who expect us to realize they are human beings. It is also the life story of another street urchin Oktay Çetinkaya, who inspires everyone on the streets and us. The film’s director Enis Rıza’ will attend the screening at 19.00 in Beyoğlu.

• THE JURY MEETS THE PRESS The press meeting, where the International Competition Jury was presented to the press, took place in Akbank Sanat. Festival Director Azize Tan presented the jury headed by one of France’s most prominent auteur directors Claire Denis, Italian actress Anna Bonaiuto, Toronto International Film Festival Director Piers Handling, Turkish journalist and writer Perihan Mağden, American scriptwriter and producer Jim Stark, Canadian actor and director Jacob Tierney, and Istanbul Film Festival Former Director Hülya Uçansu. “We need the Festival and the various films shown during the festival to understand the world, to see what is going on in the world, and to understand the differences,” said Tan. She added, “We can say that Istanbul Film Festival acts as a bridge between Turkey and world cinema; we attain international standards despite limits on budget and venue.” Saying she was very happy about being in Istanbul, Claire Denis said, “Festivls are bridges between different forms of cinema. Commercial cinema hides young filmmakers, and it’s great to be able to see and discuss films like that. It is very nice to be ‘el presidente’ in this year’s festival. I hope we make a good job.” Jacob Tierney said, “Interestingly curated programme presents films from a wide range of countries, which is a privilege. And the rate of the festival is not relevant as far as wonderful films are in the programme. That’s what ultimately matters.” Piers Handling said, “Any festival that gives awards to these films that are not as seen by the general public makes it worthwhile.”

• PANELS KICK OFF ON THE BRIDGE Four panels were held under Meetings on the Bridge, the sixth of which takes place this year and which aims to create a platform for the cinema industry to meet. Held in the French Cultural Center, Turkey-France co-productions, new media in the film industry, transition to digital, and tips on networking were discussed.

• AN ORHAN KEMAL DOCUMENTARY The first screening of Mehmet Güleryüz’s The Voice of the Voiceless – An Orhan Kemal Documentary, took place in Pera. The screening of the film, which recounts the life story of the prominent writer of the enlightened realism movement, Orhan Kemal, was attended by Güleryüz and Orhan Kemal’s son Işık Öğütçü.

• THE ABOMINABLE JITEM The director and actors of Lost Freedom, which is shown under “New Turkish Cinema” section, attended the screening of the film. Director Umur Hozatlı said, “We tried to explain part of the cruelty that the abominable JITEM inflicted on people.” JITEM is the acronym used for the Turkish Military Intelligence Police and Anti-Terror team held responsible for countless accounted murders.

• “I NEED TO TALK NOW” Director Uygar Asan, producer Anita Sezgener, actors Sezgin Cengiz and Aslı Turan attended the talk following the screening of Asan’s latest film City of the Scattered. Asan said, “I support a minimalist cinema. I contemplate on the harmonization of real time with cinematic time.” He added that his latest three works were interconnected. While making films, he was inspired by sculpture, poetry, and literature rather than other films, he said.

• “REALITY WAS LIKE FICTION” The screening of Microphone took place in Atlas Movie Theater. Director Ahmad Abdalla and leading actor Khaled Abol Naga attended the talk following the screening of the film, which participates in the International Competition. Abdalla said they had started the film as a documentary but then shifted into fiction and that, after some time, even they lost the boundary between the two. Naga added, “This film tells our real life story. This is why the reality was like fiction.”

• “WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE HOLY FAMILY INSTITUTION” Handling the subject of incest in Merry-Go-Round, İlksen Başarır attended her film’s screening with her crew. Saying that Merry-Go-Round was a “timeless film without a certain location,” Başarır added, “What is power, and what does it do… We have an issue with authority. We also have a problem with the holy family institution. Our film takes a stance against the understanding that abuse should be left unspoken.”

• SEVEN COUNTRIES, SEVEN FILMMAKERS Inspired by Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” seven filmmakers from seven countries explored the themes of tolerance and respect for differences in Then and Now, Beyond Border and Differences in 2010. The film had its premiere at the 30th Istanbul Film Festival. Hüseyin Karabey, one of the film’s directors and producers attended the screening.

• HOPE EMANATING FROM THE STREETS Recycling Life “I found Dostoyevsky in Garbage” is a film about the life story of a special street urchin, Oktay Çetinkaya. Attending the film’s screening, director Enis Rıza said they had worked five-six years on this project. “It was not Oktay that found Dostoyevsky in the garbage, but us,” he stated.

• A FILM ON DANCE Director Duygu Etikan attended the screening of Under the Spotlight. Asked whether she will film dances in Turkey, Etikan said she preferred realizing her new projects instead of filming the same subjects.

• A FILM THAT DOES NOT GIVE A MESSAGE BUT ASKS QUESTIONS Director Ed Gass-Donnelly attended the screening of his film Small Town Murder Songs. He said, “I wanted to reflect a person, who at the one end believes in religion, and who, on the other, has instinctive animalistic impulses.”

• NURİ BİLGE CEYLAN RECEIVES FRENCH MEDAL The cocktail reception organized by Arte France under the scope of 30th Istanbul Film Festival took place in Istanbul Modern Museum. In the evening, Nuri Bilge Ceylan was awarded ‘Officier dans l'Ordre national des Arts et des Lettres’ medal by the French Government. Following a speech on Ceylan’s life and work, Consul General of France in Istanbul Hervé Magro presented Ceylan with the medal. Receiving the medal, Ceylan said the French culture, which has affected intellectuals around the world for centuries, has affected him also.

• “I WANTED TO RELATE THE NIGHTMARE” Belma Baş greeted audiences with her feature debut film Zephyr, which was supported by Meetings on the Bridge. She attended the film’s screening with producers Seyhan Kaya and Birol Akbaba, director of photography Mehmet Y. Zengin, editor Berke Baş, and actors Şeyma Uzunlar, Sevinç Baş and O. Rüştü Baş. “I hope I was able to transfer the feeling. More than illustrating the script, I wanted to be able to transfer the feeling and relate the nightmare to the audience,” said the director.



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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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