Yesterday at the Meetings on the Bridge

Sunday, April 8

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.”