Monday, April 9
A Story of Disappearance…
The screening of Disappearance from the section “Young Masters” took place at Rexx Sineması with the participation of the director Ali Asgari. The film’s story follows two helpless lovers going from one hospital to another all night long, and doing so, offers humanscapes from all over Tehran.
Answering the questions from the audience after the screening, Asgari said that it was indeed a story of disappearance from beginning until the end. He commented on the role of female characters in the film: “This film was written based on a true story. A female friend of mine helped me a lot during the scriptwriting process. It was something that had happened to a friend of hers. I empathised with women in the processes of both scriptwriting and character development. Another reason why I empathize so much with women is that I come from a family exclusively of women. I have six sisters, and I’m the youngest child.”
The Cakemaker, from the section “Where Are You My Love?”, tells the story of two people, a baker from Germany, and an Israeli widow, mourning for the same man. The screening of the film took place at Cinemaximum Zorlu Center with the participation of Ofir Raul Grazier. The director shared that the film was made with a very limited budget and that they were able to finish it only in 8 years. Following the screening, he answered the questions from the audience: “With its characters, this film is trying to push the boundaries of the family concept that we’re familiar with. With this film, I shattered all sorts of communication based on sexuality, religion, language or race, and pointed to different ways of communicating. This is also the reason why all the characters are in such conflict and are struggling. They’re suffering because they’re trying to overcome these limitations and become truly themselves.”
Sharing that the story was inspired by a true story, Grazier also explained the starting point of the film: “You lose someone you love but also realize that this person had lied to you. There’s a double tragedy going on. When you lose such a person, how would you mourn?”
A struggle of survival
Screened within the “Young Masters” section of the festival programme, Eliran Elya’s debut feature Doubtful had its European premiere with the participation and introduction of its crew. The film follows its main character Assi, who is sent for community service to teach film to troubled children. Director Elya said: “The kids in the film are not all Jewish or all Muslims, but what’s common is that they have all been subject to some kind of violence and had to keep silent about it. I tried to tell their story of survival.” The film’s producer Oren Rogovin said, “Eden is a real character, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for murdering someone in Tel Aviv. So that’s why he could not see the film. But the film is more about my life than Eden’s, it is about children all over the world who live under risky conditions.”
A Scandinavian tale
Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen’s debut feature Valley of Shadows was screened within the “Young Masters” section of the festival programme. Gulbrandsen said: “I knew that I needed a composer who would create the texture, the colors, the perception the philosophy of my film with music. I saw that Zbigniew Preisner with the later films of Kieslowski elevated the films with his music unimaginably, and although overlooked maybe today, Preisner is one of the few composers who really makes music for films. I did not use music in my previous shorts, none at all. But when I wrote this film, I knew that this film would require music, even overwhelm the film itself.” About the child actor: “It is impossible to direct children actually. But we auditioned hundreds of children for the part. When I first saw his eyes and his face, because his eyes and face needed to tell a lot, I knew it had to be him. He was very intuitive and I was very lucky.”
Cornerstones of Turkish Cinema
This year’s recipients of Honorary Cinema Awards; one of the most prolific directors of Turkish Cinema, Aram Gülyüz, the master of short story writing in Turkey, writer and screenwriter Osman Şahin, and one of the most authentic filmmakers in Turkey, producer Arif Keskiner came together for a unique talk on Turkish cinema, moderated by veteran film critic Atilla Dorsay, at the festival’s center, Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat.
The master of popular cinema: Aram Gülyüz
Atilla Dorsay first gave the floor to Aram Gülyüz who told the story of how he began his adventures in cinema: “When I went to Korea as a volunteer during the Korean War, we were six translator lieutenants in the same tent, and [director] Halit Refiğ was one of us. Under normal conditions, it was impossible for me to be friends with Halit, but evidently, when you’re alone for 18 months in the same place, a tremendous friendship begins. He kept saying ‘You’re a funny lad, you should come to cinema,’ so I was convinced.
Gülyüz, who really made the first sound film in Turkey, said: “A French director had come to Turkey. They told us to show him around. We went to see four films in two days. Then we went to a bar at night, and he said, ‘What you’re doing is similar to film-industry. I imaged how funny it would be if all our actors had the same voice as well.’ All four films that we had seen together were dubbed by the same person. I immediately turned against dubbing at that moment.”
The inspiration for countless films: Osman Şahin
When it was Osman Şahin’s turn to speak, Dorsay reminded him of something Yılmaz Günay had once said of him: “You have no idea, man, but you’re a total filmmaker.” Osman Şahin, whose 23 short stories have been adapted to cinema, and participated in 60 festivals, and won him 35 awards, said: “I always wrote what I saw. And I always saw people trapped in situations. I saw nothing but death. You become skilled as you write. Cinema calls for drama, it won’t go on straightforward. I wrote about the illiterate, undeveloped, trapped people of Anatolia. The man who ‘slaughters his own son’ from my story Burning Land is based on a true story, for example.”
The intersection of Turkish Cinema: Arif Keskiner
Arif Keskiner who has been the producer of such films as The Bus, The Girl with the Red Scarf, The Man Who Hit the Jackpot, said: “The films I directed, I did them for my brother. My real story of getting into cinema actually goes back to my childhood. I was interested in writing poetry at a young age. One day Şükran Kurdakul said to me ‘You write bad poetry’. [Poet] Edip Cansever burst in: ‘Don’t go hard on the boy; he’s still very young, he will get better at it by writing more.’ Yüksel Arslan was also on the same table. It was thanks to these people that I entered Turkish cinema.”
Meetings on the Bridge:
Sound Meeting on the Bridge
On its third day Meetings on the Bridge discussed sound, perhaps one of the most difficult and complicated field in cinema. Director and film editor Ayris Alptekin , director and Istanbul Film Festival’s director Kerem Ayan , one of the co-founders of the Post Production Company, Posbıyık, Yalın Özgencil and one of the co-founders of Melodika, Taylan Oğuz all shared their personal experiences and talked about the commonly made mistakes in the sound design and sound editing processes at the panel which took place at Soho House. Producer Nadir Öperli moderated the talk.
At the panel, it was pointed out that it is important to think about the sound design of a film right from the preparation process and stay in touch with the sound design professionals during the pre-production and production processes. Taylan Oğuz explained: “The ideal situation doesn’t happen. Generally people come to us to finalize the sound design once the work has been done, while they need to come to us when the screenplay is being written.” Ayris Alptekin said that sound should be seen as another storyteller: “Sometimes the sound you take out serves more to create the universe you want than the sound you add.” He also added: “I wish there were a field called sound dramaturgy. I wish there were people working on this from the scriptwriting process, following up the sound through the entire process and checking to see if it fits to the universe the director wants to create…”
Nadir Öperli said that the follow-up of sound and post-production goes smoother when the project has a sound supervisor: “I don’t remember even going out to location scouting without the sound technician before, but now they are not included in the process because of budget issues. Yalın Özgencil said that one person shouldn’t have to do the whole sound work and explained: “It’s important to separate into steps the processes of dialogue, sound design and final mix, and that each crew work in their area of specialization. Taylan Oğuz pointed out that the infrastructure, equipment and technical crew are no worse than the ones in Hollywood and added: “The issue here is time and budget.”