The festival kicked off with the Opening Gala on Thursday evening, 4 April at UNIQ Istanbul, which brought the stars and distinguished figures of the cinema of Turkey together, as well as international guests such as French actors of the opening film Edmond, Thomas Solivérès and Lucie Boujenah. Presented by Cem Davran, the Opening Gala saw the presentation of the Cinema Awards as well as the gratitude plaques to the representatives of the supporting institutions and organisations.
The representatives of the festival’s theme sponsors with the highest contribution Anadolu Efes, Yapı Kredi, and special screening sponsor Zurich Sigorta were presented gratitude plaques by İKSV General Director Görgün Taner. At the opening ceremony, the founding sponsor Eczacıbaşı Group and the hotel sponsor The Marmara Collection were also presented gratitude plaques. Special gratitude was extended to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey General Directorate of Cinema, supporting institutions of the festival, and the patrons who made weekday screenings available to students at 2 TL, for their generous support.
Festival kicked off with Edmond
Following the opening gala, the festival kicked off with the screening of Edmond, the latest film of Alexis Michalik, the young genius, dramaturge, actor, and playwright known as “the prince of French theatre”. Michalik adapted and directed the film version of his blockbuster play of the same name which won numerous Molière awards. Brisk, ingenious, riveting with top-notch acting and direction Edmond centres around a young playwright who finds fame early on just like Michalik himself. Set in Paris in 1897 during the Belle Epoque, the film tells the creation story of his much beloved play Cyrano de Bergerac, which Edmond Rostand penned when he was experiencing a writer’s block. Lead stars Thomas Solivérès and Lucie Boujenah attended the opening ceremony of the festival.
A 12-day feast for film lovers
The Istanbul Film Festival presents a rich programme between 5 and 16 April in its 38th edition that ranges from the latest productions of world cinema to cult films, to the latest titles from Turkey and classics alike, new discoveries, masterpieces, and hidden gems. The festival hosts a total of 186 films by 187 directors from 45 countries, there will be Q&As and festival talks with guest filmmakers, concerts, exhibitions, and other special events. The 38th Istanbul Film Festival films will be screened at eight movie theatres: Atlas and Beyoğlu movie theatres, as well as Pera Museum Auditorium in the Beyoğlu district, Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı (two halls), Cinemaximum Zorlu Center in Gayrettepe, Rexx and Kadıköy movie theatres in Kadıköy.
Festival competitions begin on 10 April
The Opening Gala continued with the introduction of the festival competitions and juries. A total of 52 films will be competing in the International Competition, Human Rights in Cinema, National Competition, the National Documentary and the National Short Film competitions. Six debut feature fiction films from the Cinema of Turkey (National Competition and “Out of Competition”) section will also be eligible for the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize; presented in memoriam director and producer Seyfi Teoman and supported by CMYLMZ Fikirsanat. The winners will be announced at the 38th Istanbul Film Festival Award Ceremony to be held on Tuesday, 16 April.
Festival’s Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award
The Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award was given to Jak Şalom, a champion of the collective film memory and film culture for decades, the first member and team member of the Turkish Cinematheque Association from 1965 to 1972 since its establishment, the project designer and director of the ongoing Cinematheque/Film House project within the Kadıköy Municipality. Jak Şalom received the award from the co-founder and former director of the Istanbul Film Festival, Hülya Uçansu.
Festival’s Cinema Honorary Awards
The first Cinema Honorary Award was presented to Göksel Arsoy, the “Golden Boy” of Turkish Cinema, one of the first actors that come to mind when the subject is Yeşilçam, who produced and starred in more than 100 films, and who made the first aviation-themed film of Turkish cinema. Göksel Arsoy was presented his award by Cinema Honorary Award-winner actress Suzan Avcı.
The second Cinema Honorary Award was presented to Selda Alkor, the irreplaceable actress of strong female characters in Turkish Cinema known for portraying women who walk tall in life like herself, who starred in close to 100 films, and many TV series. Selda Alkor received his Cinema Honorary Award from celebrated actress Nurgül Yeşilçay.
The Lifetime Achievement Award of the festival was presented to Şerif Gören, who started his career in Yeşilçam as an editor in 1962 and worked as assistant director in hundreds of films. With his first film Endişe / Anxiety he won 6 awards including Best Film and Best Director. As director, he introduced many innovations to our cinema through his use of special effects despite the technical difficulties of the era. He is the director of Yol, which brought the “Palme d’Or” to Turkish Cinema. He has directed numerous other films which won 11 international and 23 national awards. As a near-history filmmaker, Gören is best known for depicting the transformation of Turkish nation due to social or economic reasons, cultural conflicts, and the clash between nature and humankind. Şerif Gören received his Lifetime Achievement Award from well-known actor Kadir İnanır.