Sunday, April 8
Saskia Boddeke: “My purpose in making this film was to leave a document to my daughter.”
Having won the festival’s Honorary Cinema Award in 1997, given master classes many times, and had his many films shown at the festival, Peter Greenaway is a guest of this year’s festival, this time with the documentary Greenaway Alphabet made about him.
Greenaway attended the film’s screening at Beyoğlu Sineması with his wife Saskia Boddeke the director of the film. After the screening of the film which is in the Documentary Time with NTV section, the artist couple answered questions:
“This film isn’t about a filmmaker; it’s about a father-daughter relationship where two people have a connection made by art. My purpose in making this film was to leave a document to my daughter; I wanted her to appreciate what a special person her father is when she grows up and understands the function of art.”
Boddeke also commented on the production process of the film:
“I had to convince Peter that this film was going to be my work and that he had no right to intervene. But because he was afraid I was going to make him look silly, he pressured me too much to show him the film during the shooting. So I had to let him watch a section of one hour and 50 minutes. Neither my daughter nor Peter said a word. Did I care if they liked it or not? No… I’m very happy with the film and it is my hope that other parents could also find something about themselves in this film.”
Savi Gabizon: “This is a film about being a father”
“ The director of the film Longing from “Bests of the Fests”, Savi Gabizon, and the producer Avraham Pirchi answered the questions from the audience after the film’s screening at Cinemaximum Zorlu Center:
The director Savi Gabizon:
My mother and father were born in Istanbul, Turkey; and my produced has lived in Istanbul. So this film may be deemed Turkish. For me, it is a very special screening. (…) This is a comedy about sad things. In the film, I wanted to show the attraction the father feels toward the teacher, and did so by showing, through the dream sequence, the conflict resulting from the guilt the father feels inside. Many viewers had presumed that the father-teacher relationship would continue, but I wanted to leave it there. Because the film is about being a father; so I stopped it at some point.”
The producer Avraham Pirchi:
“When we first started making this film, the first thing that got me thinking why the son character was drawn so unlikeable. The kid has many bad habits, after all. But this film is about parenthood. Parenting doesn’t mean to raise a kid that looks nice to other people.”
Arshad Khan: “I tried to do a sincere job.”
The screening of Father from the section “Documentary Time with NTV” took place with the participation of the film’s director, Arshad Khan. In the film, Khan tells the story of his family’s immigration from Pakistan to Canada and how he discovered his homosexuality:
“It’s extremely difficult to make a film about oneself. As you’ve seen in the film, I come from a very disunited family. Some are liberal, others are conservative… I tried to put together the material at hand in a way that wouldn’t hurt or silenced anyone. I didn’t want to make a big fuss of a film, but tried to do a sincere job. I didn’t try to abuse anything.”
Khan shared that he took much of the footage from the family archive, and said that the documentary sheds light on the history of Pakistan:
“I find this film highly important in terms of understanding what’s going on in Pakistan and what’s happening to its people. We’re living in an age where the global ups and downs are affecting all of us and everyone’s forced to leave their home country for one reason or another. This film gave me the opportunity to understand Pakistan on a macro level, and my family on a micro one.”
Emin Alper: “Bergman’s most aesthetically gothic film is The Seventh Seal”
10 directors from Turkey picked out their most favorite films by one of the veterans of the modern art of cinema, Bergman, for the section of “Bergman: 100 Years”. Emin Alper presented his choice of film, The Seventh Seal, as part of this programme:
“The Seventh Seal is the first Bergman film I’ve seen. It’s one of those films we watched over and over again and talked a lot about. That’s why it’s very important to me personally. First of all, it is a film where we can find many themes typical of Bergman. Typical existential questions, the existence and absence of god, or the question of how this knowledge would change our lives and different stances taken as a response to these questions.”
“We can say that this is Bergman’s most aesthetically-gothic film. Indeed, it goes way back to the ages when the gothic art was born and to the plague of middle ages. There are images very typical of gothic art, the knight playing chess with the death, self-flagellation, cults… In the film, we see all these images with an impressive tone. In fact, Bergman says that he made this film based on his memories of what he had seen in church as a child. So this film has a special place in me as someone who has a special interest in gothic literature and cinema. Some of you may have seen it: The last shot of Beyond the Hill, where the main characters are walking past the hilltop, was, in my own way, a reference to the final scene of The Seventh Seal. This is the reason why I picked this film.”
Muayad Alayan: “We worked looking over our shoulder”
The screening of The Reports on Sarah and Saleem from the section “Bests of the Fests” took place with the participation of the film’s director, Muayad Alayan, and the actor Adeeb Safadi. The film follows the relationship of an Israeli woman with a Palestinian man in Jerusalem. The director Alayan said:
“Such things and relationships similar to the ones you saw can happen in Jerusalem. We hear marriages between Palestinians and Israelis; we know of them. But they are not open in the public; they are left in the shadows of the city, in the underground.”
Alayan said that they had faced many difficulties during the shootings in Jerusalem: “We did the shooting with the fear that we would be arrested anytime. We thought they would be chasing us like a cat would chase a mouse, so we were running from one place to the other all the time. We had to work looking over our shoulder but we did it finally.”
And one of the leading actors in the film, Adeeb Safadi said: “You may call us masochists but I liked it that there was so much tension. I mean I didn’t want to just to start and shoot the film comfortably and go to bed, so to speak. A problem would appear and we would solve it. We progressed by solving problems. It’s the kind of work I enjoy.”
Travis Fimmel from the film Lean on Pete met with the audience
Before the screening of Lean on Pete from “Vodafone Red Galas” at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı, one of the actors of the film, Travis Fimmel, met with the audience. The fans of Fimmel, known for his character Ragnar Lothbrok in the series The Vikings, gathered in front of the film theater, some of them even waited for him for hours on, wanting to get an autograph. Fimmel talked briefly before the screening and, as a response to the attention he was getting, said: “You are all lucky people. You live in an amazing country. You’re sincere and warm-hearted people. Thank you all very much.”
“I hope you won’t be sad while watching the film, because it has a very sad story. When I was offered the part in this film, I was spending time with my nephew at the park. My agent, who is also here now, told me that this character is someone who has always lost in life, so I immediately accepted it.”
The screening of In Blue from the section “Bests of the Fests” took place at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of one of the lead actors, Bogdan Iancu. Following the screening, the 18-year-old actor answered the audience’s questions:
“I can say that Bucharestians are oblivious of the people living underground. They’re living right under our noses but we’re clueless about them. I spoke with some of the substance user homeless people, and realised that some of them get very uncomfortable when they come out to the open. This is what I tried to pay attention to most in my character. I tried to keep in mind that moment when they got angry and uneasy.”
Iancu, also added that even though the film hasn’t made its Romanian premiere yet, it has been screened a couple of times and the reactions are of two kinds so far: “Bucharestians either found the film very realistic or they thought that we were projecting Bucharest in a bad way. But the film didn’t have any political agenda. We didn’t make the film to raise awareness.”
Ingmar Bergman under the microscope…
Picked by directors from Turkey, 9 films of Ingmar Bergman, who has made some of the most impressive, most controversial and most memorable films in the history of cinema, are being screening at this year’s festival, in the section called “Bergman: 100 Years”. Along with the screenings, the chairwoman of the board of the Bergman Center Foundation Jannike Åhlunds, who is also an active multi-hyphenated filmmaker as scriptwriter and film journalism, got together with film critic Nil Kural, one of the advisors of the festival, and discussed Bergman’s cinema. The talk took place at Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat with the support of the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul. Jannike Åhlunds said:
“Bergman’s such main themes as lack of communication or lack of love are still very much relevant today. In his films, there’s always this timelessness standing out. When you look at his films today, you cannot associate them with any period; because he was mindful of this, he always wanted to be timeless.”
Åhlunds then mentioned how Bergman used his own career, which started as a child, and his own life as a source of inspiration and a starting point in his films: “In almost all of his films, Bergman makes a reference, directly or indirectly, to his own life. His life was the biggest source of inspiration to him as a writer.”
Åhlunds also talked about the peculiar sense of humor and the importance of female portraits in his films: “Bergman tells his story mostly through women in his films Persona and The Silence. They say he was very successful at understanding women’s psyche which is true. Male characters are almost ostracized, are miserable; women are always stronger.”
The panellists also talked about the freedom that the director allowed the crew he worked with, and added that Bergman always tried something new and that in this sense, he was a pioneer in many areas of this industry including TV series. Åhlunds also mentioned, “When we look at all of Bergman’s works, we see that he always tried to project what he was imagining. He never wanted to be a director with difficult films. He would say that he made humane films that concerned everyone.”
Jannike Åhlunds shared that Bergman had written 12 plays however he was not a good playwright but a good dramatist, adding that his works has been put on theater scene many times because he always let his screenplays to be adapted to the theater and that he is one of the film directors with the highest number of works put on stage.
Meetings on the Bridge:
The second session of Meetings on the Bridge began with the Story of Creation and Production of the Turkish series Personality which has just started to be aired on the PuhuTV web platform. Following the screening of the series, a discussion took place with the participation of its screenwriter Hakan Günday, producer Kaan Tolga Değirmenci. From the first idea to the production, all stages of the series were discussed in this talk moderated by film critic Abbas Bozkurt.
“Writing is the best way to think. Whatever it is that I don’t understand, whatever that scares me, or paralyzes me somehow, I put on paper,” explained Günday, and added that he always begins with asking a question and works on that question with the help of the story. “The point is not to find an answer but to start with one question and end up with many; what matters is not what you tell, but how you tell it.”
“The memory is a field on which a match is played,” said Günday and added that he asked questions based on two keywords: “What makes us remember; what makes us forget? Is it us who determine what we remember or forget, or someone else? This is what defines our present time, the present moment. From time to time we go through breakdowns of forgetting and remembering. All of a sudden we remember something from 100 years ago; or we are made to remember sometimes. Depending on what’s the news or politics; the society, morality or the individual himself becomes the one running behind the ball on this field.” Günday also shared that he is interested in getting to know and understanding humans by asking questions.
The crew of this series, which gained quite an acclaim for its cinematography, were all selected from the film industry, according to Değirmenci, who also added: “And this was a risk because it was a crew with no experience of series or acting with that type of vibe; on top of that, we had to act much faster than one would in a feature film.” Değirmenci explained that Ay Yapım’s prior goal is to reach the audience in Turkey, and that they predict that the shift to digital area would become greater as its corresponding share in the publicity gets recognized.
Değirmenci also commented on the character Nevra who is the only woman among the 150 men in the homicide bureau in the series: “She is a player who gets to begin the game losing by 150 to 0. Her story is completely interwoven with struggle. To me, Nevra is an adventure novel on her own”.
The film “Inflame” from the director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s point of view
Meetings on the Bridge’s afternoon session continued with Inflame’s panel called The Story of Creation and Production. The film’s director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik and producer Armağan Lale shared with the audience the film’s entire process from the editing to festival applications, the rejections and acceptances they received, from the production process to the time it was released:
“We make the film just so people would feel something. And you need to savour this experience with the audience. That’s why it’s important to go to every festival, every country and every city where it’s shown. Every land has a different perception.”
Director Özçelik also pointed out that it helps the process to organize different screening events related to the film and reach different types of masses with the purpose of increasing the rating, and that by means of such events there can be more opportunities to meet the audience other than in the theaters.
The producer Lale explained that the fact that Inflame got accepted to the festival South by Southwest paves the way to the film’s sales in the USA, talked about festival strategies and added: “The festivals you participate in and the awards you win have a contributing impact on your future works, of course; because it’s like having the wind at your back.”