Malatya Film Festival's Crystal Apricot goes to 'Anons'
Vecdi Sayar - MALATYA
Malatya, one of the major cities of eastern Anatolia, has organized its eighth international film festival. The festival was launched by the Malatya Governorship and the metropolitan municipality took over last year. Mayor Hacı Uğur Polat said they strive to improve life for Malatya residents with social, cultural and artistic investments and activities.
The development of cultural infrastructure is clearly visible in Malatya, with several cultural centers and museums such as the Museum of Photography (biggest in Europe and Asia) and the Museum of Radio and Gramophone. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were held in the “Wedding Ceremony Palace” of the Metropolitan Municipality, which was not an ideal venue for such a festival.
During the Opening Ceremony, the festival’s Honorary Awards were given to three popular figures in Turkish cinema: Actor Şener Şen, actress Perran Kutman and director Osman Sınav. Şen’s award was presented by another leading comedian from our cinema, Cem Yılmaz, which was certainly one of the highlights of the festival. Bringing Nuri Bilge Ceylan as the International Jury president was another success for the festival.
Under the direction of film critic Suat Köçer, the festival has tried to position it as a “discovery festival” with the theme “Cinema Makes the Far, Close.” It has brought together approximately 100 pictures (features and short films), including 13 films in National Competition and 12 in the International Competition.
This year’s selection had a special eastern flavor with quite a number of films and guests from Iran, Palestine, Azerbaijan and Russia. This may lead to specialized competition in the future, covering Asia and Middle East. In my opinion, the remarkable increase in the figures of attendance is the most important aspect of this years’ festival. Not only the galas of Turkish films, but foreign films were also screened with full houses.
The creation of the Malatya International Film Platform in cooperation with Azerbaijan and state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) was an important initiative. The masterclass of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, as well as panels on Palestinian Cinema, Cengiz Aytmatov, Tevfik Ismailov, film funds, festivals and interviews were attended by large audiences.
The Invitation of film students from different universities in Turkey was another important initiative of the festival. Excursions to Nemrut, Arslantepe, Battalgazi and Levent Valley were among the exciting moments of the festival.
Best international picture: The Load
Yesterday evening, during the closing ceremony, the Jury of the International Competition presented the Best International Film Award to the Serbian-Croatian co-production (co-funded by France, Iran and Qatar) “The Load.” The film depicts the adventure of a truck driver who transports a secret load from Kosovo to Belgrade, during the NATO bombing of Serbia. Writer-director Ognjen Glavonic does not intend to exaggerate the story, which can easily be told in a manipulative manner, creating a remarkable film about the horrors of internal war.
The jury designated the Special Jury Prize to “Aga,” a Bulgarian, German and French co-production. Director Milko Lazarov tells the story of Nannok and Sedna, who live in a yurt in the snow-covered fields of the north, dreaming to unite with their daughter Aga, who had left them and their traditional way of life.
Best Turkish film: Anons
The Jury of the National Competition headed by director Reis Çelik, with actress Şerif Sezer, director of photography Gökhan Tiryaki, film editor Ali Aga and actor Haluk Piyes gave the Best Film (Crystal Apricot) award to “Anons” (The Announcement), a dark comedy on the failed coup attempt in 1963.
The Turkish-Bulgarian co-production also received awards for Best Director (Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun), Best Cinematography (Krumm Rodrigues), Best Art Direction (Osman Özcan), as well as SİYAD (Film Critics Association) and FİLM-YÖN (Film Directors Guild) awards, the latter shared by Murat Düzgünoğlu, director of “Halef.” “Halef,” an original story with mystical tones, was among the best films of the festival, and received the award for Best Actor (Baran Şükrü Babacan), shared with the young protagonist of “Güvercin” (The Pigeon), Kemal Burak Alper.
“Güvercin,” the first feature film by young filmmaker Banu Sıvacı, also received the Special Jury Award, Best Music (Canset Özge Can) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ruhi Sarı). Seven of the 13 competing films were opera prima’s (first films), among which “Borç” (Debt) by another woman director Vuslat Saraçoğlu, received the Best First Film Award. “Aydede” (Road to the Moon), was written and directed by Abdurrahman Öner, who won Best Script. It also received awards for Best Actress (Ezgi Mola), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Banu Fotocan) and Promising Young Actor (Bilal Çelik).
The Audience Prize went to “Çınar,” a first film by Mustafa Karadeniz. The festival also gave prizes in the National and International Short Film Competitions and Development Awards from the Malatya Film Platform. In conclusion, we can say the eighth Malatya International Film Festival has become an important showcase for young filmmakers.