If festival to screen most anticipated, acclaimed films
by Zeynep Esra İstanbullu
ISTANBULJan 31, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Zeynep Esra İstanbullu
Jan 31, 2015 12:00 am
The 14th !f International Independent Film Festival will screen last year’s hottest films, stir up Istanbul with hip parties and bring a breath of fresh air into your lives with one-of-a-kind events
!f Istanbul, which is acclaimed for its innovative film selections, celebrated guest directors and unique events, is a shining star of Turkey's cultural calendar. The 14th iteration of the festival runs from Feb. 12 to Feb. 22 in Istanbul, followed by its Ankara and İzmir editions from Feb. 26 to March 1. !f Istanbul will present this year's best independent and award-winning films and also offer a temporary alternative for nightlight to Istanbulites with its concerts and parties. Moreover, it will screen its film selection to over 30 cities around Turkey as well as Nicosia, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gyumri and Yerevan as a part of a project titled "!f2."
!f Istanbul will host galas for the films most celebrated at respected festivals such as the Toronto, Venice, Cannes and Sundance. The screening program includes "Love is Strange," a French-American drama directed by Ira Sachs - known for such films as "Forty Shades of Blue" and "Keep the Lights On" - and featuring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina; "Eden," by French Director Mia Hansen-Love, a story that follows the rise and fall of the French DJ Paul, one of the founders of the electronic music movement; Iran's first vampire film, "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night," directed by Ana Lily Amipour; and "Tusk," a comedy horror film, written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Johnny Depp.
The festival will open with Tim Burton's latest acclaimed hit, "Big Eyes," starring Amy Adams and Christopher Waltz.
Other films in this category include some of the most anticipated films of last year including "Birdman" and "The Look of Silence." Gathering followers from films such as "Amores Perros," "21 Grams," "Babel" and "Biutiful," director Alejandro Gonzalez's film "Birdman" has received critical acclaim and was named one of the best films of 2014. "Birdman" stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. "The Look of Silence" is a Danish documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer that won five awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in 2014.
!f Inspired Competition
!f Istanbul has revealed the nominees for its 2015 !f Inspired International Film Competition, designed to discover and honor emerging visions in cinema.
The jury responsible for selecting the recipient of the $15,000 prize is comprised of prominent members of the international and Turkish film communities, including the German-born Turkish actor Mehmet Kurtuluş, French cinematographer Agnes Godard, producer Lila Yacoub, Argentinian filmmaker Matias Pineiro and Danish director and producer Signe Byrge Sorense.
In addition, a jury of the Turkish Film Critics Association including Asli Daldal, Esin Küçüktepepınar and Metin Gönen will decide a Special Jury Award.
Nine films from countries including Austria, Brazil, Estonia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Iraq, Israel, Ukraine, the U.S. and Turkey will compete for this year's !f Inspired Competition. They include:
"The Kindergarten Teacher" (Israel), directed by Nadav Lapid. A teacher discovers a 5-year-old child prodigy with gift for poetry. Amazed and inspired by this young boy, she decides to protect and cultivate his talent in spite of everyone.
"The Tribe" (Ukraine), directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. Set in a state boarding school for deaf adolescents in Kiev, a new student is inducted into a secret world of teenage gangs and crime in a compelling and explicit film, which unfolds without subtitles and in near-silence.
"52 Tuesdays" (Australia), directed by Sophie Hyde. Billie is 16-year-old girl whose mother announces her plan to undergo sex reassignment surgery. The film, which was shot each Tuesday over the course of a year, captures the characters as their relationship evolves.
"In the Crosswind" (Estonia), directed by Martti Helde. The film tells the true story of Erna, a 27-year-old philosophy student who was separated from her husband in 1941 when he was sent to a Soviet prisoners camp, while she and their young daughter were deported to the uninhabited territories of Siberia.
"Norway" (Greece), directed by Yiannis Veslemes. Zano, a middle-aged vampire who believes his heart will stop if he's not dancing, travels to Athens to enjoy the city's flourishing nightlife, where he joins forces with a Norwegian drug dealer and a prostitute for the adventure of a lifetime in the neon-lit Greek streets.
"Mardan" (Iraq), directed by Batin Ghobadi. Set in the rugged mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, the film tells the story of a police officer who is haunted by a traumatic childhood memory as he searches for a missing man.
"August Windows" (Brazil), directed by Gabriel Mascaro. Shirley has left the big city to live in a coastal town in northeastern Brazil to care for her grandmother. She begins a sensual romance with local diver Jeison before the coming August winds and high tides take both teenagers on a journey that confronts them with the duels between life and death, loss and memory and the wind and the sea.
"Christmas, Again" (U.S.), directed by Charles Poekel. Noel is a heart-broken Christmas tree salesman returning to New York City hoping to put his past behind him. However, he soon begins to spiral downwards until a mysterious woman and some colorful customers rescue him from self-destruction.
"Spirit of Dust" (Turkey), directed by Nesimi Yetik. Named Best Film at Adana's Golden Boll Film Festival, the film focuses on the life of Metin, a cleaner who aspires to be a Turkish music star.
!f Love & Change Competition
!f Istanbul has announced the line-up for its 2015 Love & Change International Film Competition, designed to showcase filmmakers from across the world working with activist themes and new collaboration styles.
The Love & Change Competition hosts directors who inspire change in the world through the medium of film. It brings together filmmakers who have created new techniques or ways of collaboration, and the jury selects the year's most creative intervention.
Eight films from countries including Canada, Columbia, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Syria, Ukraine and the U.S. will compete for this year's Love & Change Competition. They include:
"Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait" by the exiled Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed and Kurdish activist Wiam Simav Bedirxan, a documentary of the atrocities of the Syrian civil war created using a combination of eye-witness accounts shot on mobile phones and posted to the Internet as well as shot footage.
"Maidan" by Sergei Loznitsa, a film shot in and around Independence Square in Kiev during the protests in late 2013 and 2014.
"Tomorrow We Disappear" by Jim Goldblum and Adam M. Weber, a documentary about the last days of Kathputli, an artist's colony in New Delhi, India. Spanning three years, the film follows a few of its colorful residents as they approach their looming eviction.
"The Overnighters," a multi-layered and sensitive film directed by Jesse Moss, it focuses on the experiences of various individuals who travel to North Dakota to secure jobs in the oil business.
"Life is Sacred" by Andreas Dalsgaard, a documentary that won a Special Jury Award at last year's Sundance Film Festival, which follows the extraordinary story of Colombian philosopher-turned-politician, Antanas Mockus.
"The Vanquishing Witch of Baba Yaga" a poetic meditation-cum-documentary by Jessica Oreck.
"The Amina Profile" by Sophie Deraspe depicts the love story between a Canadian and a Syrian American during the Arab Spring, and unravels into a international socio-political thriller spotlighting media excesses and the fine line between truth and falsehood on the Internet
"Tarlabaşı and Me" by Marianna Francese and Jaad Gaillet, which depicts an incredible story of a man who radically changes his life to live in Tarlabaşı, an infamous neighborhood undergoing extensive urban renewal, where entire streets of historic residential buildings are being razed to make space for new developments.