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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


• WE HAD A LONG AND JOYFUL SUNDAY A gleeful Sunday with the festival continuing full-force and screenings becoming even more attractive with the participation of the directors. Besides a panel discussion and a film chat, directors met with their audiences again.

• GAININGS OF THE JOURNEY WITH AVÉ Story of the relationship between 17-year-old Avé and alienated art student Kamen starting with a hitchhike and continuing with lies was adapted to the screen by director Konstantin Bojanov who was inspired from real events... Awarded in festivals, Avé was screened at Fitaş 4 at 11.00 with the participation of director Bojanov. On the female hero of the film, the director said: “I have always been interested in strong women in literature, cinema, and life... The female hero of the film is also interesting. I selected the actress to play the part from among eight hundred candidates. She is not a professional actress but this is what I have preferred. There is also a strong woman in my next script.”

• “NATIONAL COMPETITION” BEGAN Twelve films are competing in the “National Competition” category of the festival this year. Nar / The Pomegranate, one of these films, was screened at Atlas Sineması at 13.30. Director Ümit Ünal invites the audience to question their idea of justice once more. Director Ümit Ünal, producer Türker Korkmaz, actresses Serra Yılmaz, İrem Altuğ and İdil Fırat participated to the screening. On the film, Ünal said: “We did a pretty good preliminary work. We did not leave anything missing for the set thanks to rehearsals. Therefore, everything worked well in the shooting for fifteen days. Since the film generally stands upon dialogues, the audience thinks it’s like theatre. Because this is not an approach they used to, but I don’t think so.”
You can find an interview by Ümit Ünal here.

• FROM SUNDANCE TO ISTANBUL! Can premiered and was awarded with Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, which accepted a Turkish film to its programme for the first time. Can competes in the “National Competition” section of Istanbul Film Festival. Director Raşit Çelikezer shows us the difficulties of a couple and what they go through when they decide to adopt a child. The film was screened at Atlas Sineması at 19.00 with the participation of the director Çelikezer. Along with Çelikezer, actors Selen Uçer, Serdar Orçin, Erkan Avcı, Yusuf Berkan Demirbağ and Serhat Nalbantoğlu participated to the screening. “I did the best I could in order to make the story effective. The film was shot as it was. We did not change anything during editing. I told what I saw. I was inspired by my daughter and told the difficulties and sufferings of a couple who cannot have children,” said the director. You can find an interview by the director here.

• A HUMAN BEING IS ALSO A RAW MATERIAL When we leave our homes for cinema, probably most of us see those who collect waste materials in streets and next to waste mountains in front of our houses. Well who are they actually? Director Christos Karakepelis looks for an answer to this question from the shore across of the Aegean. The film was screened with the participation of the director and co-scriptwriter Natasha Segou at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00. “The documentary was shot in 2004 while Greece was preparing for the Olympic Games. Back then, there wasn’t crisis in the country. Unemployment was not high. People were hopeful. But the economic system was present back then and it indicated the crisis today. Back then, there were about 100.000 people collecting waste materials, now there are maybe 300.000,” said the director.
• HAILS FROM AUSTRALIA This is the first feature film by documentarist Amiel Courtin-Wilson, in which lead actors Daniel P. Jones and Leanne Letch play themselves. Hail, blurring the boundaries between cinema and real life, was screened with the participation of the director Courtin-Wilson at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 16.00. Regarding his narrative, the director stated: “I prefer close ups. I think the main reason for this is that I am a documentarist. I believe I express myself better this way.”

• VISIONS OF CALCUTTA IN THE “DOCUMENTARY TIME WITH NTV” SECTION In this documentary by Phil Cox, India is presented from an angle that we never see before. Detective bureaus increasing in number in India are presented through dance and music by focusing on three criminal cases and the private lives of customers. The Bengali Detective was screened at Fitaş 1 at 21.30 with the participation of Dennis Wheatley, composer of the soundtrack and part of the film crew. While answering the questions on the film, Wheatley said: “This is completely a documentary, there is no fiction in it. We had a preliminary work process that can be considered short. We were ready to shoot the film after one and a half year. And the shoot was completed in six months. In this film, we see Calcutta as one of the characters. We tried to make the audience feel that they are in Calcutta, among the characters. First of all, we put on ads to find the main character Rajesh. We interviewed with the private detectives answering to the advertisement. But of course Rajesh was the most prominent of all.”

• WHAT THE REVOLUTION IN TUNISIA TELLS US Unexpected winds of the Arab Spring resulted in unpredictable movements in many countries. Director Elyes Baccar shows the period between Tunisian People’s Revolution and expulsion of President Bin Ali, and he reflects the story of revolution and how it turned into a movement where all Tunisians played a part. Rouge Parole with the participation of the director Baccar will be at Pera Museum at 21.30.
In order to look more closely to Arab Spring, there will be round table discussion parallel to the screenings in the “Filming Revolution” section. Filmmakers, academicians, archivists, and historians will participate to the meeting and handle the phenomenon from all sides.
Round Table: Filming Revolution will be on Wednesday, 11 April at Pera Museum at 16.00

• GREEK CINEMA REDEFINES ITSELF with unconventional cinematographic experiments. “What’s Happening in Greece?” section of the Istanbul Film Festival hosts four Greek films. Ariane Labed, an actress in the film, Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Alpis, and Efthimis Filippou, screenplay writer of both Alpis and L, met with cinephiles at the Panel Discussion: What’s Happening in Greek Cinema? at 14.00 at Salon İKSV.
Here are some notes to Greek Cinema:
Lanthimos: “Yes, there is actually a movement in the Greek cinema. But we should not overlook the fact that sometimes, a certain national cinema is propagated by film critics. While this is the situation, sometimes good films that were overlooked become prominent. Or the other way around: Sometimes they are considered as they are good just because they were propagated.”
Filippou: “There is nothing much to say about the economy of Greece. Financial support to films has never been strong but it has disappeared now. Therefore we make these films with the people around us... But we always keep our professionalism. On the line of being a friend and film making, we are on the film-making part.”
Labed: “I am shooting a film in Belgium nowadays. This is also a low-budget film. But compared to Greece, I feel like we live in luxury there. But I have to say that we dedicate ourselves to the films we shoot in Greece. But the people in the set in Belgium consider this as just a job.”

• CONVERSATIONS ON CINEMA Both of them are more important for the festival than they are every year... Murathan Mungan is the head of the Golden Tulip National Competition Jury, and Sevin Okyay was awarded with the Honorary Award of the 2012 Istanbul Film Festival... Those who wanted to witness the conversation of these two on cinema within the festival was at 16.00 at Salon İKSV for Murathan Mungan Meets Sevin Okyay. The conversation continued with the interesting questions by Murathan Mungan to Sevin Okyay. In the conversation on a lifetime full of art, they talked about everything from old cinema magazines to the Sinematek, to their first Tarkovsky in Cinema Days, from books translated by Sevin Okyay to the novel she wrote. As an answer to Mungan’s question regarding the directors she likes and the directors she wants to work with, Okyay listed names such as Fassbinder, John Cassavates, Jim Jarmusch, and French new wave directors who are essential for her. The audience learned that “All About Eve” is the film that Okyay would never get bored to watch. The audience followed the conversation just like a cinema class, and they noted down all the names of the films and directors.

• SUNDAY YOUTH! BitamBiöğrenci project presented a Sunday with three films to students who have a week full of classes ahead. Death of a Superhero, in the “International Competition” section, was at 11.00 at Atlas Sineması. The second film In Orange from the “Kids’ Menu: Special Holland” section was at 13.30 at Akbank Sanat. The last film, The Field of Enchantment was screened at 16.00 at Fitaş 1.


• A FULL WEEK ON THE WAY! Second week of the festival presents a programme completely full even from the first day.

• STREET DOGS FROM THE DIRECTOR WITH GOLDEN PALM Who remembers the street dogs exterminated in 1910 for the sake of modernisation? How is the life for street dogs today and how will it be in the future? Director Serge Avédikian looks for an answer to that question... If you want to take a closer look at the story, Dogs Story will be at 11.00 at Fitaş 1 with the participation of Burçin Gerçek.

• LEVELS OF SOCIAL SCHIZOPHRENIA Director Savaş Baykal shows us dysfunctionality of legal and social institutions while presenting the childhood of the cruel youth. Don’t miss Lament for Foresight and Q&A with the participation of the director Baykal at Beyoğlu Sineması at 11.00 if you want to go travel further down into the director’s perspective!

• A FIRST FILM IN THE “NATIONAL COMPETITION” We watch the journey of a pessimist and neurotic architect back home in the first film by Muzaffer Özdemir, who was awarded with Golden Palm in Cannes with his role in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film in 2003. Home will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 13.30 with participation of Özdemir! A special interview with Özdemir is on the website of the festival.
• BETWEEN TWO CULTURES Semi, the only son of a family migrated to Germany, lives under the pressure of getting stuck between the two cultures although he is ten. If you want to witness Semi getting lost between Germany and Mardin, Semi will be at Beyoğlu Sineması at 13.30 with the participation of Refik Çakar.

• GOLDEN TULIP JURY MEMBER ON THE SILVER SCREEN Brillante Mendoza, jury member for the Golden Tulip International Competition, is known with his multi-awarded films “Kinatay”, “Lola” and “Serbis”. The director tells the story of abduction of NGO volunteer Thérèse and a group of tourists in the Philippines in Captive, to be screened at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 13.30 with the participation of Mendoza!

• FIRST FILM OF THE “MAKAM TRILOGY” Hicaz, the first film of the trilogy which will continue with Sabâ and Nihâvend, is the first film of director Erdal Rahmi Hanay... We see diseases of the modern age such as physical and spiritual loneliness, helplessness, consumption, and dissatisfaction in the characters. Erkan Oğur has his name under the soundtrack of Hicaz composing of five different stories. The film will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00 with the participation of the director Hanay.

• TUNISIAN REVOLUTION, AGAIN! Rouge Parole follows the traces of the Tunisian public revolution. The film visits cities and towns of the revolution one by one. The film will be screened at Pera Museum at 16.00 for those who want to witness effects of Arab Spring in Tunisia and listen to the experiences of the director Elyes Baccar.

• A VERY LONG NIGHT IN A ROOM... Awarded in Nürnberg, Würzburg, and Berlin, the film set a light to “child brides” phenomenon in Turkey. Director Reis Çelik will participate to the screening of Night of Silence, at Atlas Sineması at 19.00.

• PAINFUL MEMORIES FROM 1961 IN THE “DOCUMENTARY TIME WITH NTV” Awarded the second prize in Dubai, the film is about the protest of Algerians in 1961 in Paris. This protest was suppressed by the French government with violence. Here We Drown Algerians-October 17th 1961 combined with the images of witnesses and archival footage will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 19.00 with the participation of director Yasmina Adi.

• TWO WEEKS OF PREPARING THE MILESTONE FOR EGYPT Director Stefano Savona displays the revolution overthrowing the Mubarak regime with the witnesses. For those who want to watch the struggle on the silver screen, Tahrir-Liberation Square will be at Pera Museum at 19.00. There will be Q&A with the participation of the director Savona.

• SIMURGH FOR “FACE” Journalist-director Ruhi Karadağ tells the story of the death fast actions that spread in protest of the F-type prisons in Bayrampaşa Prison in 2000 and the subsequent “Return to Life” operation. The screening of the documentary Simurgh, in which the activists take part, will be at Beyoğlu Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of the director Karadağ.

• TUNISIA REVOLUTION TELLS ABOUT ITSELF! Director Mourad ben Cheikh follows the traces of Tunisia Revolution from the first day to the overthrown of Bin Ali in his first feature documentary. No More Fear will be screened at Pera Museum at 21.30 with the participation of the director.

• MASTER CLASS FROM THE ROMANIAN MASTER! Filmekimi audiences will remember “East of Bucharest” screened in 2006. The director had won the Golden Camera, the award for the best first feature in Cannes with this film. Jury member for Golden Tulip International Competition Director, Corneliu Porumboiu will give a master class at Boğaziçi University Mithat Alam Film Center at 16.00.

• SWORDS ON THE LEAD!!! This year is the Year of Culture of China in Turkey... Therefore the festival programme has a section on China: “A Chinese Tradition: WuXia”. There will be a panel discussion on the films in the section and all brilliance and colours of the genre in the Chinese cinema sector. Panel Discussion: Tiger at the Movies-WuXia will be held at Akbank Sanat at 16.00 with the participation of kung fu researcher Wang Qun.

• A MASTER FROM THE PHILIPPINES! Cinephiles will remember Brillante Mendoza from his films “Kinatay”, “Lola” and “Serbis”. There will be a master class by Mendoza, who is a jury member for Golden Tulip International Competition and has a film in the festival programme with Captive. The event will at Akbank Sanat at 18.00!

• JOY OF FILMS DURING THE BREAK WTIH BitamBiöğrenci Students will meet with The Giants, story of two brothers who live outside the city and society, at 11.00 at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s. Afterwards, they will watch The Field of Enchantment, reflecting the amazing scenery on the shore of a secluded lake, at 13.30 Fitaş 1.


• MORE EXTENSIVE PROGRAMMES FROM THE FESTIVAL EVERYDAY!!! A tiresome but enjoying day is ahead of the festival audience. Be ready for the presentations and events!

• A HERO FORM THE “INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION” A film on a teenage boy who confronts with illness presents amazing visuals by mixing animation with real images. The film in the “International Competition” category is an Ian FitzGibbon’s film who was awarded with Golden Tulip with “A Film with Me in It”. Death of a Superhero adapted from a novel will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 11.00 with the participation of actor Tomas Broddie-Sangster.

• WHAT A GRANDFATHER SHARES WITH HIS GRANDCHILD IN THE MOTHER TONGUE Realizing that his mother tongue is disappearing slowly, Mustafa decides to teach his mother tongue Zazaki to his grandchild. Where is My Mother Tongue?, a film on the effects of cultural traumas on families, in the “National Competition” category will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 13.30 with the participation of director Veli Kahraman.

• SECOND VISIT TO TAHRIR The film by director Stefano Savona presents a fresh history full of hope, anger, pride, fear, disappointment, and enthusiasm. For those who want to watch the revolution, which is not in the history books yet, Tahrir-Liberation Square will be screened at Pera Museum at 13.30.

• DELAY IN THE “INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION” Maria is exhausted both financially and spiritually. And one day, she leaves her father, whom she cannot take care of, on the street, alone. Third film by director Rodrigo Plà, The Delay will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 16.00. Producer Sandino Saravia will be present at the screening.

• A WARM FAMILY DRAMA Director Cédric Kahn tells the story of a couple who is torn between two countries for a better life. A Better Life will be screened at Fitaş 4 at 16.00 with the participation of director Kahn.

• A LOOK INTO 1961’S FRANCE! Awarded the second prize in Dubai, the film is about the protest of Algerians in 1961 in Paris suppressed by the French government with violence. Here We Drown Algerians-October 17th 1961 mixed with the images of witnesses and archives will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 16.00 with the participation of director Yasmina Adi.

• LOVE AND REVOLUTION IN THE NEW TURKISH CINEMA While listening to the radio in his student house, Kemal learns that “socialism” has collapsed. Despite the bad news, the revolutionary organisation, which Kemal is belongs to, is determined to continue struggling. Love and Revolution will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00 with the participation of director Serkan Acar.

• A CINEMA MANIFESTO IN THE “INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION” The film is about a young film-maker who bears the pain of his brother’s loss only through his love of cinema. Director Amir Naderi, actor Hidetoshi Nishijama and the producer Engin Yenidünya will be present for the screening of Cut at Atlas Sineması at 19.00.

• HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CINEMA In the animation, director Anca Damian tells the story of 33-year-old Claudiu Crulic who was passed away after the death fast in 2008 in Poland. For those who want to see the film and meet with the director, the film Crulic-The Path to Beyond will be screened at Fitaş 4 at 19.00.

• SECOND DATE WITH THE STREET DOGS It is hard to know that how many documents have focused on dogs so far. But director Serge Avédikian adapted the story of dogs, which we share the streets with in the city we live in, and how they position in the city life in the past and future to the screen. Catherine Pinguet, the writer, will be present for the screening of Dogs Story together with the director Avédikian at Fitaş 1 at 19.00.

• STORY OF A WOMEN IN THE UNIVERSE OF FEAR What Remains on two women who try to stand upright in the “Universe of fear” will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 19.00 with the participation of the director Çiğdem Vitrinel Özcan.

• EASTERN EUROPEAN SPRING The film is about the elections in Ukraine in 2004 and the national drama called “Orange Revolution” after the elections. The documentary, Orange Winter, awarded in festivals will be screened at Pera Museum at 19.00 with the participation of Andrei Zagdansky.

• WHAT BEYOND THE HILL HIDES Beyond the Hill competing in the “National Competition” category is the first feature film of the director Emin Alper after his short films “Rıfat” and “Mektup”. If you want to witness the tension between a provincial family and nomads setting their tents beyond the hill, this Anatolian story will be screened at Atlas Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of the director Alper.

• STORY OF A LAWYER FROM TEHERAN Apart from Cafer Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof was also imprisoned and prohibited from shooting films. The story of the film has similarities to the director’s life. We watch the efforts of an Iranian female lawyer who lives in Teheran to leave the country. Goodbye will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of the director Rasoulof.

• FOUR WOMEN AND A STORY We watch the story of four women from different age groups and with different pasts along with the Egyptian Revolution. In the Shadow of a Man will be screened at Pera Museum at 21.30 with the participation of the director.

• SCREENINGS WITH BitamBiöğrenci PROJECT CONTINUE! Guests of the films which will meet with the students today within the project will be present at the theatre and answer the questions of students. The first film to be screened is Death of a Superhero by Ian FitzGibbon will be screened at Fitaş 4 at 11.00. And the second film, a documentary, Dogs Story by Serge Avédikian will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 19.00.

• MEETINGS ON THE BRIDGE First seminar of the Meetings on the Bridge, which brings European and Turkish film makers together, will be held at Akbank Sanat. The first event will be Franz Rodenkirchen Master Class On Script Development And Evaluation between 10.30 and 13.00. The second seminar Transmedia – My 10 Transmendments / A Case Study Shankaboot will be between 14.30 and 17.00.


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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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