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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.




• MIRANDA RICHARDSON WAS IN ISTANBUL Accomplished actress Miranda Richardson was in Istanbul for the screening of Nigel Cole’s latest film Made in Dagenham and she met her fans and viewers at Akbank Sanat after the screening of the film in which Richardson portrays female cabinet minister Barbara Castle, who at the end of the 1960s paved the way for the Equal Pay Act in the UK. Richardson said Castle was a very passionate and strong woman, adding, “I never had the chance to meet her but I would have loved to have a drink with her.” The actress said that she would like the directors she works with to believe that actors are intelligent, too, and not to act like they know everything. Richardson said Robert Altman and David Cronenberg had a special place among all the directors she had worked with. She said, “Altman provides a reliable, relaxed atmosphere. I had satisfaction working with him. He seems vague but he is not. I have received the biggest compliment of my life from Cronenberg. We were shooting a very difficult scene in The Spider and he came up to me and said ‘Directing you is like driving a Ferrari.’” Richardson criticized the Hollywood system and the fact that actresses receive lower wages than their male counterparts. She added, “Producers think that a woman’s face will not be enough to carry a film. This is why there is still inequality when it comes to wages.”

• DERVİŞ ZAİM DESCRIBED HIS CINEMA Derviş Zaim, whose most recent film Shadows and Faces will be screened at the Festival, held a chat at Akbank Sanat about his cinema and shared his experiences with younger people who wanted to get into filmmaking. Explaining that he made his first film Somersault in a Coffin “guerilla style,” Zaim said, “I do not stand by the established cinema sector, I am an extrinsic man. I need to create my own circumstances. Süha Arın gave the camera and the lights. Actors and the crew behind the camera did not get paid. We shot the film with 60 boxes of film in 17 days.” Zaim said the monopolization in the distribution of films will spread to the production process and that in a couple of years the Turkish cinema sector will hit a wall, resembling the Hollywood of the 1950s. When asked whether he is considering making an adaptation of a literary work, Zaim said the adaptation of well-written and well-known books was an unnecessary burden. He added, “If I find a literary work that is written badly enough, I will make it into a movie.” Asked why he was making cinema, Zaim replied, “Because this is the job I can do best.”

• THE STORY OF SONIA IN LIMBO Director Maria Sødahl and the film’s leading actress Line Verndal attended the first screening of Limbo at the Festival. The film tells the tragic story of Sonia, who, with her two children, leaves Norway for Port-au-Spain in Trinidad to meet her oil engineer husband Jo. However, she soon starts feeling like an outsider among other expatriate Scandinavian wives. A Q&A session was held following the screening at the Atlas Movie Theatre. Sødahl said that the story took place in the 1970s because she “wanted to be away from the modern noise of today and closer to her characters.”



• INCEST AND A VIOLENT LOVE STORY Handling in parallel the story of a dysfunctional family and the history of Greece, Homeland is based on real events. It follows this family through three generations and three political periods, telling the story of incest and a violent love. Director Syllas Tzoumerkas will attend the screening at 16.00 in Beyoğlu Movie Theater.

• THE COUNTDOWN FOR OUR END HAS STARTED Collaborating with Lawrence Bender, the producer of Inglorious Basterds and An Inconvenient Truth, renowned documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker offers a scary picture of the threat created by nuclear weapons. Countdown to Zero can be seen at 21.30 in Fitaş 1. Director Walker will attend the screening and answer questions.

• A “COMING OF AGE” STORY FOR ADULTS Love, betrayal, and desperation in a country far from home… Norwegian female director Maria Sødahl’s “coming of-age story for adults,” Limbo will be screened at 11.00 in Nişantaşı City’s. Sødahl and leading actress Line Verndal will attend the screening and answer audience’s questions.

• 30 YEARS IN FILM WITH DORSAY Movie critic and member of Istanbul Film Festival Advisory Board Atilla Dorsay will hold a chat in Akbank Sanat at 19.00 where he will talk about the Festival’s 30 years of history.






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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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