The 52nd edition of the annual Antalya International Film Festival, recognized as the most prestigious in the country, begins this Sunday, with dozens of films from Turkey and across the world competing to make their mark.
YOUNG DIRECTORS FOCUS ON COLORS OF ANATOLIA
The 12 films that will compete for the Golden Orange in the National Film Competition at the 52nd International Antalya Film Festival have been selected. The feature-length films are from various regions and stand out due to their impressive stories.
Atalay Taşdiken, who gained recognition with "Mommo," which won 15 awards in various international festivals, and "Meryem," which won awards in five categories at the 50th International Antalya Festival, returns to the festival this year with "Arama Motoru" (Search Engine). Trying ironically to compare the Anatolia region where everyone looks for something with the technological concept of the search engine, Taşdiken's film is mostly improvised and features real people, not professional actors. "Search Engine" is among the films making their world premiere at the festival.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Nefin Dinç's "Artık Hayallerim Var" (Now I've Got Dreams) focuses on "youth," possibly one of the most important issues in Turkey, and is one of the striking films in the festival. In the film, Dinç asks the question, "If you had the chance to make the whole world know one sentence of yours, what would that sentence be?" The question is answered by 72 students from six different cities in Turkey. After Dinç's Best Documentary Award from the TRT Documentary Days, he is now competing for the Golden Orange.
Emre Konuk was the cinematographer of "İz (Reç)" and "Halam Geldi," which were screened at the International Antalya Film Festival, and is now in the director's seat for his debut film, "Çırak" (The Apprentice.) The film tells the story of Alim, a middle-aged man who has been the apprentice of Yakup for 15 years. However, Alim's ordinary days are over thanks to his obsessions. After watching news concerning the dangers of cars running on LPG, his decision to move closer to his workplace becomes the turning point in his life. Standing out due to its atmospheric mood and storytelling, the film features Hakan Atalay, Çiğdem Selışık Onat, Tuğrul Çetiner, Levent Öktem, Sencar Sağdıç, Beran Soysal and Nilüfer Açıkalın.
Award-winning Turkish actor Ufuk Bayraktar is now behind the camera for "Kümes" (Coup), which he wrote, directed and stars in. Sakine, a mother of four living in a mountain village in the 1950s, learns that she's got tuberculosis and realizes that the best solution after she passes away is for her husband Süleyman and her barren neighbor Hayriye to get married. Right after Süleyman and Hatice get married, Sakine is released from the hospital in perfect health, and the two women must live in the same house. The film premieres at the festival.
"Misafir" (Guest), which made its world premiere and won the FIPRESCI and Jury's Special Award at the 36th Montreal Film Festival, is the second feature by writer-director Mehmer Eryılmaz after "Hazan Mevsimi: Panayır Hikayesi" (A Fairground Attraction.) After being kicked out 10 years earlier, Nur returns home to her father and brother to see her dying mother one last time. However, this return forces Nur to confront her past.
Serdar Gözelekli, who was the assistant director of "En Mutlu Olduğum Yer" (The Happiest Place) and "Umut Üzümleri" (Grapes of Hope) and continued his cinema journey with his debut film "İnanç Odası" (Room of Faith) last year at International Antalya Film Festival, returns to the festival with his film "Muna." The film stands out with a story that takes place in another region. Muna and her family live in Gaza in a house that is raided by Israeli soldiers one night. Muna hides in the kitchen cupboard and notices that she's alone in the house in the morning and starts searching for her parents. She crosses paths with Ela, a surgeon who has joined Doctors Worldwide and is in Gaza to help the victims of war.
The third film by young director Erdal Rahmi Hanay, "PİA," takes place in a distant village in eastern Anatolia and tells a story about the cycle of life and death. Haydar sets out on a journey on his horse-drawn carriage to look for a burial place for his dead wife and passes through various towns. Ayaz also sets out on a journey with his granddad to find his mother's grave and put a tombstone on her grave. The film premieres at the festival.
Selim Evci, whose debut film premiered at the 45th Antalya Film Festival, is back in Antalya with "Saklı" (Hidden) his third film after the 2013 production "Rüzgarlar" (Winds) starring İlhan Şeşen, Settar Tanrıöğen, Türkü Turan, Pelin Akil and Ümit Çırak. The world premiere of the film was at the Montreal Film Festival and focuses on a secret affair, which could be revealed at any time, between Mahir, a musician known for his reserved personality, and Duru, his daughter's friend.
Tolga Karaçelik, who won three awards at the 47th International Antalya Film Festival with his debut "Gişe Memuru" (Booking Clerk), is again competing for the Golden Orange with "Sarmaşık" (Ivy), which had its world premiere and competed in the World Cinema category at the Sundance Film Festival. The ship, Ivy, sails from Egypt to the port of unloading after being loaded, and during the voyage, the ship owner goes bankrupt, and when they arrive back in Egypt, it is revealed that the owner has not paid the port charges. The ship is seized; six people from the crew are left behind, and their passports are seized. Soon with food and beverages being consumed, the ship becomes the location where men hunt other men.
Emmy award-winning advertisement, documentary and TV director Emre Şahin is back with his new feature "Takım: Mahalle Aşkına" (Team: For the Neighborhood) after "40," which completed in the 46th International Antalya Film Festival. The film, which came out in theaters in the last few weeks and was praised by both critics and viewers, features Astroturf, in a neighborhood surrounded by plazas and skyscrapers in Istanbul as the main character. The children of the Soyugüzel family, which doesn't want to sell their land to construction companies despite being in debt, Turgay and his football player brother Tufan realize that the only way to pay their debt is to attend a street football competition, which is giving out a very large prize. Their father Rıza's "notebook of talented footballers" is there to help them win.
FEATURE-LENGTHS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
A total of 10 films will compete in the International Feature Film Competition Category at the 52nd International Antalya Film Festival. Among them are productions from India, Sweden, Palestine and Denmark. Two Turkish feature films will compete for the Golden Orange.
The International Feature Film Competition will give a 50,000-euro prize to the best film. For the first time in the festival's history, awards will be handed out for Best Director, Best Scriptwriting, Best Music, Best Female Actress and Best Male Actor. The winners from these categories will be announced during the closing ceremony of the festival on Dec. 6.
"Bridgend" is based on a true story. The film follows Sara and her father, Dave, as they move to Bridgend, a town haunted by a series of child suicides. Dave becomes the new police officer in the town and tries to end the mysterious suicides, while Sara begins a romantic relationship with Jamie. The film offers a journey to the dark side of the relationship between adults and teenagers. Directed by Jeppe Ronde, the film won awards for Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.
"Enklava" (Enclave) is set in Kosovo five years after the war. Nenad, a 10-year-old Christian boy, is determined to cross enemy lines to organize a proper burial for his late grandfather. He wants to befriend someone in the Muslim community and get them to help him with the burial of his grandfather. "Hatred is based on the fear of differences and diversity between the two ethnic communities. On the other hand, fear is the lack of love," said Goran Radovanovic, the director of the film. Starring Filip Subaric, Denis Muric and Nebojsa Glogovac, "Enclave" won the Audience Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.
"Pojkarna" (Girls Lost) is a provocative production directed by Swedish Alexandra-Therese Keining. Adapted from Jessica Schiefuer's namesake novel, which sparked a debate in Sweden due to its provocative plot, the film tries to depict how girls experience adolescence. "Girls Lost" tells the stories of 14-year-old girls Kim, Bella and Momo as they discover their sexual identities, love and bravery.
"Kalandar Soğuğu" (Cold of Kalandar) is one of the Turkish productions competing in the International Feature Film Category. The film centers on a man, Mehmet, who lives in a mountainous village in the Black Sea region. In addition to raising livestock, he hunts for valuable minerals and precious stones in the mountains. When he gives up his passion for mining, he decides to start bull fighting in Artvin. "Kalandar Soğuğu" received high praise during the Toronto Film Festival and will make its Turkish premiere at the International Antalya Film Festival.
"Masaan," director Neeraj Ghaywan's first feature length film, won multiple awards at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is the story of people looking for a better life. A poor young man, Deepak, falls in love with a girl with a higher social status. Devi struggles with her guilty consciousness after her first love disappears. Devi's father, Pathak, who is a victim of police abuse, ultimately trades in his morals for money. On the other hand, little Jhonta looks for a family that he can call his own. Set in the city of Benares, which is located near the holy Ganges River, the film captures the clashes between traditional and modern life.
"Biraninen Li Ser Keviri" (Memories on Stone) is about Kurdish childhood friends Hussein and Alan who want to direct and produce a film about the genocide of Iraqi Kurds during the Anfal campaign in 1988. They learn that to discover and then expose the truth via cinema, it's worth putting everything on the line, even their own lives.
"Pionery-Geroier" (Pioneer Heroes) is directed by Natalya Kudryashova and is a story about growing up. The film starts in 1984 when Olga, Katya and Andrew, who all attend the same school in Moscow, decide they want to be pioneers in the Soviet Union. Andrew wants to find a cure for mortality, Olga wants to go after sinister agents, and Katya wants to be a politician. However, when they reach their 30s, they lose their dreams and hopes. Olga acts in a TV series. Katya works at a huge PR agency and falls in love with a married man. Andrew is a political scientist who tries to get rid of stress by playing video games. All they want to do is maintain a stable life like everybody else.
"Rüzgarin Hatıraları" (Memories of the Wind) is a new film from director Özcan Alper, who hopes to make another Turkish cinema classic after his debut film "Sonbahar" (Autumn) won several awards. In his new film, Alper searches for the lost treasures of Anatolia. Aram, a dissident poet and painter, has to leave Turkey at the end of World War II and hides in a small mountain village near the Soviet border until his travel papers are arranged. Aram's journey gets more complicated as the film progresses.
"Vergine Giurata" (Sworn Virgin) is Laura Bispuri's first feature length film. Adapted from Elvira Dones' namesake novel, the film competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and won the Nora Ephron Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Hana Doda sacrificed her womanhood for freedom. Years later, she has to sacrifice her honor to regain her womanhood. Hana escapes her destiny of being a wife and servant, the fate ascribed to most women living in the inhospitable mountains of Albania. Under the guidance of her uncle, she appeals to the old law of the Kanun and swears her eternal virginity, thus becoming a "sworn virgin." She then identifies herself as a man and calls herself Mark. Years later, Mark goes on a journey to Italy to rediscover Hana and transform his identity once more.
"The Idol" is the story of Asaf the wedding singer. Palestinian director Hani Ebu Essed made a name for himself with his films "Promised Heaven" and "Omar." The film presents a story from the Arab version of the famous TV show "American Idol." At the beginning of the film, the audience meets 10-year-old Asaf and his 20-year-old sister Nur who shares Asaf's passion for music. Asaf decides he wants to buy a musical instrument and form a band with his friends, Eşref and Ömer. Nur puts her dreams away and starts making her brother's dreams come true. In the eyes of Gazans as well as Palestinians, Asaf becomes the embodiment of hope. The story is proof that the young people of Gaza can tear down every barrier with their talent.