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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Sarajevo Film Festival

actress Melissa Papel and director Ari Folman at the Sarajevo Film Festival

Ari Folman is the director of one of my favorite films ever, Waltz With Bashir (2008).

interview here with Ari Folman and interviewer Farai Gundan:


And one on one interview with Melissa Papel below:


In my interview with actress Melissa Papel, we discussed her new film
Off Karadeniz
(2010), a Turkish film about a young girl from
the region of Smyrna in Turkey.


me: "I'm so excited to hear about this film as I have been to
Smyrna and Im fascinaed by this region of Turkey.Can you tell us about
Off Karadeniz
and what your role in the film is?"

Melissa: "Off Karadeniz,
called "Smyn-Of" in Turkish, is a 95 minute comedy. It is the story of
Melek, a young girl from Izmir (Smyrn), who just graduated from law
school. For her first mission as a judge, she is sent to Of, a city with
a bad reputation for its mafia and its overly conservative and
religious aspects. Scared to death and completely depressed about the
idea of going there, she will have to go through a variety of adventures
in order to fit in, and will actually discover that the people of that
region and their lifestyles are not as bad after all..."

me: "What is it like
being a Turkish TV star and moving into the world of international film?"

Melissa: "I can't say that I'm a star in Turkey, but working there means a lot to
me. My mother is Turkish after all, and I feel like it's a way of
honoring my cultural heritage to act there as well. I actually
started with theater classes in Paris, and then went to Vancouver Film
school in Canada to study Film and Television. I've travelled a lot in
my life and I would really want to use all the languages that I know in
my work. That is why my goal is really to be able to act in as
many countries and with as many different people as I can. I never know
what my next destination will be and I always keep a suitcase ready
because everything can happen within a day!"

me: "Where is Turksh cinema going? Can you tell us about Turkish film and also
co-production with other Black Sea countires?"

Melissa: "Turkish cinema is evolving very rapidly and very positively. Almost a
hundred films have been made in Turkey this year, and that is a huge
number for us! Also, some of these films, together with the ones
from the past 5 years or so, are internationally known and appreciated.
Some of them have won incredible prizes in international film
festivals and have been aknowledged as masterpieces! So I'm very
proud of that and I feel like it's jsut going to keep evolving that
way. I just wish that Turkish people would go to the movies more often,
because that's really not the case at the moment..."

me: "Can you tell us about yout next film, The Precinct?" 

Melissa: "Yes! I have another film which will be coming out very soon. It's called "The
precinct" and it's a co-production between 2 countries (Azerbaijan and
Georgia). This one is very well done and I'm sure it'll have some
success in some countries... it's a dramatic thriller. The story is set in Baku
(Azerbaijan). A famous Azeri photographer has to choose between
accepting a valuable job offer in Africa or marrying his fiancée (that's
me) – a young, talented sculptor inspired by images of ritual dances. The
photographer decides to accept the job offer and – once again –
postpones his wedding. During the ensuing quarrel, the
photographer and his fiancée have a car accident along the road which
leads to the ancient cave city of Gobustan. They later find themselves
in a police precinct, where the photographer has to come to terms with
his dread of women or he will not leave the precinct alive."

me: "Anything else you'd like to share before signing off?"

Melissa:  "I have some projects in line but I haven't signed for anything quite yet
so I don't wanna jinx it!:))"

me: "Awesome, Melissa. Thanks a million. It's aperitif time!" :-)

For more info on The Pricinct, visit:

Interview by, Vanessa McMahon

For more information, you
can check my personal website at:

me with Melissa at Cannes 2010




Sarajevo Film Festival
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