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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Exclusive interview with Turkish animator Berat İlk

Exclusive interview with Turkish animator Berat İlk

Animation artist, director and producer, Berat İlk, is an Eskişehir Anadolu University Cartoon Film graduate. İlk, whose expertise is StopMotion, has been among the founding partners of the reputed animation studio, Anima. He has directed or participated as an animator over 100 commercial projects, using various animation techniques like 3D, cell animation, still drawings, flash, puppet, cut out, claymation and many more stop motion techniques. İlk, who is also the President of the Canlandıranlar Animators Festival, which has been held regularly from 2013, teaches at universities as well.

After a short period of living in Canada, he returned home, reflected upon the current situation and needs of the Turkish animation industry, and, in 2008, started developing projects under the Canlandıranlar name. Later, with the participation of İstanbul European Capital of Culture and İstanbul Bilgi University’s Visual Communication Design department, he was able to bring to life the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp where short animation films by young artists are produced. The Canlandıranlar Animators Association is the Turkish chapter of ASIFA, the international association of animators. Berat İlk also organises workshops for children where they got the opportunity to experiment and learn about animation; at the end of each workshop, the young talents’ works are made into a short documentary.

He has also designed the project of feature animation film Abdülcanbaz, Turhan Selçuk’s famous comics’ hero.

Some of İlk’s recent works have been:

Declaration of the Rights of the Child - 2012 .... Documentary Animation, 00:13:00

2. Children's Rights Film Festival, Adult Child Rights Films, Screenings. 2013

Human Rights Declaration - 2012 .... Documentary Animation, 00:10:00

2. Children's Rights Film Festival, Adult Child Rights Films, Screenings. 2013

Emergency Workshop with Children - 2011 ... Documentary Animation, 00:09:37

3rd Animators Festival, Documentary Interviews Department, Impressions. 2015

Malatya Animation Workshop with Children - 2011 .... Documentary Animation, 00:09:37

3rd Animators Festival, Documentary Interviews Department, Impressions. 2015

Among the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp films that he has produced one of them is an animated documentary; Invisible Walls: Tales of Insecurity, Director: Nurbanu Asena, Country: Turkey, Year: 2016

Running Time: 07' 35'', Technique: Drawing on paper, Producer: Nurbanu Asena, Berat Ilk

Last year, Kim Mihri (Who is Mihri) (Director: Berna Gençalp/Producer: Berat İlk, Yonca Ertürk), about an artist known to nobody, but an artist who will be given life in a feature docu-animation film through an innovative unpretentious narrative, won a 10000€ prize at the Antalya Film Forum.

He participates in film festivals such as SICAF in Seoul, Cairo International Film Festival for Children and Akbank Short Film Festival, as a jury member.

At MIFF, Berat has been the resource person for a package of Turkish animation films, curated by renowned Indian animation film-maker Dhvani Desai, who also curated the Brazilian animation package. 

Here he speaks exclusively to Siraj Syed:

Q. 1. Was this your first visit to India? Which are the places you visited? You were accompanied by a lady and a girl. Were they your wife and daughter? How did they enjoy the trip?

Yes, it was my first visit to India. My work for the festival kept me very busy. Besides the jury duties I presented a Turkish Animation Packet and a Master Class on the Canlandıranlar Experience as an alternative education and production model. Therefore I didn’t have much time to see around. I have come to Mumbai with my wife and daughter. They had more opportunity to see the city and truly enjoyed it. We are thankful for the hospitality of the festival team. On festival’s very last day I joined my family and we visited Mahatma Gandhi’s house, Gateway of India, and some street markets.

Q. 2. What is Stop Motion and how did you develop a taste for it?

We can call Stop Motion or Stop Frame as a mixed breed of cinema and animation. It is a wonderful animation technique by which you can give motion to anything such as objects, toys, puppets, even real people… I developed my taste and skills for animation by watching a lot of films. I watched some of the films many times over and over again, then I did my own experiments. But I need to confess that the commercials that I worked really developed my timing and technique. In England, it is often called

Q. 3. Who are your personal favourite Stop Motion animators? Which are some of your favourite animation films?

Norman McLaren (late Scottish-Canadian icon, master of pixilation; died 1987; A cinematic genius who made films without cameras or music without instruments; produced 60 films in a stunning range of styles and techniques, collecting over 200 international awards and world recognition) is the animator who inspired me to do Stop Motion.

Other names that effected me are; Jiri Trinka, Jan Svankmajer, Ray Harryhausen (American animator who worked in Britain; films include The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts; died 2013, aged 93), Will Winton, Nick Park and Peter Lord (CBE, born 1953, British animator, film producer, director and co-founder of the Academy Award-winning Aardman Animations studio, best known for its clay-animated films featuring plasticine duo Wallace & Gromit; he directed The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 85th Academy Awards. He also produced Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!)

Some of my favourite films are Neigbours, Hands, Dimensions of Dialogue, Jason and the Argonauts, Huckleberry Finn, Creature Comforts. Surrealist genius Jan Svankmajer’s stop frame masterpiece ‘Moznosti dialogu’ (Dimensions of Dialogue) is an examination in three parts of how humans communicate, and what can often go wrong. Svankmajer is now 83

Q. 4. What is your family background? Your parents, brothers, sisters?

My father was a vet, and my mother was a housewife. Because of my father’s profession, throughout my childhood, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with various animals. I have two older sisters. One of them is an economist and the other is a doctor.

Q. 5. Have you been to many film festivals? How does MIFF compare with them? What can be done to make MIFF even more successful?

I have both participated and visited many festivals in Asia and Europe. I think MIFF is an important festival for short and documentary filmmakers but it should also gain more importance for animation filmmakers as well.

I could hardly intermingle with the festival audience at MIFF because of my jury duties. But I didn’t see any children around though the venue was very convenient. I think it would be a good idea to include activities for children, such as workshops or special screenings… Years pass by and those children become the audiences or the filmmakers/animators.



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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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