“This is not only a film. This is our last 30 years!”
The duo who had a successful breakthrough with On the Way to School,
creates a political effect again by taking off from their experiences.
This time, we watch the drama of a Kurdish-Alevite family going through
the effects of the Maraş massacre. Real characters again take part in
the film as actors: the director himself, his mother and the voices of
his invisible elder brother and father... We talked with the two
directors of the film: Orhan Eskiköy and Zeynel Doğan.
Voice of My Father will be screened on Wednesday, April 11 at 19.00 at Atlas Sineması.
Interview: Ceyda Aşar
- Let’s start with your feelings about Istanbul Film Festival.
How does it feel to compete here? What did you think when you first were
informed about the competition selection?
Zeynel Doğan: Even following the festival as an
audience or watching films is a great chance for me. Screening of our
film in the festival and becoming a part of it are quite exciting. The
world premiere of our film was at Rotterdam Film Festival, but I was
waiting for the Istanbul Film Festival with great excitement since our
film is “an internal film”. I think our film will be better appreciated
- What was the award you won at 29th Istanbul Film Festival at the Meetings on the Bridge?
Orhan Eskiköy: We won two awards at Meetings on the
Bridge in 2010. One of these was the award granted by the Ministry of
Culture and the other was the post-production award by Melodika. The
first award helped us develop the project while the Melodika award
enabled us complete the sound mixing of the film. Both awards had
significant financial contribution to the film. But the most important
contribution of the Meetings on the Bridge was to hear the first
criticisms and comments about our project. We saw the international
potential of the project.
- Do you want to emphasise the “reality” of this story?
Orhan Eskiköy: We want to sustain our aim in On the Way to School
and continue our desire to create a contemporary political effect with
cinema. What I want to say is that what you see is not only a film. This
story is about the most important issues of Turkey. It is necessary to
emphasise what is told in the film, about what we went through in the
last thirty years.
- Do you still have the voice recordings of your father that we hear in the film?
Zeynel Doğan: Yes, some of the original tapes still
remain. My mother is the person who keeps these cassettes which also
have great importance for the film.
- Where do the reality in On the Way to School and the reality in Voice of My Father coincide and where do they differentiate?
Orhan Eskiköy: These two films complete one another.
Zeynel and Hasan are the adult versions of hundreds of thousands of
Kurdish children we watched in On the Way to School. Moreover,
the reason why we chose this family, which is both Kurdish and Alevite,
is our need to express our feeling that the separation of Kurds and
Alevites from one another considering the social opposition, makes both
communities weaker. I don’t think it is correct to interpret and discuss
the Maraş massacre as if it was only aimed at the Alevites. The biggest
plan of the perpetrators of the September 12 coup was to separate Kurds
and Alevites, two great actors of social opposition, from one another
in order to terminate the leftist movement which was peaking in those
days. But the two communities have to struggle together against the
oppression. We can say that the common point of these two films is this
In terms of cinema, I can say that the first film tried to be more of an observer. In Voice of My Father
the story is going back and forth between the past and the present.
Therefore it is hard to say that they coincide in reality of cinema
other than political reality.
- What do you think: Do the cassettes your mother hid
coincide with “forcefully forgetting” practices of the authority and
does what is told about Maraş massacre coincide with
“remembering-confronting” practices especially in the way projected in
our cinema today?
Orhan Eskiköy: The cassettes the mother hid coincide
with our collective memory that we all know and remember; but we think
they will hurt us when we talk about and therefore cover them. What we
don’t know is that the real comfort will surface after when we start
- Do you have any films in mind that “you won’t miss” in the Istanbul Film Festival?
Zeynel Doğan: I definitely would like to watch Inside by Zeki Demirkubuz whose films I watch with admiration.