Emre Konuk's directorial debut, "Çırak" (the Apprentice), made its European premiere at the 22nd Sarajevo Film Festival. Turkey's ambassador to Sarajevo, Cihad Erginay, who oversaw the party organized before the screening at the National Theater in Sarajevo, spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) and stressed the importance of the film festival both for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo. "This is a festival whose prestige grows fast. The most important feature of the festival is that it began during the Bosnian War under very difficult conditions and continues today. Hence, we can say that it is a very unique organization," Erginay said.
Erginay drew attention to the number of Turkish participants in the Sarajevo Film Festival, saying that the grand prize of the festival has been won by Turkish productions for the last two years. Commenting on the screening of "Çırak," Erginay said: "As Turkish films become successful at international organizations, more Turkish films are invited to film festivals for special screenings or world premieres. It is good to be able to watch 'Çırak' at a special screening in here. I congratulate the producer, director and all actors of the film."
Head of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation's (TRT) Department of Television, Halit Şimşek, said TRT is planning to collaborate with Sarajevo Film Festival. "We aim to collaborate with the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2017 in various projects because Sarajevo is a very important city for us. Sarajevo is our sister city and the people of Sarajevo are our sisters and brothers," he said.
Prefacing that this year's film festival has special meaning, Şimşek said: "As you all know, we pulled through a terrible coup attempt in Turkey. Just like the Turkish nation, the people of Sarajevo participated in the democracy watches every night. To express our gratitude, we are planning to organize various events and projects and came here to become a part of the film festival with Turkish productions. Young director Emre Konuk's 'Çırak,' which TRT co-produced, will be screened here and make its European premiere. This is a source of pride for us."
Director Konuk addressed the film lovers after the screening of his film and said that he came to Sarajevo, leaving his 20-day-old daughter at home with his wife. Stating that "Çırak" is his first feature-length film, Konuk said "Çırak," which is filmed with contributions from Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry and TRT, is inspired by his own experiences.
Konuk also touched on the July 15 coup attempt orchestrated by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), and said: "Ten days prior to my daughter's birth, Turkey experienced the biggest trauma of its history. The anti-democratic powers pointed their guns at the Turkish nation to disturb the peace and order in Turkey. I dedicated my film to the 239 democracy martyrs and 2,196 people injured during the failed coup attempt along with the people of Sarajevo, who went out onto the streets for democracy watches to support the Turkish nation."
Konuk said that each director is inspired by a period of his or her life in their first film, adding his first encounter with panic attack was when his mother lost her baby after entering in a hospital room with radiation when he was 15 years old.
The 22nd Sarajevo Film Festival will run until Aug. 20.
Çırak (The Apprentice)
The fim stars Hakan Atalay, Levent Öktem, Çiğdem Selışık Onat, Tuğrul Çetiner, Sencar Sağdıç, Beran Soysal and Nilüfer Açıkalın. It 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 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), his decision to move closer to his workplace becomes the turning point in his life.