Antalya Film Festival opens

Antalya Film Festival opens

Antalya Film Festival opens

US actress Juliette Lewis received the 'cinema city key' from Menderes Türel.

The 54th International Antalya Film Festival, organized by the Antalya Municipality, opened on Oct. 22 in the southern province of Antalya with the presentation of the Honorary Awards.

In the opening ceremony, well-known U.S. actors Juliette Lewis and Christopher Walken as well as sector representatives, Culture and Tourism Ministry bureaucrats and cinema lovers were among the guests.

Delivering the opening speech, the mayor of Antalya and the festival president, Menderes Türel, said the festival turned 54 this year amid great excitement with its traditional cortege, honorary awards, the film competition, the Film Forum, programs for kids and the youth, cinema and culinary events.

Throughout the festival’s history, the traditional cortege drew the most interest, Türel said, thanking the city’s locals.

Stating that the sector was provided support with the Antalya Film Forum, organized as part of the festival, Türel said it is very important to carry the festival to “the league of champions.”

He said the Antalya Film Forum was a brand new page and a big project in the history of Turkish cinema, adding that this year 205 projects were delivered to the forum and 48 went on to the finals.

“We give the biggest financial support to the projects in the forum. Nearly 30 film festivals are organized in Turkey. We have various thematic festivals except the ones in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Adana and Eskişehir. This is why we decided to strengthen the international dimension of our festival. We think Turkey deserves a respected and strong international festival. As you know, the world’s most important festivals like Berlin and Cannes have only one competition. As the Antalya Film Festival, we will be stronger in the international scene,” he said.

“I thank all filmmakers, artists, committees, jury members, art consultants, artistic director and the head of Antalya Film Forum, Zeynep Atakan, who will support us on this way,” Türel added.

A panorama of films, including productions by world-famous directors as well as ones screened in the Cannes, Berlin and Venice festivals, will be presented, Mike Downey, the artistic director of the festival, said.

Three out of the 10 competition films in the festival are from Turkey, Downey added.

“These films make their world premieres in Antalya. The International Antalya Film Festival honors the great masters of Turkish cinema while including the new filmmakers in its selection. It also includes the best examples from the contemporary Turkish cinema and gives them the opportunity to compete with the best of the world cinema,” he said.

Atakan said the forum turned four this year, and its support to Turkish cinema was growing every year.

“Starting with the idea to discover and develop Turkish films that are good enough to be watched all over the world at an early stage, the Antalya Film Forum has become one of the powers behind the films that gained success over the last three years. This year, 48 projects will meet 150 sector professionals,” she said.

Honorary Awards

The Honorary Awards of the festival were presented during the night to director, producer and screenwriter Osman Sınav, actresses Suzan Avcı and Necla Nazır, machinist and technical director Erkan Aktaş and the American actor Christopher Walken.

Avcı, a retired veteran actress, said she devoted 55 years of her life to cinema and acted in 367 films, while Nazır dedicated her award to the memory of those who lost their lives in the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and their families.

When receiving his award, Walken said, “With my wife, we want to come back here for this beautiful hospitality, clean air, friendly people and good foods.”

The “cinema city key,” which is a copy of Antalya’s historic Kalekapısı and presented for the first time in the festival, was received by Lewis from Türel.

Aida Begic’s “Never Leave Me,” featuring the tragedy in Syria and refugee children, was promoted at the opening of the festival. Director Begic and eight refugee children in the film were invited to the stage.
Begic said the film will make its world premiere in Antalya.

“This is the world premiere and I want to say something radical: I believe that people can live together even though they are different and speak different languages. We speak different languages but we love each other too much,” Begic said.

10 films in the competition

Those who lost their lives since the end of last year’s festival, including veteran artists like Melih Gülgen, Halit Akçatepe, Fikret Hakan, Erdal Tosun, Ayberk Atilla, Engin Cezzar, Payidar Tüfekçioğlu, Vatansever Şaşmaz and Sezer Sezgin, were commemorated in the opening, too.

In the festival, which will continue through Oct. 27, more than 30 films will be shown at the Glass Pyramid Open Air Movie Theater and five other venues. Also, 10 films on the refugee crisis, injustice, love in youth and creativity will compete in the festival.