Turkish filmmakers call for Antalya film fest committee
ISTANBULIn a press conference on June 19, Antalya Mayor Menderes Türel announced that they have decided to merge the national and international contest categories in the Antalya International Film Festival, which will be held between Oct. 21 and 27 this year.
“By combining the national and international contests we will have a stronger program. Thus, we will show greater support to the globalization of Turkish cinema. Today, there are almost 30 national film festivals in Turkey. But we aim to bring in the global identity that Antalya deserves,” he said.
Criticizing this decision as a “historical mistake” and asking the festival committee to reverse it, various Turkish cinema associations and organizations made a joint press announcement on June 31 and said the Antalya Film Festival has been a tradition, organization and memory of the Turkish cinema sector for 53 years.
“At a time that the festival has reached a level where it can contribute more to our cinema, such a wrong decision has both surprised and offended the Turkish film industry,” the statement said.
“Has Turkish cinema been a handicap in preventing the festival from having a global identity for the last 53 years? No. With this festival, all of Turkey has felt the pulse of our cinema. All of the talents from our cinema have premiered their films at this festival. Our stars have shined at this festival. With the removal of the national competition, an important channel for our film industry will also be removed. The approach that ‘the national and international competitions have been combined’ does not reflect the truth. National films have already been shown in the international contest of the festival so far, too. The long and short of it, the 53-year national contest was removed and with this removal, the projects, which are supported by the Antalya Film Forum, will have no chance to meet the audience. This is also an opposite attitude to the decision that was taken during the Third National Culture Meeting, held in March 2017, which is related to the encouragement of the production and presentation of our national and local culture products,” said the statement.
Palestinian director to head jury
In the meantime, the festival’s artistic director Mike Downey has announced that Elia Suleiman, a Palestinian film director who is among the world’s most renowned directors and who has won awards at various European festivals, has become the jury president of the festival this year.
Born in Nazareth in 1960, Suleiman, who has expressed the absurdity of war and the carelessness of humankind in his movies, has a unique style of blending tragedy with comedy. Aside from being a producer, he is also recognized with his academic contributions to cinema and social service projects.
Suleiman has participated as a jury member in numerous festivals. He has also been given tributes at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Istanbul Film Festival and the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival in Portugal.
His latest feature film “The Time That Remains” was in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. In 2012, he completed a short film titled “Diary of a Beginner,” part of a collective feature titled “7 Days in Havana.” The film was in the official selection of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.