The 32nd Istanbul Film Festival ends
Festival in Media
2013-04-23

The 32nd Istanbul Film Festival closed last week. On the 14th of April, the Head of Jury, The Australian filmmaker, Peter Weir gave the golden tulip to Leonard (Lenny) Abrahamson from Ireland for his "What Richard Did." The Jury's special prize was given to Bruno Dumont for "Camille Claudel, 1915." As for the Head of Jury himself, a six time Oscar nominee was awarded with an honorable prize by the festival, celebrating his special contribution to Cinema. "Thou Gild'st the even" by Onur Unlu was selected among others in the national competition.
The audience signed the letter of protest right before the closing ceremony, the matter is: this year's festival started with a scandal. Turkish cinematographers and film lovers demonstrated on the 7th of April to save Turkey's historical Emek Theatre. The hall, which hosted the film festivals key screenings since 2009 was built in 1880 and functioned as a movie theatre since 1924. Today, the building is already sold and it is quite possible the theater will be closed down. The protestant's march to the theatre was interrupted by the police, using the Tear Gas and the water cannon. The Film critic Berke Göl was arrested also.
The Istanbul film festival is a two-week event, gathering the cinematographers of all generations and category. It is significant with a variety of program elements as well as sufficiency of industrial events. A number of very interesting happenings took place: master classes by Costa Gavras, Carlos Reygadas and Peter Weir. The engaging panel-discussions were led, addressing the problems of funding, post-production and adapting the literature, the discussions were especially helpful and informative for young professionals. The Workshop for Turkish Cinematographers included the pitching and so the various new film projects were presented. Not to forget the so called "Work-in-Progress," aimed to attract the distributors and exhibitors to the films on the final production stage.
The Istanbul Film Festival focused on the Turkish-International collaborations once more this year. One of the meetings discussed the six year experience of Turkey-Armenia Platform. The National Centers of Poland, Germany and Georgia also reviewed the various co-production possibilities with Turkey. The above mentioned series of industrial events were titled as "Meetings on the Bridge" and were hosted by the Culture Centre of France. "The Bridge" of course stands for the Bosporus strait here, the bonding between Europe and Asia. However the bridges are two - as known, so the guests themselves have to decide which one was meant exactly. For a closer look to the bridge/bridges, the guests were offered a special ride on a ship, sponsored by the "Ak Bank" of Turkey, and offered the meals and refreshments especially for the festival. The sunny deck is a wonderful place to have interesting conversations about Cinema or discuss various projects with a glass of Raki or Wine.
It has to be mentioned that The Istanbul Film Festival is not among the top ones by the number of films, guests or movie theatres, but it is definitely exceptional in terms of hospitality, pleasant and warm environment, and most importantly a very welcoming and interested audience. Lastly, I cannot resist commenting: In the hall filled with people, you will never hear someone's cell-phone ringing.

Gaga Chkeidze,
The Director of Tbilisi International Film Festival

       

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