The International Istanbul Film Festival was first presented as a film week in the summer of 1982, within the framework of the International Istanbul Festival. In 1983, under the title “International Istanbul Film Days”, 36 films were shown in one month.
Beginning in 1984, the event became a separate activity and was shifted to April. In 1985, with the incentive of Şakir Eczacıbaşı, two competitive sections, one national and the other international, were included in the Festival program. The grand prize of the festival, the first ever Golden Tulip, was given this year to Michael Radford for his film 1984. Accredited by FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) since 1989 as a “specialised competitive festival”, the “film week” thus was renamed the Istanbul Film Festival.
In 2007, the Human Rights in Cinema section of the festival programme became competitive and started giving the FACE Award (Film Award of the Council of Europe) in collaboration with the Council of Europe and Eurimages. This award is given only at the International Istanbul Film Festival. In January 2010, upon the death of İKSV chairman and co-founder of the festival Şakir Eczacıbaşı, the International Golden Tulip Award started to be given in his memory, with the support of the Eczacıbaşı Group. In 2013, in memory of writer, director, producer Seyfi Teoman, the Festival established the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film prize. In 2015, a documentary competition, and in 2016 a short film competition were set up for films produced in Turkey.
In 2006, celebrating its 25th year, Istanbul Film Festival launched the Meetings on the Bridge programme, aims to provide a launch area for co-productions while bringing producers, directors, scriptwriters, and representatives of institutions from Turkey and Europe together. Within the frame of the Meetings on the Bridge programme, a Feature Film Project Development Workshop was initiated in 2008, and a Work in Progress workshop in 2012. In 2011, the Turkish-German Co-production Fund was formed by collaboration of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein film funds. In order to establish and strengthen relations with filmmakers from neighbouring countries, the “Neighbours” platform was initiated in 2016.
The Festival features an international competition, provides a showcase for recent Turkish film productions, and thus represents a rewarding medium where Turkish and foreign filmmakers get together. The Festival draws a special interest to world classics, presenting retrospective, and curated sections included in its programme which comprises approximately 200 titles, making the Festival the most comprehensive film festival in Turkey. With an audience of 90,000 in 2016, it is also considered the biggest film festival.
The Festival, whose aim is “to encourage the development of cinema in Turkey, to help Turkish cinema attain international recognition and to promote films of quality in the Turkish market”, has also introduced international institutions and organizations like EURIMAGES to the Turkish market.
Numerous filmmakers, actors and actresses visited the festival at its past editions, such as, Claudia Cardinale, Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel, John Malkovich, Jeanne Moreau, Greta Scacchi, Sophia Loren, Patricia Arquette, Stephen Dorff, Barbara Sukowa, Jane Birkin, Lior Ashkenazy, Bernardo Bertolucci, Chantal Akerman, François Ozon, Paul Schrader, Tsai Ming-liang, Park Chan-wook, Neil Jordan, Jane Campion, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Bertrand Tavernier, Carlos Saura, Nanni Moretti, Theo Angelopoulos, Paul Cox, Abbas Kiarostami, Jerry Schatzberg, Yusuf Şahin, Emir Kusturica, Elia Kazan, Nikita Mikhalkov, Ken Russell, Roger Corman, István Szabó, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Nagisa Oshima, Ettore Scola, Michelangelo Antonioni, Peter Greenaway, Stephen Frears, Gus Van Sant, Alexander Sokurov, Jerzy Skolimowski, Marco Bellocchio, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Tony Gatlif, Todd Solondz, Elia Suleiman, Béla Tarr, Claire Denis, Claude Lanzmann, Leos Carax, Terence Davies, Ann Hui, Costa-Gavras, Peter Weir, Mike Figgis, Carlos Reygadas, Bille August, Marin Karmitz, Pawel Pawlikowski, Rolf De Heer, Lone Scherfig, Christian Petzold, Raoul Peck, Rodrigo Pla, and Asghar Farhadi.
A member of the advisory board and programme advisor since 1983, Vecdi Sayar quit his post in 1995. In 1995, co-founder of the festival and İKSV executive Onat Kutlar was killed in a terrorist bombing. The first director of the Festival was Hülya Uçansu (1983-2006), followed by Azize Tan (2006-2015) who handed over the post to Kerem Ayan in 2015.
The Istanbul Film Festival has, over the past 34 years, presented Istanbul audiences with a total of more than 4,942 films, showcasing the cinema of 109 countries, and attracting a total audience number of 3,742,000.
The festival, since 1984, is being organised in the month of April.
Istanbul Film Festival Advisory Committee
ATİLLA DORSAY (Honorary Member)
Advisory Committee for Turkish Cinema
Advisory Committee for National Short Film Competition
Communication and Operations Manager
Coordinator and Editor
MEETINGS ON THE BRIDGE
Head of Meetings on The Bridge
Özlem Bekiroğlu Aldoğan
Elif Obdan Gürkan (International Media)
Visual Archive Associate
Duygu Su Pur
Zeynep Seyhun (International Media)
Ayşe Zeynep Güldiken
Erdem Arda Güneş
Ilgın Erarslan Yanmaz
CORPORATE IDENTITY AND PUBLICATIONS
Didem Ermiş Sezer
Yasemin Keretli Çavuşoğlu
İrem Akev Uluç
Field Operations Associate
Digital Media Associate
Social Media Assistant
SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Membership Programme Coordinator
Yıldız Lale Yıldırım
Membership Programme Associate
Sales and Business Development Associate
Ticket Sales Operations Coordinator
Ticket Sales Assistant
INFORMATION AND RECORDS CENTER
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Head of Finance and Administration
Ahmet Buruk (Budget and Accounting)
Başak Sucu Yıldız (Finance)
PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL GRANTS
HUMAN RESOURCES AND ADMINISTRATION
Human Resources Specialist
Human Resources Assistant
Building Administration and Security Manager
Information Technology Assistant
Tahsin Okan Erdem