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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.




• FESTIVAL’S WINNERS ANNOUNCED The closure gala of the 30th Istanbul Film Festival took place at Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre. In the evening, which was presented by Mehmet Ali Alabora and broadcast live on NTV, the Golden Tulip International Competition Award was given to Egyptian director Ahmad Abdalla’s Microphone. In the International Competition, the Special Jury Prize was given ex aequo to Seyfi Teoman’s Our Grand Despair and Federico Veiroj’s A Useful Life. The Golden Tulip Best Turkish Film of the Year award was given to Tayfun Pirselimoğlu’s film Hair and The Golden Tulip Best Director of the Year award was also given to Pirselimoğlu for this film. Director Juanita Wilson won the Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE), presented in scope of Human Rights in Cinema competition, with As If I’m Not There. Under the same section, Sedat Yılmaz's film Press was deemed deserving the Special Jury Prize. Nazan Kesal won the Best Actress Award with her role in Hair and Ahmet Mekin won the Best Actor Award with his role in Unseen. In this year’s National Competition, Belma Baş was deemed to deserve The Best Screenplay of The Year Award with her film Zephyr. The Best Director of Photography award in the National Competition was given to Birgit Gudjonsdottir with her film Our Grand Despair and the Best Music Award was given to Ahmet Kenan Bilgiç with the film Merry-Go-Round. Sedat Yılmaz’ film Press was deemed to deserve the Special Jury Prize of the National Competition. The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Awards were given to Tran Anh Hung’s film Norwegian Wood in the International Competition and to Sedat Yılmaz with his film Press in the National Competition.

The Festival’s “Turkish Cinema” theme sponsor Efes, gave a monetary award of $30,000 to Sedat Yılmaz, the director of Press, which was elected by FIPRESCI among films participating in the National Competition and who was awarded on Onat Kutlar’s memory, to be used toward his next film. The People’s Choice Award is given by the Radikal Newspaper, one of the IKSV’s media sponsors. In the International Competition, Seyfi Teoman’s Our Grand Despair and in the National Competition İlksen Başarır’s film Merry-Go-Round won the awards. Following the awards ceremony, during which Şevval Sam gave a concert, guests watched Susanne Bier’s Oscar-winning drama In A Better World. Throughout the gala Şevval Sam took the stage with a colorful program consisting of tangos.

• CLOSING PARTY WITH EFES One of the Festival’s classics, the closing party, sponsored by Efes, was held in Pera Palace. The Festival’s winners, as well as personalities from arts, culture, and media worlds attended the evening.

• I SAW HOW WOMEN WERE TORN APART DURING WAR The screening of As If I Am Not There took place in Fitaş Movie Theater. Audience members reacted when, at the end of the film, one of the viewers shouted, “This film is insulting religion. Why are you watching it?” Juanita Wilson recounted the birth process of As If I Am Not There, which she had adapted from a novel by Slavenka Drakulic by the same name. “I came across the book 10 years ago in Dublin. I saw how women were torn apart during the war. Europe had done nothing against what had gone on. Nothing, although it took place during our time… As a woman, I then thought whether I would have been able to survive if I were stuck in this position. I searched for finance for 10 years so that I could make this movie.”

• ISTANBUL ISTANBUL The Istanbul Istanbul Panel, which examined the change and development of Istanbul in recent years, was held in Salon. Moderated by Human Rights Activist Cihan Baysal, the panel was attended by Ayazma Urban Development Victims Spokesperson Kasım Aydın, Assistant Professor Tuna Kuyucu from Bosporus University Sociology Department, Sulukule Roman Culture Development and Solidarity Association President Şükrü Pündük, and Assistant Professor Asuman Türkün from Yıldız Technical University Faculty of Architecture, City and Regional Planning Department.

• WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS FOR US TO BE AWARE OF OURSELVES Scriptwriter and director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu attended the screening of Nobody Else But You in Nişantaşı City’s. He explained the name of the film was derived from the Marilyn Monroe song I Wanna Be Loved By You and he was applauded for a long time. He explained the frequent use of the number 5 in the film with yet another Monroe story, her famous quote that in bed she wears “just two drops of Chanel No.5.” Hustache-Mathieu said the characters in the film had big dreams and added, “What is important is that we accept what we are.”

• WE FILMED WITH A MINUSCULE BUDGET The screening of Hakkı Kurtuluş and Melik Saraçoğlu’s Journey to Bergmania was held in Beyoğlu Movie Theater. Following the screening, the directors said, “We shot this film with a minuscule budget. For us, it was a cinematic pilgrimage. We could have done a much bigger project and a much brighter film if we waited a couple of years but then we would have lost this amateur spirit. Our aim was not to make a film about Bergman but rather to depict Bergman’s effects on us through a journey.”

• IMAGINATION IS IMPORTANT IN CINEMA The screening of The Mill and the Cross took place in Atlas Movie Theater. The film’s director Lech Majewski attended the screening and answered the audience’s questions. Majewski said, “If I were to speak on the future of cinema, I would have never thought I could take Bruegel’s painting so far. I was congratulated in Sundance by the crews of Inception, Avatar, and Pirates of the Caribbean. And our budget was so small compared to theirs. Imagination is important in cinema.”

• “OUR DREAMS TOOK US HERE” The world premiere of Luxury Hotel took place under the scope of the Festival in Beyoğlu Movie Theater. The film’s director Kenan Korkmaz and the film crew attended the screening. “Instead of having my characters say what I wanted to communicate, I wanted it to be imposed on the actors’ faces and in visuals,” said Korkmaz. He said that the key sentence of the film was “Our dreams got us here.” He explained three films independent from Luxury Hotel took form during the shooting of the film in Adana. He added that an alternative cinema environment had developed in Adana.

• COPACABANA WILL BE IN THEATERS ON MAY 6 Director Marc Fitoussi attended the screening of Copacabana, which was also the opening film of this year’s Festival. Explaining how he created the Babu character portrayed by Isabelle Huppert, Fitoussi said the film would be released theatrically in Turkey on May 6.



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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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