Saturday, April 14


Ercan Kesal: “This film is a criticism of capitalism.”

Gone with the Hazelnuts from “National Documentary Competition” was screened at Pera Museum Auditorium with the participation of the director Ercan Kesal and the film crew. The film shows how agricultural labor changed in the village of Çiçekpınar of Düzce from 1930s until the 2000s, and how the village’s social structure has transformed along. The director said that the film was inspired by an academic thesis and added: “We’ve been made slaves to the present. We don’t have the time to look back and share certain things again. I try to avoid such phrases as ‘how technology has ruined us’ but we have no idea about each other. We know what’s going on in the world but not in each other’s lives. This film is a criticism of capitalism; it’s the story of people who have to migrate to other places in order to be happy. I didn’t try to tell some sort of nostalgic yearning for the past, but for the things that we could have done in the past and yet didn’t do. You don’t miss the past, you miss the memories.” Kesal also shared his thoughts on filmmaking: “Why would someone make a film? They make a film because of their sense of self-respect and personal journey in this life, not to gain fame, acclaim or money.”

Radiogram is the expression of freedom

Radiogram from the section “Musicians” was screened with the participation of the director Rouzie Hasanova and the co-producer from Turkey, Müge Özen. Hasanova said: “I love Turkey. I’ve always wanted to do a project in Turkey; that’s why being able to realize this one with my co-producer Müge Özen was a great opportunity for me. We will be working together in the next two projects as well. In Bulgaria, the names of the minority groups were changed three different times: They were the Pomaks, Roma, and people of Turkish origin. My family members, including me, have all gotten their Muslim names back, but most of the people are keeping their Christian names. This should explain the current situation in the country.”

Century-old legend Muazzez İlmiye Çığ…

Miracle Worker 104 Years Old from the section “Special Screenings” was screened at Pera Museum Auditorium with the participation of the director Nurdan Arca and the film crew. The film centers on the magical life of Sumerologist Muazzez İlmiye Çığ. Director Arca had a long talk with the audience after the screening: “I called Miss Muazzez before coming here; ‘We’re about 300 people and we’re going to watch you’. She thanked me for making this film; she was very happy that now there’s something permanent. She also thanked the audience here for sparing time for her and sent her love. Miss Muazzez is a very cheerful and funny person; she’s full of life, like an old cornerstone of the Turkish Republic. I learned a lot of things from her when I was making this film. When I interviewed her, she was 103 years old. She was born before the First World War began but she’s still trying to keep up with everything, she still goes out to give talks etc…”

Bekir Bülbül: “I took refuge in my childhood memories in order to make the film.”

My Short Words screened “Out of Competition” at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of the director, Bekir Bülbül, the producer, Büşra Bülbül, one of the child actors, Ahmet Enes, and the director of photography, Anıl Demir. The director Bülbül said: “The idea of the film is actually a brief X-Ray of my state of mind. And to tell this, I took refuge in my childhood memories, and told a personal story from that time.” The producer Büşra Bülbül shared that they shot the film with the money that they received as gifts for their wedding and added: “After the wedding we set out to Konya and had our honeymoon there on the set.” (…) “Everyone you see in the film is either a relative or a friend… It’s very hard to work with kids and make them memorize things. The film became their stories in the end. We tried to put the camera from a distance just so they could act more relaxed. Everyone we showed the film saw their own childhood and the times of innocence and being natural.”

İlker Çatak: “I wanted to lay down my own rules.”

Once Upon a Time in Indian Country from “Young Masters” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director İlker Çatak and one of the actors Johanna Polley. The film shows 17-year-old Mauser’s summer days full of music, love and violence after his mother is killed and his life’s turned upside down. It is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Nils Mohl. Çatak talked about his debut directorial feature: “We wanted to try some things. This was an adaptation of a novel. When they first brought the novel to me, it was so different that it felt like I was in a playground. I had done highly dramatic films before and after the university. Now I wanted to make a film exactly like this. I wanted to create my own universe and lay down my own rules. We filmed it in 30 days and the post-production took 6 months.”

“A film of confessions based on two actresses.”

Autumn Sonata from the section “Bergman: 100 Years” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması, and director Yeşim Ustaoğlu presented the film. Ustaoğlu explained her choice: “I gladly picked Autumn Sonata. There are two amazing actresses: Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann. Both of them deliver incredible performances in this film. There’s one particular scene that among so many films, I still can’t get it off of my mind: It’s the scene where the mother and the daughter play a composition by Chopin. It’s an extraordinary form of humiliation, blaming, anger and rage… It’s a non-verbal scene where the emotions are about to explode. I like especially Liv Ullmann in that scene. Bergman says that he wrote this scene in 1976 when he was having trouble with sleeping in a very stressful time. He says he decided to write it in a very short time like a dream-explosion and finished it in a few weeks. It is possible that he looked at his own relationship with his mother and with his children. He wrote it really fast and filmed it in Norway. We can think of Autumn Sonata as a chamber film. It’s mostly shot indoors. It’s definitely a film of confession based on two actresses. There are such emotions as hatred, disconnectedness, lovelessness, dependence, attachment, conscientiousness, mourning etc. This limitlessness in human relations is something that Bergman tackles very well.”

Andrzej Jakimowski: “My purpose is to help you understand the world.”

Once Upon a Time in November from “International Competition” at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the director Andrej Jakimowski and his wife and production designer Ewa Jakimowska. Director Jakimowski said that he likes to make films about the things he witnesses and added: “I shot most of the actual scenes of protests in November, 2013. It’s hard to understand the aggressiveness and violence of people against other people. I cannot put a reason or a motivation for it or write a story for them, because I’m not able to comprehend. Some people get frustrated in life or think that they deserve a much better life so they become puppets in the hands of fascist groups. The starting point of the film was this boy looking for his dog among the masses of people, alone and walking against them.”

On the future that awaits us…

Grain from the “National Competition” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director Semih Kaplanoğlu. The film follows two men in a near and unclear future and the director talked about the starting point of the film: “I didn’t want to make a science fiction film or create a dystopia but to show the picture of what kind of future is awaiting us if we live our present this way.” Kaplanoğlu answered the question about why he filmed it in English: “I’d first written the screenplay in Turkish. After I while I began to notice something. There’s actually a civilization and a language that created this world that we show in the film. It’s a civilization that stabilizes our relationship with life since the 16th and the 17th century… It’s the culture of capitalism, colonialism and consumerism… Today we use that language in every part of the world, it is the lingua franca everywhere and if I had made this film in Turkish or in any other language, it would have lost its perspective on reality.” As to why he filmed it in black and white Kaplanoğlu said: “One the one hand, shooting in black and white was a practical choice because we began filming in the USA, then in October we moved to Turkey, and finally to Germany. The climates, colors, even the shapes of trees change between these three different geographies. So we had to make the choice of black and white in order to put these all together in one world without showing the differences. The second reason is that the film actually begins with black and then it fades lighter. It didn’t seem quite possible in a color film. There are also some contrasts in the film; there are two worlds, two cities etc. That the film is black and white helped the contrasts as well.”

Small farmers’ struggle to survive…

Bloody Milk from “Young Masters” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı, with the participation of the director Hubert Charuel and actor Valentin Lespinasse. The film shows the small-scale farmers’ struggle to survive against the large industrial farms. The director said: “This is my first film, so it’s very important to me. I come from a farming family; I was a farmer too but I didn’t want to do farming anymore. This film is my farewell to farm life. But it is not an autobiographical film, rather, it shows what would happen if I hadn’t become a filmmaker.” The audience asked if the lead actor Swann Arlaud was a farmer in real life, to which Charuel answered: “This question is a compliment to me because clearly you were convinced that he was. Swann worked with farmers for three weeks day and night. Also there was always a veterinarian present at the set during the shootings. He is a well-known, passionate actor. He really gets into the role and open to learning. He really did what a farmer does; he acted with his body and gestures.” The director also mentioned that none of the cows in the film were harmed, that the scene in the beginning with the cow giving birth was a real birth and that for that birth they waited for three nights without sleeping and in the end he delivered the baby cow.

A ghost stuck in limbo…

Araf from “National Documentary Competition” was screened at Pera Museum Auditorium with the participation of the director Didem Pekün and the film crew. The film tells the story of Nayia who has been in exile since the war and returns for the commemoration for the 22nd anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide and marches from Srebnica and Saarjevo to Mostar. The director Pekün talked about the origin of the film: “One part of my family is from Mostar. I went to Bosnia four years ago and made the same route for an exhibition. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I had the idea of making a road film. Then I met our director of photography, Petros Nousias. We talked about a ghost stuck in limbo, so we took that further.” Dino Bajric who symbolizes hope and the future by jumping off the Mostar Bridge talked about this jump from 25 meters: “When I was on top of the bridge, I had the full adrenaline going on. When you do it, the body becomes free for about three seconds. I did it for four times for the film, and probably around 40 times during the year in total.”

Ísold Uggadóttir: “A film with the purpose of raising awareness.”

And Breeathe Normally from the section “Human Rights in Cinema Competition” was screened at Kadıköy Sineması with the participation of Ísold Uggadóttir. The film focuses on the intimate relationship between an Icelandic mother and an immigrant woman from Guinea. The director Uggadóttir said: “I wanted to leave an imprint on people. A 10-12-year-old kid watching this film will ask her mother: ‘Why doesn’t everyone have a passport? What does deportation mean?’ We made a film with the purpose of raising awareness.” (…) “When it comes to immigration, Iceland doesn’t get as many requests as the European Union. So the immigration offices are a bit new to us. But Iceland is usually not the final destination for immigrants; it’s a stop on the way to Canada or to other places. But still, people are of three kinds, just like they are in the European Union. Many people like me think that we should receive as many people as possible. There is another group of people, however, that thinks immigrants are dangerous terrorists and that they shouldn’t be let into the country. And then there’s a third group who thinks that this is just the way the system is and that they cannot do anything about it.”

Michael Önder: “I went back to my own stories.”

Taksim Hold’em from the section “Out of Competition” within “Turkish Cinema” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması, with the participation of Michael Önder and the film crew. The director said that the starting point of the story was the Gezi incidents of 2013, and added: “I focused on my contradictions, fears, how I viewed my friends, and my relationship with Gezi. I began to write different things without knowing what would happen next. I thought that what I write about something of such great volume would be limited. That’s why I returned to my own stories and the stories of those around me. I wanted the feeling of it to remain like a photograph.” The film will be released on April 27, and the actor Kenan Ece who shared that he started the preparations for the film by playing poker talked about the shooting process: “I learned how to play poker, but also we created a language among ourselves. We rehearsed scenes at our homes together. So when we began to shoot at the set, we were able to act the scenes in a natural way.” Director Önder said that he was very much satisfied with the actors’ performances, and added: “The actors took the script to a different level. It was a much better performance than I expected.”

A hypnotizing comedy…

Abracadabra from the section “Antidepressant” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the support of the Instituto Cervantes, and the lead actress Maribel Verdú, and the director Pablo Berger attended the screening. Director Berger said that the film is a hypnotizing comedy, and added: “Cinema itself is a form of hypnosis. So we want to hypnotize you tonight; we want you to dream awake and meander inside Abracadabra. We left the ending open; everyone can pick their own ending.” The lead actress Verdú said: “This is a pro-feminist film because the main character Carmen makes a very bold decision in order to face life. She has a partner who treats her miserably, but she leaves him and starts a new life. What happens later can be considered her second journey.”

Ryan Prows “We wanted to mix comedy and crime genres”

Lowlife from “Mined Zone” tells a crime story with a lot of violence and humor, and the film was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the director Ryan Prows. The director said that he shot the film with his friends from university: “We started to shoot the film in 2015. We talked about a serious issue but added some fun into it. Because we didn’t want it to be like a documentary film. We wanted to bring together the genres of drama, comedy and crime together. We’re working on a horror film these days. It’ll touch upon a social problem as well.”

Styx: A river between the dead and the living…

Styx from the section “Human Rights in Cinema” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of the director Wolfgang Fischer who talked about the film: “The film went through a process of seven years and we just finished it two months ago because it took a long time to get funding. We started to shoot it on a lake, so we had to get training on how to shoot it inside the boat. Everything was shot on the open sea except for two particular scenes. What fascinates me most during this process is that even though we began the shooting seven years ago, the situation of the immigrants remain just the same, they’re still drowning in the ocean near Europe. It’s a shame.” The director also explained that the title of the film comes from Greek mythology: “Styx is a river between the dead and the living. We thought it was very appropriate for the film.” He also shared that they wanted the audience to think: ‘Is there anything we can do?’”

Abdurrahman Öner: “The majority of the film is my own story”

Road to the Moon from “National Competition” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director Abdurrahman Öner and the film crew. The director Öner talked about the film: “The great majority of the film is my own story. I too come from a Yuruk family like in the film. The child actors in the film were selected from among 800 kids. We went to each school and entered every classroom in Elmalı. We presented ourselves as play teachers. We did a pre-selection of 17 kids who had expressed themselves well. Then we decided on two of them. We first prepared for 20 days before the shooting began. We didn’t give any tasks to the kids during this time. We just wanted them to get to know themselves by working without any guidance. Then we rehearsed each and every scene in the script. When we entered the set, we were ready, we even did most of it in single takes. Ezgi Mola also commented on her part: “This film was different for me, I was always doing comedy. That made me really happy.”

Turning points of Yaşar Kemal’s life…

The Legend of Yaşar Kemal from the section “Special Screenings” shows the turning points of Yaşar Kemal’s life in an epic form of narration. The screening of the documentary took place at Pera Museum Auditorium with the participation of the director Aydın Orak. After the screening, Orak said: “We’ve seen some turning points from Yaşar Kemal’s life. Each of his novels deserves a documentary of their own; every anecdote of his is a documentary itself. I actually didn’t have the idea of making a film about him but I suppose lately I’ve missed him too much. I wanted to make a documentary film that I could watch by myself and enjoy; a film that would be a lesson to me. And I actually made this documentary for myself. We went into a process of rigorous research; we looked for sources everywhere and did a ton of reading. Then in the end, it became a film that I could enjoy watching.”

Yesterday at Meetings on the Bridge::

Eurimages: Like an entrance exam

Meetings on the Bridge started its last day with the panel “Eurimages: All You Need to Know about Eurimages”. Eurimages Project Manager Francine Raveney and Eurimages Representative in Turkey, Zülfikar Kürüm were the panelists who shared lots of technical and useful information for filmmakers who want to apply to Eurimages with their projects.

Going to the festival or not being able to…

Meetings on the Bridge continued with the panel “Documentary: Road to the Festival”. Director-producer Carlos Hagerman, HotDocs industry programmer Dorota Lech and director-producer Niek Koppen were the panelists and editor-director Eytan İpeker moderated the talk.

Editing: An incredible area of conflict …

Another Meetings on the Bridge event was “Editing: Creative Collaborations” where the panelists, editor-director Eytan İpeker and director Zeynep Budak discussed the relationship between the editor and the director and talked touched upon many subjects from the criteria in selecting an editor to co-working practices.

If there’s a story, make it a film; if it’s a dilemma, make it a series!

The last event of Meetings on the Bridge was “Drama Series: Big Ideas, Small Screen” with the participation of screenwriters Ece Yörenç and Berkun Oya, screenwriter-advisor Soni Jorgenson and Torino Film Lab’s director Eilon Ratzkovsky. Producer Yamaç Okur moderated the talk in which the participants compared story-writing forms in TV and in digital platforms, and then they talked about what has changed in today’s market.

Meetings on the Bridge Awards Announced!

13th edition of Meetings on the Bridge was held on 6 – 14 April 2018 within the scope of 37th Istanbul Film Festival. The projects and films that received the Meetings on the Bridge awards were announced at a reception hosted by L’Institut Français Istanbul on Friday, 13 April

  • The director Ali Kemal Çınar, the producer Sinan Yusufoğlu and the co-producer Nesra Gürbüz of the project Normal received the Meetings on the Bridge Award of 30.000 TL from Gülin Üstün.
  • The Film Development Workshop and the Neighbours Platform projects were all eligible for the 8000 Euro CNC Award. The award was presented to Gürcan Keltek the director and Arda Çiltepe, the producer of the project Yeni Şafak Solarken / New Dawn Fades by Christophe Pécot, Regional Audiovisual Attaché for the French Embassy in Turkey.
  • Melodika Sound Award was presented to Emre Erdoğdu, the director and Zeynep Koray and Emine İzmir, the producers of the project Beni Sevenler Listesi / The List of Those Who Love Me by Didem Oğuz, Taylan Oğuz, the co-founders of Melodika .
  • The producer Selman Nacar and the director Burak Çevik of the project Bir Gün ya da Günün Bir Parçası / A Day Or Part Of A Day received the GeniusPark Special Effects Award from Sema Duran, the VFX Executive Producer in GeniusPark.
  • The Mediterranean Film Institute (MFI) Script and Development Workshop Award was presented to the producer Adam Isenberg for their project My Brother’s Army.
  • The Transilvania Pitch Stop Award was given to Engin Palabıyık the producer and Berrak Çolak, the director of the project Paşa Gönlüm İstedi Kayboldum / Everything In Its Right Place.
  • Postbıyık Sound Production Award which was delivered for the first time this year at Meetings on the Bridge was received by the director Rati Tsiteladze and producer Nino Varsimashvili of project The Empty House.
  • Color Up Award that covers the expenses of online editing and colour grading and Daire Creative Key Art Design Award is presented to the director Ali Vatansever and producer Selin Tezcan Vatansever of the film Saf by Cenk Erol, the founder of Color Up and Arda Aktaş and Eren Erdem, the co-founders of Daire Creative.
  • The Başka Sinema Award was presented to director Osman Doğan and producers Sinan Sertel and Turgay Şahin of the film Güvercin Hırsızları / The Pigeon Thieves by Azize Tan, the director of Başka Sinema.
  • Paz Digital Communication Award was presented to the director Ramin Matin and the producer Emine Yıldırım of the film Son Çıkış / Siren’s Call by the founder of Paz Film Agency İmre Tezel.