Film fest to fill Istanbul with int'l cinema doyens

Published 18.03.2016 22:30
Updated 18.03.2016 22:52
“Heavenly Nomadic” by Mirlan Abdykalykov
“Heavenly Nomadic” by Mirlan Abdykalykov

Considered one of the biggest cinema events in Turkey, the 35th Istanbul Film Festival is getting ready to leave its mark on the city with a rich screening program with newly added sections like the Audentia Award, designed to raise awareness about gender equality

The Istanbul Film Festival, which was initiated by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) as a cinema week in 1982, celebrates its 35th anniversary from April 7-17. Sponsored by Akbank for the 12th time, the 35th Istanbul Film Festival offers a rich program to movie buffs, from recent examples of the silver screen to cult productions, classics, masterpieces, new discoveries, hidden treasures and trademark films. The festival program consists of 187 feature-length films, 10 short films and 24 experimental productions. Apart from the screenings of 221 films of 223 directors from 62 countries around the world, which will be featured under a total of 25 different sections, the festival offers cinema-filled days with panel sessions overseen by guest filmmakers, cinema classes, concerts and exclusive events.

Cinema Honorary Awards

The Istanbul Film Festival will grant Cinema Honorary Awards to five highly-esteemed artists who have devoted their lives to cinema. Suzan Avcı, "The most adored female villain" of Yeşilçam (a classic producer of Turkish films); Ülkü Erakalın, one of the most productive directors of Yeşilçam with nearly 200 films; Şeref Gür, the producer of the prominent films of Yeşilçam including "Vurun Kahpeye" (Strike the Whore) and "Vesikalı Yarim" (My Prostitute Love); Perran Kutman, the actress who has been able to make many generations laugh with her characters for the last 50 years; and voice actress Jeyan Ayral Tözüm who left her mark as the voice of various actresses in Yeşilçam films. Türkan Şoray, Filiz Akın and Fatma Girik will receive Cinema Honorary Awards at the opening ceremony of the 35th Istanbul Film Festival, which will take place on Apr. 6 at the Haliç Congress Center. Director Atıf Yılmaz's "İki Gemi Yanyana" (Two Ships, Side by Side)" starring Suzan Avcı, director Ülkü Erakalın's "Gözlerin Ömre Bedel" (Your Eyes Worth A Lifetime) and actor / director Kartal Tibert's "Gırgıriye" starring Perran Kutman, will be screened as a part of the festival.

Competition Thrill in the festival

For the first time this year, the competition will kick off on the first day of the Istanbul Film Festival. Throughout the festival the winners for national and international Golden Tulip, FACE Human Rights in Cinema, National Documentary and National Short Film awards, as the winner of the Audentia Award, which will be the first cinema award in the world to be given to draw attention to inequality of women and men, will receive their awards.


To win the grand prize of the Istanbul Film Festival, the Golden Tulip, films that bring a new approach to cinema will compete in the international section. As a part of the 35th Istanbul Film Festival, the Golden Tulip International Competition features 15 films from 14 countries. The International Golden Tulip jury is composed of actors Melisa Sözen and Lior Ashkenazy, video artist Ali Kazma, producer Ewa Puszczyńska and chaired by director Pablo Trapero.

Here are the films competing in The Golden Tulip / International Competition:

  • "Heavenly Nomadic" by Mirlan Abdykalykov from Kyrgyzstan
  • "Eva Doesn't Sleep" by Pablo Agüero from Argentina
  • "Peace to Us in Our Dreams" by Sharunas Bartas from Lithuania
  • "The Childhood of a Leader" by Brady Corbet from the U.K.
  • "Kor" (Ember) by Zeki Demirkubuz from Turkey
  • "The Demons" by Philippe Lesage from Canada
  • "The End" by Guillaume Nicloux from France
  • "A Monster with a Thousand Heads" by Rodrigo Pla from Mexico
  • "Thirst" by Svetla Tsotsorkova from Bulgaria
  • "Belgica" by Felix Van Groeningen from Belgium
  • "United States of Love" by Tomasz Wasilewski from Poland
  • "Interruption" by Yorgos Zois from Greece
  • "One Breath" by Christian Zübert from Germany
  • "Family Film" by Olmo Omerzu from Czech Republic
  • "All of A Sudden" by Aslı Özge from Germany


The Memories of windA total of 11 films whose production was completed in the 2015-2016 season will compete in the Golden Tulip National Competition. As a part of the competition, four films will make their world premieres, while three films will make their premieres in Turkey. The national competition jury chairperson will be Müjde Ar, one of the most important actresses of Turkish Cinema, and the jury consists of actors Tansu Biçer and Niki Karimi, director Ben Hopkins, journalist / author Murat Uyurkulak and distributer Torsten Frehse.

Here are the films competing at the Golden Tulip / National Competition:

  • "Tarla" (Field) by Cemil Ağacıkoğlu
  • "Benim Kendi Hayatım" (My Own Life) by Adnan Akdağ
  • "Rüzgârın Hatıraları" (The Memories of Wind) by Özcan Alper
  • "Siyah Karga" (Black Crow) by Tayfur Aydın
  • "Kalandar Soğuğu" (The Cold of Kalandar) by Mustafa Kara
  • "Rauf" by Barış Kaya and Soner Caner
  • "Mavi Bisiklet" (Blue Bicycle) by Ümit Köreken
  • "Toz Bezi" (Dust Cloth) by Ahu Öztürk
  • "Ana Yurdu" (Motherland) by Senem Tüzen
  • "Rüzgarda Salınan Nilüfer" (Waving Waterlily) by Seren Yüce
  • "Kasap Havası" (Wedding Dance) by Çiğdem Sezgin


The 35th edition of the Istanbul Film Festival initiates the National Short Film Competition in order to encourage film makers to produce short films, support short film development and bring qualified short films together with the audience. The pre-selection jury of the section features Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner Manager Alice Kharoubi, director Fatih Kızılgök and cinema writer Serdar Kökçeoğlu. The jury of the competition consists of director Can Evrenol, actor Hazal Kaya and DokuFest director Nita Deda.

Here are the films featured at the National Short Competition:

  • "Merkür" (Mercury)/ Melis Balcı, Ege Okal
  • "Asfalt" (Asphalt) by Süleyman Demirel
  • "Salı" (Tuesday) by Ziya Demirel
  • "Balık Havuzu" (Fish Pool) by Ezgi Kaplan
  • "Karadeniz" (The Black Sea) by Ulaş Karaoğlu
  • "Tik Tak" (Ticktack) by Zeynep Koçak
  • "Timur Hakkında" (About Timur) by Özgü Özbudak
  • "Cemil Şov" (Cemil Show) by Barış Sarhan
  • "Orman" (Jungle) by Onur Saylak, Doğu Akal
  • "Jamais Vu" by Levent Türkan


Organized by the Istanbul Film Festival to support documentary films and documentary filmmakers, the National Short Film Competition will present the Best Documentary Film Award to the winner. Among the films, which will be screened as a part of the section, three films will make their Turkish premiers while seven films will make their world premieres.

Here are the films that will compete at the National Documentary Film Competition:

  • "Hazır Ol!" (Get Ready!) by Onur Bakır and Panagiotis Charamis
  • "Rafet'in Çocukları" (Children of Rafet) by Mümin Barış and Reşit Ballıkaya
  • "Başgan" (The President) by Orhan Eskiköy
  • "Genç Pehlivanlar" (Young Wrestlers) by Mete Gümürhan
  • "Soluk" (Pale) by Metin Kaya
  • "Koloni" (Colony) by Gürcan Keltek
  • "Beyaz Çınar" (White Plane Tree) by Kazım Öz
  • "Ötekiler" (The Others) by Ayşe Polat
  • "Sürgün Türküleri Yılmaz Güney" (Turks in Exile: Yılmaz Güney) by İlker Savaşkurt
  • "Kayıp Zamanlar" (Lost Times) by Faysal Soysal
  • "Yok Devenin Pabucu: Bir Aşk Hikayesi" (A Love Story) by Sibel Mary Şamlı
  • "Kara Atlas" (Black Atlas) by Umut Vedat


MediterraneaIn collaboration with the Council of Europe, the Face the Council of Europe Cinema Human Rights in Cinema Award, which has been presented only at the Istanbul Film Festival, continues at the festival's 35th anniversary. The FACE Award will grant 10,000 euros in prize money which is supported by the Council of Europe and Eurimages Fund and a statuette to the winning film and its makers. Actor Ercan Kesal, director Jakob Brossmann, Eurimages Vice-Managing Director Isabel Castro, Key Advisor to The Council of Europe Secretary-General and vice Secretary General Leyla Kayacık will serve as the jury members of this competition.

Here are the films featured at Human Rights in Cinema: Face the Council of Europe Cinema Award:

  • "White People" by Lisa Aschan from Sweden
  • "Wonderland" by Michael Krummenacher, Jan Gassmann, Lisa Blatter, Gregor Frei, Benny Jaber, Carmen Jaquier, Jonas Meier, Tobias Nölle, Lionel Rupp and Mike Scheiwiller from Sweden
  • "Mediterranea" by Jonas Carpignano from Italy
  • "The Magic Mountain" by Anca Damian from Romania
  • "Embrace of the Serpent" by Ciro Guerra from Colombia
  • "Behemoth" by Zhao Liang from China
  • "Interrogation" by Vetri Maaran from India
  • "The Red Land" by Diego Martínez Vignatti from Belgium
  • "3000 Nights" by Mai Masri Palestine
  • "Coastliners" by Erdem Tepegöz, Barış Pirhasan, Alphan Eşeli, Melisa Önel and Ramin Matin


The Seyfi Teoman Best First Film Award, which is presented in the memory of director and producer Seyfi Teoman, presents TL 30,000 in prize money through CMYLMZ Fikirsanat in order to encourage the wining director for his or her next project. The jury of the competition features director Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun, distributer Ioanna Stais and actor Ahmet Rıfat Şungar.

Here are the films that will compete for the Seyfi Teoman Best First Film Award:

  • "Rauf" by Barış Kaya and Soner Caner
  • "Toz Bezi" (Dust Cloth) by Ahu Öztürk
  • "Kümes" (Coop) by Ufuk Bayraktar
  • "Son Kuşlar" (Last Birds) by Bedir Afşin
  • "Dolanma" (Meandering) by Tunç Davut
  • "Çırak" (Apprentice) by Emre Konuk
  • "Kötü Kedi Şerafettin" (The Bad Cat) by Mehmet Kurtuluş and Ayşe Ünal
  • "Yemekteydim ve Karar Verdim" (We Were Dining and I Decided) by Görkem Yeltan
  • "Anadolu Masalları" (Anatolian Tales) by Emin Fırat Övür


White PeopleThe European Cinema Support Fund Eurimages, affiliated to the Council of Europe, takes a new step to improve gender equality and begins by giving 30,000 euros in prize money to a female director for her to use in her next project. The Audentia Award, which will be granted for the first time as a part of the 35th Istanbul Film Festival, will evaluate the films by 15 female directors. Named after the Latin word "Audentia" which is translated in English as courage, the award aims to increase the visibility of female directors and encourage other women to follow their paths. The President of the Swedish Film Institute, Anna Serner, who has dedicated herself to improve gender equality in cinema, has been chosen as the patron for the award.

The films that will compete for the Audentia Award are:

  • "White People" by Lisa Aschan
  • "As I Open My Eyes" by Leyla Bouzid
  • "The Magic Mountain" by Anca Damian
  • "Evolution" by Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • "Mountain" by Yaelle Kayam
  • "Wild" by Nicolette Krebitz
  • "3000 Nights" by Mai Masri
  • "Song of Songs" by Eva Neymann
  • "All of A Sudden" by Aslı Özge
  • "Kasap Havası" (Wedding Dance) by Çiğdem Sezgin
  • "Chevalier" by Athina Rachel Tsangari
  • "Thirst" by Svetla Tsotsorkova
  • "Ana Yurdu" (Motherland) by Senem Tüzen

New categories of the festival

Apart from categories such as "Akbank Galas," "Challenging the Years," "From the World of Festivals, "Young Masters," "Documentary Time with NTV," "Mined Zone," "Antidepressant," and "Midnight Craze," the 35th Istanbul Film Festival will screen numerous films under categories which will be introduced to the audience for the first time.

Music Lover: This year's festival presents a brand new category for those who nourish their souls with music. A total of eight films, which recount the stories of people who make music an integral part of their lives, will be screened as a part of the festivals "Music Lover" category.

Hidden Gems: "Buried Treasures" category, which will make the most tremendous impact on this year's festival, brings the least known, banned, lost, buried, and underrated films of cinema history to the light of day. Curated by Alkan Avcıoğlu, this category will feature a total of four films and will be screened with their copies, which are restored or were discovered years after their production.

In Pursuit of Light: American Avant-Garde Cinema of the 70s: To give experimental cinema the appreciation it deserves, the Istanbul Film Festival goes back to the roots of this movement and brings together the films directed by the pioneers of the American avant-garde cinema, which thrived in the 70s. Curated by Burak Çevik, the category comprises the works by Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow, Robert Breer, Hollis Frampton, Jonas Mekas, Stan VanDerBeek and Yvone Rainer, all made in the 70s. These films will be screened in Turkey for the first time at Istanbul Modern Cinema as a part of the festival in their original formats (16mm projections from 16mm prints).

Otto Preminger: Anatomy of a Director: The Istanbul Film Festival commemorates Otto Preminger, who is one of the most original, independent and creative directors of the history of cinema on the 30th anniversary of his death by screening 10 of his most important films. Having introduced the "film noir" movement to cinema, Preminger, who is known by his nickname "Otto the Ogre," will enable the audience to know Preminger better and watch his film on the big screen. Veteran designer Yurdaer Altıntaş, who previously made various exclusive posters for the festival as well as its categories, also designed a special poster for this category.

Kids' Menu: Two French films will be screened for the young followers of the festival, as well as their parents. Simon Rouby's animated film "Adama," which was nominated for the Europe Film Academy Awards and "Sophie's Misfortunes," which is adapted from the children's book written by Comtesse de Segur in 1850, will be featured on the "Kids' Menu" category.

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