Turkish director Mustafa Deniz's second short film, “Kış Bahçesi” ("Winter Garden”), which tells the story of an elderly woman, bagged awards at various festivals this year. The film has most recently represented Turkey at the Paris Short Film Festival held on Sept. 20-27 and won the Best Film Award in this event.
Included in the official selection categories at the Miami Independent Film Festival, Moscow Short Film Festival, 21st Izmir International Short Film Festival and New York Istanbul Short Film Festival, the production was awarded the Best Drama Film at the New York Cinematography Awards held in August. Deniz's short film had previously received the Best Drama Award at the European Cinematography Awards and the Special Jury Award at the Swedish Film Awards this year. It was also included in the 73rd Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner program. However, this section of the festival was postponed as a result of coronavirus measures.
“Kış Bahçesi” is about a mother of two who lost her husband many years ago. The director's mother Şengül Deniz, plays the lead role using her own name in the movie. The film features the story of Şengül who spends her quiet and lonely life trying to keep the winter garden alive in the memory of her late husband. The film also stars actress Selin Dumlugöl.
The director’s first short film, “Kabuk” ("Crust”), starring his mother in the lead role again, had been screened at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in 2018.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), the 35-year-old director said that cinema has an influential and magical place in his life. He mentioned that he took up photography during his university years and pursued it for a long time, noting that he gradually gained technical and aesthetic knowledge and that the idea of shooting films emerged due to this hobby.
Expressing that he had a test shot with his mother before his first film, Deniz stated: “I soon realized that my mother could act. I had already written the script with my mother in mind. My mother is perhaps the most intuitive person I have ever known. She watched independent short films for a while before shooting in preparation for the film. She told me this after the shooting. The fact that the character of Şengül, played by my mother in ‘Kış Bahçesi’ as well as in 'Kabuk,' stands out with her expression rather than her acting performance may have created a rational basis for my decision.” Deniz stated that he especially wanted a professional actor to play the character Gamze, who shared the lead role with his mother and chose Selin Dumlugöl for this role.
Pointing out that he is preparing for a new film, which will be a feature this time, Deniz stated that he has not decided whether to cast his mother in the feature film.