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Antalya favours East Europeans in US$400,000 festival-prize bonanza

ANTALYA, Turkey ~

A Romanian movie called The Paper Will Be Blue picked up the top international prize of US$75,000 for Best Foreign Film at the 43rd Antalya Film Festival, while Best National Film and US$100,000 went to the owners of Destiny.

In a night that gave particular recognition to East European films about change following the collapse of communism, some 33 awards were made and US$400,000 given away in cash prizes at a magnificently well-organised closing ceremony on Saturday night (23 September 2006) in Antalya’s glass pyramid.
The Aspendos Roman Amphitheatre, a nearby 2,000-year-old Roman site that was dedicated to Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century AD and seats 20,000 people, was to have been used but freak weather conditions persuaded the organisers to switch the ceremony to an indoors venue.
Whilst only approximately 3,000 of the 15,000 originally invited to attend the Aspendos venue could be seated in the glass pyramid, the ceremony lost none of its glamour.
Faye Dunaway had returned home but a resplendent Helen Mirren and her husband Taylor Hackford joined with Fiddler on the Roof director Norman Jewison in attending the festival and were the first to receive honorary awards.
Next up was a new category, the Critics Award, which was judged by a group of six leading critics who viewed entries from seven different countries before voting for Romania’s 12:08 East of Bucharest, directed by Corneliu Porumboiu.
They described the entry as “a very low budget film that cleverly raises issues about the revolution” that saw former tyrant President Ceausescu abandon the presidential palace in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, at exactly 12:08 on December 22, 1989.
But it was another Romanian film, The Paper Will be Blue that picked up the top prize for best foreign film. Directed by Radu Muntean, the film, which also takes place in Romania in December 1989, was described by jury leader Beki Probst as providing a rare view of the chaos after the fall of communism.
Chinese film, Bliss, by rookie director Sheng Zhimin, had been tipped as a possible winner, as had The Boy on a Galloping Horse by Adam Guzinski (Poland) and Time by Korea’s Kim KiDuk.
But the jury, which also included Barbara Bouchet, James Cromwell, Samira Makhmalbaf, Mehmet Aslantug, Wieland Speck, and Padric Delaney of When the Wind Blows through the Barley fame, were unanimous in going for The Paper Will Be Blue.
Best foreign director went to another East European, Gyorgy Palfi Hungary for his film, Taxidermia. The jury described Palfi’s entry as “an unsettling, provocative vision of Hungary at a time of great change”.
Despite the considerable attention given to foreign directors and celebrities, the festival is still the platform for the Golden Orange Awards, when Turkey’s best new feature films, documentaries and short films and hottest talent are given the recognition they deserve.
The heat was certainly too much for one of the country’s most celebrated directors, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose film Climates had been entered both in the international and the national section, more or less guaranteeing him and his film a prize of sorts.
The international jury were not impressed but the national jury decided to award him with Best Director. Perhaps the thought of getting his hands on Best Film and a second prize was too much for Ceylan because halfway through the ceremony, in the middle of a music recital, he collapsed and had to be helped from the auditorium whilst the recital played on.
When the music stopped, Best Film was awarded to director Zeki Demirkubuz for his newest product, Destiny (Kader in Turkish) in a close run race with Omer Ugur, director of a rather more politically controversial film called Back Home which looks at the tribulations of a small family trying to mind their own business at the time of the September 1980 military coup in Turkey.
Back Home did get some recognition in the form of Best Actress for Sibel Kekilli and Best Supporting Actor for Civan Cenova
Best actor went to Erkan Can for a good performance in A Man’s Fear of God which also won Best Script for Onder Cakar, Best Cinematography & Kodak Award for Soykut Turan, Best Art Director for Erol Taştan, Best Music for Gökçe Akçelik; Best Costume Design for Ayten Şenyurt; and finally Best Make-Up & Hair Design, Nimet İnkaya.
Best Supporting Actress went to Nazan Kesal for her role in Climates , Best Editing went to Ayhan Ergüzel for Climates, Best Sound Design was also won by Climates; Best Special Effects went to Waiting for Heaven, and Best Laboratory was shared between Climates and (you’ve guessed!) A Man’s Fear of God.
Best Short Film was A Drop of Water, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven; and there was a special award for Boreas directed by Belma Baş.
The National Documentary Film Competition was won by Housekeeper, director Emel Çelebi; and there was a special award for Ömer Come Home!


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