Yunus Emre Enstitüsü

FILM, FESTIVAL, AND ANTALYA – The 55th International Antalya Film Festival

Antalya is one of the hottest cities of Turkey. Attractive with its natural beauties, while the city is known as tourism paradise, it pays an effort to be the center of culture, as well. In these days when the vacationers went back to their countries, solstice has started and evolved into autumn in Turkey, Antalya hosts a festival that has been held almost for 50 years.

Award winning director of Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan says “Every new film teaches me how to manage my life.” Film or cinema conduce a human to reveal the mysterious parts of their lives, of course. By toppling a century, Turkish cinema signs under new films that is more quality and modern, contacts human, gives weight to subjects that centers human. The 55th International Antalya Film Festival, too, has been held for 55 years to encourage the artists, directors and producers who serve both to Turkish and world cinema.
The festival of which the 55th is held this year started again with the salute of the cinema artists to the cinema lovers in company with the cortege in Antalya streets and opened with an amazing premiere night in the evening of Antalya on 29 October 2018. The Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy who gave a speech at the opening ceremony said “The brand of Turkey, Antalya Film Festival will make a great contribution to Turkish cinema, the culture and art of Turkey by its rich content this year, too”. The main attention-grabbing sentences of Mehmet Nuri Ersoy are these:
“Turkish cinema has shown stunning developments recently, and there has been a great deal of increase in the film production and in the number of audiences. The number of Turkish films which were 9 in 2002 went up to 148 last year. There were 2 million audiences in the first years but its audiences are 40 million now. Our country is at the top in Europe by 56 percent rating of native movie audience. On the other hand, our films come with awards from the most important festivals that is the clear indicator that Turkish cinema is known in the world.”
Turkish cinema has developed as an important cultural sector that addresses to 40 million audiences today. This is definitely about the integration of Turkey with the world and activating its own dynamics.
Saying that they want to make Antalya the center of cinema industry, Antalya Metropolitan Mayor Menderes Türel who is the organizer of the festival expressed that “The argument that art is local or universal ended many years ago, there is no chance of the art to survive today if it is not universal.” Türel also said Antalya Film Festival is in universal quality, but he also said it is going to be fortified with the Turkish Cinema Industry Awards for its institutionalization.
The opening ceremony which is attended by indigenous artists like Iranian director with two Oscars Asghar Farhadi, French Actor Vincent Cassel, Hungarian Director Bela Tarr and Polish Director Pawel Pawlikowski, started with a meaningful motto: “In the memory of the ones we lost this year!”
Starting with the psychological thriller film Everybody Knows which is filmed by Iranian indigenous director Asger Ferhadi who also undertook the scriptwriting, International Antalya Film Festival evaluated films which came out in many different styles until 5 October 2018. The festival that Turkish and foreign films contested ended with the screening of the films The Turin Horse, Brothers of Silence, The Turkish Bath, Red Istanbul, Cold War, The Lenses of July 15, Adem’s Hand, Werckmeister Harmonies, 3 Faces, Debt, Stranger in My Pocket, Birds of Passage, Planetree, Snow Pirates, The Treasure Within, Everything’s Gonna Be Great, Hunting Season, A Twelve-Year Night, Salvation: Last Stop, Coming Soon, Arif V 216, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
Such that, the famous comedian and scriptwriter Cem Yılmaz was the central point of the Festival this year and drew attention with his films and retrospective. Telling the adventure of almost twenty years of his cinema history in the festival became undoubtedly a surprise for the artist, as well. Along with the artists who contributed to Turkish cinema, the artists who had services for the world cinema i.e. culture as well, Ferzan Özpetek was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award,French actor Vincent Cassel, Hungarian Director Bela Tarr, and Director/Producer Ömer Vargı are presented Honor Award. Özpetek who said that 21 years ago, he recieved “The Best Film” and “The Best Director” Golden Orange Awards, and told the things he went through and his impression about Antalya in one of his talks:
“I came to Antalya years ago when I was 7-8 years old with my mother and siblings to the festival. We walked in Konyaaltı beach. The beach is well-kept now and has become quite beautiful, but I have the tramp version of the beach of that time in my memory and that was something totally different.
Next time I came to Antalya was in 1997 with The Turkish Bath film. I was totally new then, and I did not know anybody from Turkish cinema. We were staying at a hotel. People always sniped at me with the words like ‘there is a director, while his film was screening, half of the people left the theatre, families said it is horrible.’ Then I told to myself ‘I can’t receive anything here most probably.’ and planning to leave. Why am I here? I say. There were the films of Zeki Demirkubuz, Nuri Bilge. I didn’t know them either. Plus, I saw the poster of Nuri Bilge and I liked it. Betül Mardin, one of my close friends for years, I called her. ‘Ms. Betül I will return to Istanbul.’ I said. She asked me ‘Why’. ‘I have this feeling on me.’ I said. She, in return, told me ‘If you have that feeling on you, stay there.’ Then I received a phone call. I said ‘Hello’. It said “congratulations” and hung up the phone. Later I recognized him from his voice, He was Engin Cezzar. This was very rare up to that time in the history of Antalya. I received best director, best film and best score awards. That’s why when I say the effect of Antalya on me; apart from the effect of the city, there is also a great value of Antalya. The first time I stepped up to such a platform and I received awards there.
When you walk around the city, Antalya is not a pleasant city at the first glance, but later you get inside of it, get to know the people of it, it changes a lot. You know, people make cities. Europe has very beautiful cities. Everything is great. People are cold, you cannot enjoy the city. You cannot relate to city. Therefore, people of Antalya are pleasant. The time I stayed here was always very short. Three-four days. If I stay longer then I would say its color.”

At the closing ceremony of the festival which lasted almost a week, the films that contested in different categories and the artists who served cinema were awarded. Hereunder:
Best Film: Three Faces, Director: Jafar Panahi Best Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu, Shoplifters Best Actress: Samal Yeslyamova (Ayka) Best Actor: Al Rafeea, Capernaum Special Jury Award: Kailash Behlül Dal Award: Planetree Dr. Avni Tolunay Audience Award: Birds of Passage Young Jury Best Picture Award: Capernaum
deserved these awards. Besides, scriptwriter, director and actor Cem Yılmaz was awarded with “Lifetime Achievement Award”, as well. In the meantime, International Honor Award was given to American actor Eric Roberts.

About the author

Ebru Çavdar

Leave a Comment