Mourners honor director Akad
Director Ömer Lütfi Akad’s funeral ceremony brought together well-known figures in Turkish cinema. AA photos
Renowned Turkish director Ömer Lütfi Akad, who died Nov. 19 at the age of 95 in Istanbul, was laid to rest Nov. 21 at Levent Cemetery.
Before the funeral, Akad was honored in a ceremony at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ) Cinema Television Center. At the ceremony, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said Akad laid the foundations of Turkish cinema.
“We have seen everything in Turkish cinema through Akad’s works,” Günay said. “Thanks to him, Turkish films have reached high standards and won awards at many international film festivals. It shows that his efforts were worthwhile.”
The minister said that despite all his achievements, Akad moved Turkish cinema forward with great humility. “A huge plane tree fell but his shadow will be kept alive forever in our land.”
Akad was one of the pioneers of the “Director Generation.” He won many awards including the Best Director Award for “Düğün” (Wedding) at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in 1975. He also won the second place for best drama for “Hudutların Kanunu” (The Bandits’ Law) in 1976, second place for best film for “Vesikalı Yarim” (My Licensed Love) in 1974. Akad also received the Ankara International Film Festival Award in 2001 and the Adana Golden Boll Honorary Award in 2009.
“He developed his own art,” cinema critic Atilla Dorsay said. “He first started with detective films and learned all he could about the details of filmmaking. He created the most beautiful love stories in Turkish cinema. He tried everything. We cannot get enough of his movies.”
MSGSÜ Rector Professor Yalçın Karayağız said Akad touched everyone’s lives. “He was my teacher. We were all honored to be touched by him. He made great contributions to Turkish cinema’s success today.”
One of the attendees of the ceremony, actress Hülya Koçyiğit, said Akad was the pioneer of Turkish cinema.
“He produced throughout his life,” Koçyiğit said. “Not only did he make films, he also trained filmmakers. We are all his students. He will be with us forever with his books and films. We made the trio ‘Gelin’ (Bride), ‘Düğün’ (Wedding) and ‘Sacrifice’ (Diyet). All three are very important in the history of Turkish cinema.”
Akad was actor Tarık Akan’s first teacher and director of artist Orhan Gencebay’s first film. He taught Akan about cinema ethics. “We lost a person who achieved great things for Turkish cinema,” Gencebay said.
The “sultan” of Turkish cinema, actress Türkan Şoray said Turkish cinema had suffered a big loss and added that his name would be remembered forever.
After the ceremony at the university, Akad’s body was taken to the Levent Mosque for funeral prayers. His body was buried in Ulus Graveyard.
He also wrote articles on theater and cinema