Head of the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Menderes Türel has announced that the Antalya International Film Festival, which will be held for the 54th time this year, will be organized under the single theme of "international films."
During a press conference at a hotel, Türel stated that the 54th Antalya International Film Festival will possibly be held on Oct. 21-27 this year.
Unveiling the names of Administrative Committee members to oversee the festival, Türel said that the committee will include Mike Downey serving as artistic director, Mirsad Purivata as consultant and renowned Producer Zeynep Atakan serving as director of the Antalya Film Forum.
Indicating that the positive developments are the result of having set important targets since his first term as mayor, Türel underlined that the municipality has made key changes to the festival this year.
"This year, we are turning the focus of the festival contest to a single category titled, "international films." Previously, we utilized two categories; namely, "national films" and "international films." However, this year we aim to provide a more powerful contest which combines the two categories," he explained.
Türel also underlined that successful examples in Turkish film will also be included in the international competition, adding: "Now, both local and foreign films will be featured in the contest under a single category; thus reflecting our support for the globalization of Turkish film. Nearly 30 international film festivals are currently held in Turkey and our aim is to establish Turkey's identity on the international stage. Our target is to establish Antalya's international reputation, which it deserves."
Türel stated that officials aim to make Antalya a center for the international film industry, extending its scope beyond the confines of being a "host city for film festivals."
He stated that they started to support film productions in the city and added that they want to set a film plato and cinema valley in Boğaçay neighborhood.
Indicating that officials have applied to UNESCO's Creative Cities' Network for inclusion in the film category, Türel added that "This network receives applications from areas such as literature, traditional arts, design, music and gastronomy. Up until now, the only Turkish city to have entered the network is Gaziantep, in the category of gastronomy. For now, UNESCO has eight creative film cities in its network. As a result of such participation, we will have more chances for further cooperation and promotion."
Türel also underlined that the Antalya Film Forum Department, a segment of the festival, was fortified with monetary support totaling TL 450,000 ($127,3500).
Stating that the festival will include a new category this year titled, "Cinema for Children," Türel asserted that this year's festival aims to improve children's perspective in the context of international film, ultimately helping the youth to discover their relationship with film and the arts. Türel also added that the "Food and Gastronomy" category will also be included as part of the event, adding that film screenings will take place centered on gastronomy and a menu of tastes prepared by four prominent chefs is to be presented by participants.
The mayor reiterated that officials aim to preserve the tradition of "Altın Portakal" ("Golden Orange"), a former theme used in the festival's scope. The city's identity as a vital part of the international film industry will be preserved with cortege and gala screenings.
In the scope of the festival, the best film will receive a prize of 50,000 euros, while the recipient of the "Best Director" award will receive 25,000 euros. The recipient of the Dr. Avni Tolunay Spectator's Award will receive 10,000 euros.
Regarding the two projects selected in the "Scenario Improvement" category, a TL 50,000 price will be up for grabs, while the recipient of the Best Project award will be granted TL 100,000.
'Film is the best form of communication'
Film Forum Director Atakan said that the Antalya Film Forum has shown considerable improvements over the last three years, having received an outpouring of support from numerous film projects.
Festival consultant Purivatra stated that they will work to encourage local and foreign cinema producers to work in Antalya. Purivatra said, "Regardless of the size of a film project, we will complete it successfully."
Artistic Director Downey asserted that in addition to love, art is itself the most finite proof of the goodness of humanity. He noted that the film industry is one of the most prominent branches of the arts, stressing that he and others want to bring the festival to the international film industry and bring the spotlight to the people of Antalya.
"I think that a festival which doesn't reach the people of Antalya is not a festival. The local populace is of crucial importance. We have come across truly successful films in the 21st century and have discovered the relationship between producers and the viewer. Film is the best and the most secular form of communication. We aim to present a festival which brings film producers and viewers together."