Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Istanbul Film Festival’s 36th edition kicked off with an opening gala on April 4. The opening gala brought the stars and distinguished figures of Turkish cinema together at TİM Show Center where Cinema Honorary Awards and plaques were presented.
The gala, starting with plaque presentations to representatives of the supporting institutions and organizations of the festival, was presented by actor Cem Davran and hosted by İKSV General Director Görgün Taner and the festival director Kerem Ayan.
This year, a total of 59 films will be competing for the International and National Golden Tulip Awards, FACE Human Rights in Cinema Award, Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Award, National Documentary Competition and National Short Film Competition Awards. The International Competition Jury will be led by Reha Erdem, while the head of the National Competition Jury will be the director duo Taylan Brothers.
The proceeding minutes of the gala saw tributes, honoring important figures of cinema, culture, and the arts world who passed away last year, accompanied by a mini concert by Kalben, a beloved name of alternative local stage.
The annual Cinema Honorary Awards of the Istanbul Film Festival were given to six distinguished figures who have long served Turkish cinema. The celebrated educator of cinema and cinephile Mithat Alam was the first to be honored with the Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award, just before his unfortunate passing away in November 2016.
Devoting himself to film literacy, Alam was the founder of the Mithat Alam Film Center at Boğaziçi University, a place which passed on his passion for cinema to the next generations, inspiring many young filmmakers and film lovers. His award was presented to him a short while before his departure.
Çetin Tunca, the director of 127 films and TV series including the masterpiece “Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım” (The Girl with the Red Scarf) and a talented cinematographer, received the Cinema Honorary Award from another master among film directors, Feyzi Tuna.
Renowned film and stage actor Macit Koper, who worked with the most remarkable directors of Turkish cinema for almost half a century, appearing in countless unique films like “Aaahh Belinda” and wrote scripts for breakthrough films, received his Cinema Honorary Award from actress Hale Soygazi.
Barış Pirhasan, who worked with veteran directors Atıf Yılmaz, Ömer Kavur and Şerif Gören in the 1980s and wrote countless film scripts and directed successful films, was presented the Cinema Honorary Award by actress Nurgül Yeşilçay.
A timeless face with her natural and subtle acting, Selma Güneri was another receiver of the Cinema Honorary Award. Güneri starred in countless films since the mid-1960s. She received her award from veteran actor Ediz Hun.
One of the most legendary film actors, with memorable roles in “Richard III,” “Gods and Monsters,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “X-Men” series, the guest of this year’s festival, Sir Ian McKellen, received this year’s last Cinema Honorary Award from Ayan.
The festival’s honorary guest, in collaboration with the British Council, McKellen will also meet film lovers at the screenings of “Richard III” to be screened at Beyoğlu Atlas and Rexx movie theaters. McKellen will also give a talk at the Albert Long Hall at Boğaziçi University on April 7.
Following the award ceremony, the festival kicked off with the screening of Tassos Boulmetis’ film “Notias.” Boulmetis and actors Yiannis Niarros and Chara Mata Giannatou were also present at the screening.
The 36th Istanbul Film Festival will present a rich program, running a gamut from the latest productions of world cinema to cult films, most recent Turkish films, classics, new discoveries, masterpieces and hidden treasures in nine movie theaters through April 15.