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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.



Interview with Muzaffer Özdemir at İstanbul Film Festival


A protest against the massacre in nature!

Muzaffer Özdemir known as an actor in Nuri Bilge Ceylan films is now a director. With his film, Home, that carries autobiographical tones he competes in the National Competition. He tells about the hydroelectric power plants (HPPs), capitalist destruction, violence of human beings, and destruction of nature through the eyes of his character, an architect, who travels back home and witnesses the change.

- Can we read this movie as a requiem for nature that screams in pain?

The opening scene with a road set with burned logs, cut trees, and a dead animal... Are all these your cry to the annihilation?
“Cry” may be bit overambitious. Some kind of a requiem together with some kind of a protest... Feeling of simultaneous losses: one about the receptions of childhood, losing the circular times when we discover world and life with a great appetite, when we are far from death... And the other is the destruction which comes with techno-liberal capitalist modernisation and ignoring destructive power of interest while only considering pushing power thereof.

- Hydroelectric power plants (HPP) set their trace to the film. There is a documentary on the HPPs in the film. A documentary inside documentary. Was the HPPs your main starting point?

No, it wasn’t. I have been suffering from the destructive approaches of Turkish people to solid roots of natural and cultural heritage of Anatolia and their valiant nationalism which is away from patriotism. These are the topics I have been patient to talk. HPPs became the last straw. I watched speeches of the current minister of water affairs and the minister of culture on HPPs on TV at the beginning of 2009. This was the moment when I decided to shoot this film. Violence and domination performed by people on the innocent world of other beings cannot be forgotten. Just like we haven’t forgotten what happened in the dogs’ island.

- Barış Bıçakçı is the assistant director. How did you two come together?

While I was working on the screenplay, writer Barış Bıçakçı contributed a lot as an advisor. He came to the shootings as a guest, but he was the one who worked the most. I would like to thank him once more time hereby.

- What are the differences between “return to the small town” concept in Nuri Bilge Ceylan cinema and your “return home” concept?

A lot has passed since those times. The concept of “return” is also different but I don’t want to talk about them right now. Loneliness of our land results from the crowds living on it.

-The last line of the film is “Let’s go!” So, what is your solution? Is “going” the solution or is it in showing the situation by shooting a film?

What is your suggestion for a solution?
World population is increasing fast. Even if we think of the world as a source rather than as an aesthetic land, the final picture is quite negative. Social-centred perception of the world does not keep up with the contract with nature. We seem to reach a solution only when the danger increases more.

- How does it feel to compete in the Istanbul Film Festival with your first movie?

During 70s I was addicted to the Sinematek. Later on, I followed the Sinema Günleri (Cinema Days). I care about the Istanbul Film Festival for this reason, apart from other properties. This is quite exciting for me.

- Do you have any film in the festival programme that you won’t miss?

I’d like to watch The Music Lovers by Ken Russell once more.

Interview: Ceyda Aşar


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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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