Antalya Film Festival strengthens its role as a catalyst for the Turkish film industry

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Turkey’s Antalya Orange Gold Film Festival, which has always been the main catalyst for local cinema in the country, is a testament to the fact that despite the hurdles due to the pandemic and the country’s economy, Turkish filmmakers are standing still. wear well.

“At the beginning of the year, people were saying, ‘You won’t be able to assemble 10 [Turkish] films because of the pandemic ‘”, because“ they thought nothing was being done, ”Antalya festival chief Ahmet Boyacıoğlu said.

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Instead, the programmers of the 58th edition of the event, which will take place October 2-9 in the sprawling seaside town on Turkey’s south coast, have received 44 entries for the national competition that is at its heart. . And the 10 features they picked represent “the strongest selection in Antalya over the past 10 years perhaps,” he says.

Antalya Artistic Director Başak Emre points out that with the Turkish Lira hitting historic lows against Western currencies and the decline in local government support for film production which now stands at around € 200,000 ( $ 232,000) in total, the country’s producers are increasingly turning to co-productions with European partners to get their projects off the ground.

This is reflected in the fact that six of the ten films in the Antalya National Competition are co-productions. Some were made in tandem with several European countries, as is the case with first-time director Emre Kayiş’s “Anatolian Leopard,” which was launched from the Discovery section of the Toronto Film Festival and is a co-production between Turkey, Poland, Germany and Denmark. The winners will be chosen by a seven-member jury led by Turkish writer-director Emin Alper (“Frenzy”).

Since the 1960s, Turkey’s oldest film festival has been “the Mecca of Turkish cinema,” says Boyacıoğlu, who also runs Turkey’s traveling festival on wheels with Emre. They took over Antalya in 2019 following a period in which the festival’s national competition was eliminated as a separate component, sparking protests and even a boycott from the local film community.

This does not mean that Antalya is now an island event. “We always have an international competition,” which Emre notes, is “a very important part” of their vision for the festival. This year it features recent world touring stars such as Venice Golden Lion winner “Happening” by Audrey Diwan, as well as “Bergman Island” by Mia Hansen-Løve and “Drive My Car” by Ryûsuke. Hamaguchi, both in Cannes.

However, due to the restrictions related to the pandemic and their impact on travel, the international presence in Antalya will be very low.

Local attendance, on the contrary, is expected to be significant, with ticket sales already indicating that, just like last year, Antalya’s three socially remote outdoor venues for a total of 1,250 usable seats will be full. Large delegations will come for Turkish films, which will all have their national premieres.

So even though the industry component of Antalya Film Forum’s co-production platform will be held online (see separate article), the in-person presence of the Turkish film industry will be strong.

Below is an overview of the titles of the national competition of the 58th Antalya Film Festival that give the current pulse of Turkish cinema.

“Anatolian Leopard” – This timely drama from first-time filmmaker Emre Kayiş is about the director of the Ankara zoo who is fighting for the zoo not to be closed in the face of urban renewal, privatization and Arab investors who want to convert it to fun parking.

“Commitment Hasan” – In this second installment of his “Commitment” trilogy, author Semih Kaplanoglu tells the story of “a Muslim fighting his own soul”, as Boyacıoğlu puts it. Pic, which was launched from Un Certain Regard in Cannes, takes place in a windswept but fertile corner of Turkey where a man named Hasan lives from his father’s orchard and tomato field. When Hasan and his wife are accepted for Hajj, their impending pilgrimage to Mecca causes him to question his conscience as he scrutinizes his past and confronts its contradictions.

“Pure White” – In this religious drama by Necip Çağhan Özdemir, proto-Islamic protagonist Vural, who is a seemingly pious husband and father, has a secret that causes his life to take a sudden and dark turn when a seemingly minor sin becomes a threat to his simple life.

“Together, We Shall Die” – This novelist directed by Hakkı Kurtuluş and Melik Saraçoğlu sees protagonist Mazhar return to Istanbul after studying in Canada. He falls head over heels in love with his best friend’s lover, which leads to a passionate and devastating affair amid the vicissitudes of the sprawling and tumultuous Turkish city that also becomes a key figure in the picture.

“Dialogue” – It’s a film within a film “like Truffaut’s ‘Day for the Night’,” Boyacıoğlu says. This is a feature debut by Ali Tansu Turhan in which the two protagonists are actors playing a couple in a relationship that ends and fall in love with each other.

“Between Two Dawns” – This Turkish-French-Romanian co-production directed by writer-director Selman Nacar is a social drama about a young man facing a moral dilemma after a worker was injured in his bed linen factory. family. The protagonist, Kadir, is forced to plot a cover-up that changes the lives of those involved and unveils long-held secrets.

“The Cage” – The hard-hitting drama by veteran writer Cemil Ağacıkoğlu is about a former cop named Hasan who was kicked out of the police force and now works in a cheap hotel in the back alleys of the historic Istanbul Peninsula where live the lows and the lows. There, his only friend is an immigrant named Illiona with whom he dreams of a better life. Hasan feels trapped as he struggles to clear his name in court in a desperate effort to resolve his problem with the police and get his job back.

“Kerr” – In this latest drama from minimalist filmmaker Tayfun Pirselimoğlu (“Haze”, “Hair”, “I’m not him”), a man named Can witnesses a murder in a small town where he arrived for attend his father’s party. funeral. He goes to the police and after taking his statement, the cops forbid him to leave the city. Then a quarantine is declared due to rabid dogs and he is charged with an unspecified crime. Other strange things happen and the city turns into a hell that he cannot escape.

“Brother’s Keeper” – This social drama based on director Ferit Karahan’s own experience is about Kurdish children living in fear in a Turkish boarding school. Pic was launched earlier this year from the Panorama section of Berlin, where it won the section’s Fipresci Prize. He follows two friends, Yusef and Memo, to an isolated boarding school for Kurdish boys in the mountains of eastern Anatolia. When Memo mysteriously falls ill, Yusuf, who tries to help his friend, is forced to overcome bureaucratic hurdles put in place by law enforcement authorities at the school.

“Zuhal” – In this dark-humored debut feature from screenwriter Nazli Elif Durlu, an upper-middle-class woman named Zuhal hears a cat meowing one night from her apartment. At first she pays no attention to it, but after the meowing continues all night, she thinks the cat might be stuck in a neighboring apartment, forcing her to communicate with her neighbors that she has until. ‘now deliberately avoided.

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