The 52nd International Antalya Film Festival this year was a case of “The Show Must Go On”. In spite of several setbacks which made Turkey quite unstable and put it on the U.S. State Department’s Alert List, it took place in the beautiful Turkish seaside site of the recent G20 Conference. It rivals Cannes for its Croisette; its boulevards exceed any street in Cannes. Organized by the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality whose Mayor Menderes Türel, recently reelected for a five year term, is supporting this festival in a major way and directed by Elif Dağdeviren, the Festival’s Closing Night was an extravaganza of special effects as it announced its winners and handed out its Golden Orange 35 times.
The Festival’s industry component, the one year old, Antalya Film Forum (AFF), was directed by filmmaker Zeynep Özbatur Atakan. Industry guests included, among others, Jim Stark and his partner Nicolas Celis whom I had just recently written about. IDFA’s Ally Derks, TIFF’s Piers Handling, International sales agent Catherine Le Clef, BaseWerx for Film’s Claudia Landsberger, and Producer Linda Beath who all attended in spite of warnings of terrorism in Turkey. I also had the good fortune to meet the Bosnian DP Mirsad Herović who seems to be working non-stop in Turkey these days, on his film “Iftarlik Gazoz/Pop A Revolution”.
At the ceremony I sat next to Alin Tasciyan, President of FIPRESCI who was also responsible for the international press in attendance. Days later, we went to a fabulous restaurant in Istanbul and talked more about the state of the industry and Turkey in general. This evening was one of the highlights of the trip and deserves an article of its own.
The jury was presided over by the elegant Ömer Vargi, known as the director who revitalized the Turkish cinema and who is also the head of the Istanbul Film Studios. The jury members included the award winning screenwriter Tarik Tufan and L.A.’s own James Ulmer, the entertainment journalist who created a ranking list of actors, known as “The Ulmer Scale” and who wrote the books James Ulmer’s Hollywood Hot List — The Complete Guide to Star Ranking and Directors Hot List, which measure the global value of stars and directors in a variety of areas including bankability, career management, professionalism, promotion, risk factors and talent. We again shared an evening together in Istanbul where we stayed at the same boutique hotel recommend to us by Israel’s Dan and Edna Fainaru , who unfortunately broke her foot at the festival.
The most notable film was “Ivy” which won four awards: National Competition for Best Movie — plus 100.000 Turkish Lira (3TL = 1US$) and whose director-writer Tolga Karaçelik won the National Competition for Best Screenplay and for Best Director (for which he also won 1 million travel miles by Turkish Airlines) and whose actor Nadir Sarıbacak won the Best Actor Award of the National Competition.
“Ivy” is Tolga Karaçelik’s second film and previously played at Sundance 2015, TIFF 2015 Contemporary World Cinema, Thessaloniki, Istanbul and Karlovy Vary Film Festivals in 2015. The story is about a ship sailing to Egypt to load goods bound for Angola. The crew is forbidden to go to shore when a lien is put on the ship because the ship’s owner has gone bankrupt leaving the crew with no salaries paid which puts them into a nasty mood. While in anchorage, supplies run out, the crew fractures into parts, small arguments escalate into major conflicts and the ship becomes a battlefield.
“The Cold of Kalander” also won four prizes: the Dr. Avni Tolunay Jury Special Award, National Competition for Best Music to François Couturier, International Competition Best Actor to Haydar Şişman and National Competition to Nuray Yeşilaraz for Best Actress.
Winning three prizes, “Memories of the Wind,” about an intellectual of Armenian origin hiding from Turkish militia by the Georgian border during WWII who falls in love with the wife of the farmer offering shelter, received a great round of applause with its Audience Award in International Competition, International Award for Best Music by Eleonore Fourning and Best Visual Director Award going to Andreas Sinanos. International sales by Arizona Flms.
“For Love of the Neighborhood” won the Special Jury Award, Best Art Direction Award and Best Editing Award. “The Apprentice” won for Best First Movie, and the Best Supporting Actress Award went to Çiğdem Selışık.
Elif Dağdeviren on the state of the festival and its mission today says,
“Our aim was and will continue to be a respected film festival on a par with all the important film festivals around the world. We choose all the films, events, national and international guests according to this mission and vision.
During the first 50 years, the festival served a very important purpose to support the cinema of Turkey locally. This was at a time when there were no other festivals and very few theatres in Turkey.
Antayla opened many doors for other successful local festivals and then needed to renew itself by becoming a meeting point of both the local and the world cinema sector. And it needed to modernize itself according to the technological innovations taking place worldwide. The first two years have proven that this is not a dream but a possible reality.”
List of winners:
International Competition Awards
Audience Award: “Memories of the Wind” (Director: Ozcan Alper, Producers: Soner Alper, Mustafa Oğuz, Ali Bayraktar – Turkey)
Best Music Award: Eleni Karaindrou and Irena Popoviç (“Enclave” –Serbia/Germany)
Best Actor: Haydar Şişman (“The Cold of Kalandar” – Turkey)
Best Actress: Alba Rohrwacher (“Sworn Virgin” -Italy/ Switzerland/ Germany/ Albania/ Kosovo/ France)
Best Screenplay: Alexandra-Therese Keining (“Girls Lost” – Sweden)
Best Director: Hany Abu Assad (“The Idol” – U.K./ Palestine/ Netherlands/ United Arab Emirates)
Jury Mansion Award: “Pioneer Heroes” (Director: Natalya Kudryashova, Producer: Sergey Selyanov – Russia)
Best Movie: “Memories on Stone” (Director: Shawkat Amin Korki, Producer: Mehmet Aktaş – Germany/ Iraq)
Antalya Film Forum Awards:
- DigiFlame Color and Digital Effect Award: “Goodness” (Producer: Sevil Demirci / Director: Özgür Sevimli)
- AFF Villa Kult Berlin Artistic Residency Award: “Dormitory” (Producer: Evrim Sanal / Director: Nehir Tuna)
- Documentary Pitching Jury Special Award : “The Memories of Antoine Köpe” (Producer: Elsa Ginoux / Director: Nefin Dinç)
- Documentary Pitching Platform Award: “Mr. Gay Syria” (Producer: Cem Doruk / Director: Ayşe Toprak) with 30,000 TL, “The Olympiad” (Producer: Tuğçe Taçkın / Director: Efe Öztezdoğan) with 30,000 TL
- Fiction Pitching Jury Special Award: “Death of the Black Horses” (Producer: Gülistan Acet / Director: Ferit Karahan)
- Fiction Pitching Award: “Butterflies” (Producer-Director: Tolga Karaçelik) with 30,000 TL, “The Boarding School” (Producer: Bilge Elif Özköse / Director: Rezan Yeşilbaş) with 30,000 TL
- Work in Progress Award: “Rauf” (Producer: Soner Caner, Burak Ozan / Director: Barış Kaya, Soner Caner) with 100,000 TL
Honorary and Lifetime Achivement Awards:
Golden Orange Labor Award : Sonay Kanat
Honarary Award: Kathleen Turner
Lifetime Achievement Award: Catherine Deneuve
Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeremy Irons
Lifetime Achievement Award: Franco Nero
Lifetime Achievement Award: Vanessa Redgrave
Honarary Award: Aysen Gruda
Honarary Award: Erden Kıral
Honarary Award: Kayhan Yıldızoğlu
Honarary Award: Tijen Par
National Competition Awards:
Antalya Film Support Fund Award: “Snow“, Emre Erdoğdu with 100.000TL
Documentary Audience Award : “Zerk” (Director: İnan Erbil, Producer: Doğacan Aktaş)
Short Film Audience Award: “Zilan” (Director: Mehmet Mahsum Akyel, Producer: Doğacan Aktaş)
National Competition Audience Award: “The Coop” (Director: Ufuk Bayraktar, Producer, Ufuk Bayraktar, Ali Adnan Özgür)
Behlül Dal Jury Special Award (Young Talented Actor): Yağız Can Konyalı (The Team: “For the Love of the Neighborhood”)
Dr. Avni Tolunay Jury Special Award: “ The Cold of Kalandar “(Director: Mustafa Kara, Producer: Nermin Aytekin))
Best Editing: Emre Şahin (The Team: “For the Love of the Neighborhood”)
Best Production Designer: Uykura Bayyurt (The Team: “For the Love of the Neighborhood”)
Best Cinematography: Andreas Sinanos (“Memories of the Wind”)
Best Music: François Couturier (“Memories of The Wind“), Eleonore Fourniau (“The Cold of Kalandar“)
Best Supporting Actor: Kaan Çakır (“Muna“)
Best Supporting Actress: Cigdem Selisik (“The Apprentice“)
Best Actor: Nadir Sarıbacak (“Ivy“)
Best Actress: Nuray Yeşilaraz (“The Cold of Kalandar“)
Best First Movie: “The Apprentice“ (Director: Emre Konuk)
Film-Yön Best Director: Selim Evci (“Saklı“)
Best Screenplay: Tolga Karacelik (“Ivy“)
Best Director: Tolga Karacelik (“Ivy“), 1 million Turkish Arlines travel miles
Best Movie: “Ivy” (Producer: Bilge Elif Turhan, Tolga Karacelik) 100.000 TL award