Antalya once again the capital of cinema
'Angels Wear White'
The International Antalya Film Festival, one of the longest-running art events in Turkey, will open on Oct. 21 in the southern province of Antalya, presenting more than 30 movies until Oct. 27.
For the first time in the festival’s 54-year history there will be no separate categories for national and international films, with all competition films instead evaluated in a single category. During the festival, film premieres, workshops, talks, special film screenings, concerts and cinema-cuisine events will be held. An exhibition titled
“Emek Movie Theater Once Again” will also open as part of the festival, focusing on the legendary demolished theater in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district.
The movies competing in this year competition include Iran’s “A Man of Integrity,” China’s “Angels Wear White”, Mexico’s “April’s Daughter,” Germany’s “Human Flow,” Turkey’s “The Guest” and “Ugly Duckling,” Japan-France co-production “Radiance,” France’s “Redoubtable,” Georgia’s “Scary Mother” and “The Florida Project” from the U.S.
The festival will award a cash prize of 50,000 euros to the best film, 25,000 euros to the best female director, 25,000 euros to the best actress and 25,000 euros to the best actor. Tickets for the festival’s events are currently on sale at the box office of the Antalya Culture Center.
The Antalya Film Festival first began under the title Antalya Art Festival in 1964, masterminded by Turkish director Behlül Dal.
Even before the festival started that year, Antalya was known as a cultural hotspot in Turkey. The province’s ancient Aspendos Theater was restored in 1930 upon the order of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In 1953, Ankara State Conservatory students staged a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” at the ancient theater, which was attended by 10,000 locals.
Surprised by the huge interest in the theater, officials them decided to organize a festival under the title “Antalya Belkıs Theater and Music Festival.”
Dal founded the ANTİŞ Antalya Film Company in 1957, which was Turkey’s first production company outside Istanbul. The process leading to the start of the festival accelerated after Dal’s childhood friend Avni Tolunay became the mayor of Antalya.
The Antalya Art Festival was held between Oct. 1 and 10 in 1957, with director Halit Refiğ’s “Gurbet Kuşları” (Birds of Exile) winning the festival’s “Best Film” prize.
The event was subsequently devoted entirely to cinema and renamed the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
The festival has seen a number of controversies over the years. It was cancelled in 1979, the year before the Sept. 12 military coup in Turkey, after the censorship council demanded to cut some sections of Yavuz Pağda’s “Yolcular” (Passengers), Yavuz Özkan’s “Demiryol” (Railway) and Ömer Kavur’s “Yusuf ile Kenan” (Yusuf and Kenan).
The following year’s festival was also not held because of the coup. Films from the two years were later awarded at a symbolic ceremony in 2011.
In 2005, the 1st International Eurasia Film Festival saw foreign artists coming to Antalya, carrying the Golden Orange to the international platform.
In 2010, controversy erupted due to the planned attendance of Serbian director Emir Kusturica as a jury member of the international competition. Protests started in the city over Kusturica’s apparent support for massacres in Bosnia during the 1990s.
The most awarded director of the festival so far is Atıf Yılmaz, who has won six awards. He is followed by Ömer Kavur with four awards and Halit Refiğ and Nuri Bilge Ceylan with three awards each.
The late actor Tarık Akan won the festival’s Best Actor award six times, while Fikret Hakan has won the award three time. Actress Hülya Koçyiğit has won the Best Actress award five times and Türkan Şoray has won the award four times.
Alternative to national competition
As the 54th Antalya Film Festival committee has decided to cancel the national film competition, director Kaan Müjdeci will organize an alternative national film competition simultaneously with the festival between Oct. 20 and 27 at the Beyoğlu Movie Theater in Istanbul.
With an attempt to object to the cancelation of the national film competition at the Antalya Film Festival, the 54th National Competition aims to protect and celebrate the history of Turkish cinema and to create a festival culture that pays attention to the concerns of filmmakers and viewers.
Film festivals have been beset by censorships and boycotts for some time, but the 54th National Competition aims to become a platform to evaluate films of all genres regardless of international expectations.
The jury members include Hülya Uçansu, Kadir İnanır, Nihal Yalçın, Sarkis, Sevin Okyay and Tayfun Pirselimoğlu.
The Cinema Writers Association (SİYAD) jury, including Tül Akbal Süalp, Okan Arpaç and Ali Deniz Şensöz, will also present an award at the event. The winners of the competition will be announced at a ceremony on Oct. 26.