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Ceylan's latest film premieres at Golden Boll

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 9/22/2011 12:00:00 AM |

The 18th Golden Film Festival is continuing with screenings and various events in the southern province of Adana. Already an international success, celebrated director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film staged its Turkish premiere at the festival

The 18th Golden Film Festival is continuing with screenings and various events in the southern province of Adana. Already an international success, celebrated director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film staged its Turkish premiere at the festival

The first International Golden Boll Cinema Congress, which is being held in conjunction with the 18th Golden Boll Film Festival, also kicked off Wednesday at the Seyhan Hotel.

Congress Chairman Professor Oğuz Adanır said academics were pursuing closer relations with the cinema sector both in Turkey and around the world. “This is why the International Golden Boll Cinema Congress is very important. Academics and filmmakers here will be able to exchange views and develop future projects.”

The congress will end Saturday with events such as the “Special Forum on Yılmaz Güney” and the “Present and Future of Turkish Cinema.” The speeches presented during the congress will later be compiled in a book.

Turkey’s first cinema congress

Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş (above R) presented a plaque to Nuri Bilge Ceylan before the screening of the film ‘Once Upon A Time in Anatolia’ (L)

resh from its Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest film, “Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da” (Once Upon A Time in Anatolia), finally came before a home audience Wednesday at Adana’s 18th Golden Boll Film Festival.

“Cannes is professional but stiff. Adana is more hospitable. This is why we are premiering this film here,” Ceylan said ahead of the screening in the southern city’s M1 Shopping Mall Cinebonus Movie Theater, adding that he attached great importance to the festival. “I hope it is not last time that we see such a well-attended movie theater.”

Ceylan, along with scriptwriter Ercan Kesal and actors Yılmaz Erdoğan, Muammer Uzuner and Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, all attended the screening, Anatolia news agency reported.

Erdoğan said the film’s long journey began two years ago. “We are appearing before our own audience after two years. Adana is very important to me because I entered this sector thanks to Adana’s artists.”

Produced by Zeynep Özbatur Atakan, the 150-minute “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” tells the story of police officers looking for a dead man in the hills of Anatolia. When the body is at last unearthed, themes of guilt and adultery come to the surface.

A co-production between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the film received support from Eurimages, the Council of Europe’s fund for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinematographic works.

Before Wednesday’s screening, Adana Gov. Hüseyin Avni Coş also presented a plaque to Ceylan.

Ceylan had said in May when he accepted his award at Cannes that he did not expect to win the prize. “Thank you for selecting my long and difficult movie one more time.”

‘I am Asian, I am African’

Another event that was organized on the same day as part of the festival was a panel discussion entitled “I am Asian, I am African” at the Metropolitan Municipality Theater Hall.

Speaking about recent incidents in his home of Tunisia, film critic Hassouna Mansouri said the world had assumed that there was political and economic stability in the small North African country ahead of the revolution that ousted long-time strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.

“This was the image of Tunisia in the world because they did not know about the life of ordinary people. But after a young man named Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself, this image was destroyed. The world saw that a youth was fighting for honor. Now the country has a different image; there is freedom. The cinema sector has a very important mission to tell about the past and the new term in Tunisia,” he said.

Another guest of the event, Lebanese director Bahij Hojeij, said

the long war in his country became a source of inspiration for

filmmakers.

The biggest obstacle to filmmaking in Lebanon is the lack of financial support, Hojeij said, adding that they did not receive support from the state to make films in Lebanon.

“We get support from a cinema association in France. Also, cinema festivals in the region support us. Four to five feature films are made in Lebanon in a year. They mostly focus on developments in the country and the region. My films are mostly on the war period,” he said.

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