October, a season for film festivals
The new film season started in the southern province of Adana with the 25th Adana International Film Festival on the last week of September and continued with the 56th Antalya International Film Festival on the first week of October.
“Filmekimi” (Film October) has been one of the main cinematographic events for 17 years. The best films of the year, films awarded at Cannes, Venice and Berlin, are screened every year to full house spectators. They are mostly premieres of the films which will come to our cinemas during the year. This year’s program included important films such as “Burning,” “Shoplifters,” “Cold War,” Dogman,” Girl,” “Ash is Purest White,” “Kefernahum,” “The Summer,” “The Favorite” and others.
Filmekimi will repeat some of its programs in two cities after Istanbul this year. The program in Ankara continues until Oct. 16 and the program in the Aegean province of İzmir will take place between Oct. 19 and 23.
Since Antalya decided not to realize the National Competition last year, Turkish filmmakers created their own National Competition. This year, the event took place in Istanbul on the same dates of the Antalya Festival.
Seven films competed, with “Yol Kenarı” (Sideway) by Tayfun Pirselimoğlu winning the Best Film award besides the Best Actor award, which was presented to Tansu Biçer. Mehmet Ali Konar of “Renksiz Rüya” (Colorless Dream), the winner of Ankara Film Festival, received the Best Director award, while “Sibel,” winner of Adana Festival, won the Best Script and Best Actress (Damla Sönmez) awards.
A festival is born
Last week, we witnessed the birth of a new festival: Başka Sinema Ayvalık Film Festival. Supported by Kariyo & Ababay Foundation and “Kültür için Alan,” Başka Sinema, a distribution network for arthouse cinemas, organized a non-competitive festival in Ayvalık, one of the most beautiful towns on the Aegean coast.
The festival, curated by Azize Tan, a former director of the Istanbul Film Festival, had many foreign pics in common with Filmekimi, but also included some international movies such as “Los Olvidados,” “On the Waterfront,” “Zorba the Greek” and Merlyn Solakhan’s “Tekerleme” (Tongue Twister), as well as most of the best Turkish films of the year, including Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Ahlat Ağacı” (The Wild Peer Tree), which received the only award of the festival - the Director of the Year award. It also included “Sibel,” “Anons” (The Announcement), Güvercin” (Pigeon) “Yol Kenarı” and “Halef” (Successor). Perhaps, the only missing one was “Kelebekler.”
The first Ayvalık Fest was very well organized and had an interesting program including panel discussions, a workshop for children, workshops with university students and open-air screenings. The participation rate of filmmakers and the attendance of the screenings exceeded expectations.
There was one international guest: German documentary filmmaker Rüdiger Süchsland who presented his film “Hitler’s Hollywood.” We can expect more international guests in the coming years, since Ayvalık is a perfect venue for a festival.
Accessible festival and others
An important festival, taking place for the sixth time, is Engelsiz Filmler Festivali (Accessible Festival). It has also become one of the important events of October, moving from its original date of May.
The festival, whose main supporter is Open Society Foundation, takes place in three cities: Istanbul, Eskişehir and Ankara from Oct. 17 to 21. The program includes different sections such as Competition Without Barriers and Virtual Reality: The Lives of Others, Autism at the Festival.
Another festival in its sixth year is the Bosphorus International Film Festival, which will take place between Oct. 26 and Nov. 3 in Istanbul. It is a competitive event supported by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
In recent years, film festivals flourished in different cities of Anatolia. The Gaziantep Zeugma Film Festival, organized by the Kırkayak Culture, Art and Nature Foundation is in its seventh year and will take place between Oct. 24 and 28. Films from Europe and the Middle East will be shown in the event, besides new Turkish features and documentaries. A tribute to Ingmar Bergman is also included in the program.
Last but not least, two important short film festivals were also scheduled for October. The 4th Marmaris International Short Film Festival has already finished, taking place between Oct. 9 and 14, and 19th İzmir International Short Film Festival is set to take place Oct. 30 – Nov. 4.
The festival season will continue in November with the Eskişehir International Film Festival, which moved from May/June to November this year and the Malatya International Film Festival. The festivals will be a good reason to visit these beautiful cities.
The Bozcaada International Ecological Documentary Film Festival was realized last week, while the Kısakes International Short Film Festival started on Oct. 12 and will continue until Oct. 17.