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Berlin celebrates upcoming 30th Istanbul Film Festival

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 2/13/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Representatives from the Turkish and German film sectors gathered during a recent event at the 61st Berlin Film Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of the Istanbul International Film Festival. 'The Istanbul Film Festival is accelerating the development of Turkish cinema,' says Seyfi Teoman, whose film will also compete at the Berlinale this year

The 61st Berlin Film Festival, or Berlinale, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Istanbul International Film Festival on Friday in the German capital, saluting the increasing international success of Turkish films.

“Our festival is a developed one and proved its significance,” said Azize Tan, the Istanbul Film Festival director, adding that Turkish films had been very successful in recent years, indicating that a new generation was emerging.

“Independent films have also attained big success in festivals. We won the ‘Golden Bear’ Award last year at Berlin [with Semih Kaplanoğlu’s ‘Bal’ [Honey]. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s success at Cannes is also known by everybody in the world. Yeşim Ustaoğlu won the Best Film Award at San Sebastian. Also, our many young directors have received awards at international festivals for their debut films. These are big successes,” Tan said.

“Turkish cinema is producing more films and is recognized around the world,” said Seyfi Teoman, the director of film “Bizim Büyük Çaresizliğimiz” (Our Grand Despair), which is competing for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale. Teoman also attended the celebration in Berlin at the Akademie der Künste, which is next to the historic Brandenburg Gate.

While there is still a Turkish hope to repeat Kaplanoğlu’s success from last year, Teoman played down competition for the big Berlinale prize. “This is not a competition because there is no comparison between works of art. It is up to the jury’s decision. I am proud of representing Turkish cinema here after the success of ‘Bal’ last year at the festival. We are progressing on the way,” he said.

Speaking about the Istanbul festival, Teoman said he had been following the event since his youth.

“It is a festival of audiences and a big chance to see all the films produced throughout the world that we don’t get a chance to see at any other event. The Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival has a significant place, too. But the Istanbul Film Festival makes a great contribution to those who live in Istanbul and work in the cinema sector. It also accelerates the development of Turkish cinema,” Teoman said.

[HH] Still needs more institutionalization

Tan said the festival played a large role in the growth of a generation of filmmakers, adding that she was excited about the development of Turkish cinema that would present a very strong program during the 30th Istanbul Film Festival in April.

She also said they had collaborated with the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein Film Funds and laid the foundation for a new 150,000-euro film fund to support new films.

While acknowledging the rising popularity of Turkish cinema around the world, Tan said: “But everything is not perfect. I believe that institutionalization is necessary to make this success permanent.”

Loopholes in laws should be met and an independent cinema institute that would help promote the sector should be immediately formed, Tan said. “Similar examples exist in European countries.”

The 30th Istanbul Film Festival will take place from April 2 and 17 this year while the film program will be announced March 9.

In addition to Tan and Teoman, Cinema and Copyrights Deputy Director Hüseyin Ülger, Berlin Consul General Mustafa Pulat, Bileda Kaçar from the Berlin Consulate General and a number of guests from Turkey and Germany also attended Friday’s celebration.

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