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High-budget Turkish documentary examines Ottomans' rise

KAYSERİ - Anatolia News Agency | 8/2/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The life stories of scholars and artisans who lay the foundation of the Ottoman state are the subject of the most expensive documentary in Turkish history. Filmed in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, the 4 million-Turkish Lira film will examine the reasons for the Ottomans’ rise out of a nomadic milieu to the creators of a world civilization

The stories of the scholars and artisans that became the architects underpinning Ottoman civilization are now the subject of the most expensive documentary film in Turkish history, “Ustalar, Alimler and Sultanlar” (Masters, Scholars and Sultans).

“The 120-minute documentary drama examines the reasons behind the establishment of the Ottoman civilization,” said Kemal Tekden, one of the of the partners in the film company producing the work.

“We have a budget of 4 million Turkish liras. It is the first time that a documentary drama has this big a budget. Its strong substructure has been created with a very detailed working process. The film will also be shown at cinemas,” he said.

“We offered the project to the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency and it was accepted,” Tekden said about the film, which is being shot in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri.

“Following a long process of preparation, we started shooting the documentary film, which will shed light on the life of scholars and artisans who played great role in the establishment of the Ottoman Empire and convinced the sultans to establish an empire,” he said.

Tekden said the documentary would provide the secret to the Ottoman success in forming a civilization.

There were also plans to show the film in European countries, he said. “The international state system was implemented for the first time at the time of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet. European countries are examining this system. We believe that our film will also help European scientists who are working on this system.”

[HH] A civilization that appears with a dream

The film’s producer and screenwriter, Mehmet Bozdağ, said there were power struggles between Turks, the Crusaders and Mongols on Anatolian soil in the lead-up to the formation of the Ottoman state.

“The founder of the Ottoman State, Osman Bey, saw a dream and this dream paved the way for a civilization,” he said. “We give the milestones of it in this film.”

The documentary team questioned the reasons behind the establishment of the empire after the Turks moved to Anatolia, leading them to produce the film, Bozdağ said.

“Osman Bey’s dream caused the Ottomans to take root on three continents,” he said. “We examine the thoughts of the architects of this empire. The film shows the period from the establishment of the Ottoman Empire to Süleyman the Magnificent and the rise of the empire. This is a period of four centuries. This period also gives us hints about how civilizations have been established.”

Kayseri was chosen as the site of the film because “there are many historical structures in the city and they are well-protected,” Bozdağ said.

“This is why we shot lots of scenes of the film in these places. We will also shoot some scenes in Istanbul and [Central Anatolian] Nevşehir’s Avanos district,” he said, adding that they had prepared for the film for two years.

City theaters actor Osman Sonart, who portrays Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the film, said: “I have always dreamed of this. It is a great honor for me to portray him,” adding that the film had a poetic language.

[HH] Villagers in the film

People in the region were also playing role in “Masters, Scholars and Sultans,” with some becoming Byzantine soldiers and others Ottoman soldiers while riding horses with swords.

“We are curious about seeing ourselves on TV. This will be a great memory to tell our grandchildren,” said a resident from one of the villages that will host filming.

The documentary, which is Turkey’s first historical documentary drama using computer technology, is directed by Murat Saraçoğlu, who is known for “120” and “Deli Deli Olma” (Piano Girl). Art director Mustafa Ziya Ülkenciler, meanwhile, is working with a team of 30 people for the film. The film’s music is being composed by Edip Emre.

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