56th Antalya Film Festival: Back to the origins
VECDİ SAYAR - Antalya
The 56th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival started on Oct. 26 with the traditional cortege and the opening night at the Sports Hall. Actors and actresses of cinema and TV greeted the public during the three hours, while the cortege with old cars drifted along the streets of Antalya.
There was an amazing crowd on the streets waving hands to greet the artists. This was a scene that cannot be seen at any film festival around the world. This year’s huge interest was probably due to the return of the National Competition to the festival.
The opening ceremony also underlined the return of the festival to the origins, through a homage to the famous star of Turkish Cinema, Türkan Şoray and the honorary awards given to three veteran artists. The mayor of Antalya Metropolitan City, Muhittin Böcek, emphasized the importance of cinema in his own life, saying that he realized open air film screenings during his youth.
Antalya Sports Hall with a capacity of 10,000 seats was completely full at this opening ceremony, and Şoray was in tears when she saw the standing ovation. She received the first Best Actress Award of the festival 56 years ago, with “Acı Hayat” (Bitter Life).
Şoray’s picture taken from this film appears on the poster of this year’s festival. Şoray said, “Art of film is the common value of humanity. It is a miracle, and it touches the lives of people.” She also mentioned the valuable work of the new generation of filmmakers.
Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy also gave a short speech where he mentioned the developments of the Turkish film industry and the new incentives created by the new cinema law.
The two Honorary Awards went to Selma Güneri. Ahmet Mekin. Güneri was the youngest film star who received the Best Actress award, at the age of 15, with “Son Kuşlar” (The Last Birds). Mekin, the famous actor of the emblematic films “Bir Türke Gönül Verdim” (I Loved a Turk), “Düğün” (Wedding) and “Al Yazmalım” (Red Scarf), underlined the importance of the Antalya Festival and devoted his award to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Güneri emphasized the role of Yeşilçam in the history of Turkish cinema and also praised Atatürk for his achievements. The mentioning of Atatürk’s name by both actors created a thunder of applause at the Sports Hall.
The third prize at the ceremony was Yıldırım Önal Memorial Award given to veteran actor Can Kolukısa. While he took the award from the hands of his son, journalist-actor Emrah Kolukısa, he said this was the greatest honor of his lifetime.
Ten nominees for the Golden Orange
In the first day of the festival, organizers declared that most of the screenings are sold out. The distinctive support of the audience show that film fans of Antalya are happy about the “return to the origins” of the festival.
The name of the festival was changed to “Antalya International Film Festival” during the period of Mayor Menderes Türel, while “Golden Orange” was kept as the name of the award. Also, the emblematic statue of the festival was changed. Now, Antalya regains the old statue as well as the traditional title.
National Feature Film Competition, as well as National Documentary and National Short Film Competitions, which were excluded from the program in the last two festivals, now constitute the major sections of the festival.
Ten features,10 documentaries and 15 shorts will compete for the National Golden Orange awards and 10 films for the International Feature Film Competition.
Other sections include World Cinema, Special Screenings and Golden Orange for Children. Overall, 66 films will be shown during the festival, including 34 features, 10 docs, 15 short films and seven shorts for children.
Most films in the national and international competitions are either first or second films, thus giving a panorama of young cinema. Among the 10 competitors in the national section, there are two well-known directors: Ümit Ünal who received many festival awards previously, now competes with his new title, “Aşk Büyü v.s.” (Love, Spells and all that). Onur Ünlü, also winner of many awards at the national festivals, is competing with his new film, “Topal Şükran’ın Maceraları” (The Adventures of Şükran the Lame).
The directors competing with their second features are Ali Aydın, director of “Küf,” competing with “Kronoloji” (Chronology), Kıvanç Sezer, director of “Babamın Kanatları” (My Father’s Wings), competing with “Küçük Şeyler” (La Belle Indifference), Faysal Soysal, director of “Üç Yol,” competing with “Ceviz Ağacı” (Walnut Tree) and Leyla Yılmaz, director of “Bir Avuç Deniz” (A Handful of Sea), competing with “Bilmemek” (Not Knowing).
Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadır Er are competing with their third feature “Omar ve Biz” (Omar and Us).
Others will compete with their first features: Orçun Behram with “Bina” (The Antenna), Ali Özel with “Bozkır” (Steppe) and Özkan Yılmaz with “Soluk” (Breath).
The awards will be given by the jury composed of President Zeki Demirkubuz, Director of Photography Emre Erkmen, writer Latife Tekin and actors Mert Fırat and Şebnem Bozoklu at the closing night on Nov. 1.