'Bozkır' sweeps prizes at Antalya film festival

'Bozkır' sweeps prizes at Antalya film festival

Vecdi Sayar-ANTALYA
Bozkır sweeps prizes at Antalya film festival

The 56th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival closed this weekend with the Awards Ceremony. “Bozkır” (Steppe), the first film of Ali Özel, received 10 prizes in nine categories (since one prize is shared between two actors of the film), plus the Special Prize of Film Directors Union (Film Yön) for the Best Director — thus raising the number of prizes to 11. The Best Film and Best First Film Awards were given to the same film, which is clearly against the regulations of the festival. There are rumors that the jury asked the festival direction to change the regulations during the decision process and the fest chief, Ahmet Boyacıoğlu, accepted. The film community criticized this decision, saying that you can’t change rules during the game. The festival direction argues that the final article of the regulation allows the direction to change the rules, but this is not correct. The article only gives the authority to decide, only for the issues that are not clearly stated in the regulations.

“Steppe” tells the story of an old villager who refuses to leave his home, which will be flooded by the construction of a dam. Villagers invite his son to convince the old man to leave the house and carry the tomb of his wife buried in the garden of the house, elsewhere. There is nothing new concerning the themes of confrontation between father and son and the tragedy of villagers forced to leave their homes, but somehow jury members seem overwhelmed by the story and the way the story is told. For the great majority of the festival crowd, this was a boring pic, but jury president Zeki Demirkubuz said they were hugely impressed by the sincerity of the film.

The jury, including writer Latife Tekin, director of photography Emre Erkmen and the actors Şebnem Bozoklu and Mert Fırat, decided to give the awards of Best Director, Best Screenplay (Ali Özel), Best Photography (Ümit Çakmaksoy), Best Music (Hüseyin Özel), Best actor (Mücahit Koçak, shared by Alican Yücesoy of ‘Küçük Şeyler’ (La Belle Indifference), Best Supporting Actor (sharing between two actors of the film, Hakan Emre Ünal and Ozan Dağara) and Best Editing (Ali Özel, Mahmut Aran, Yakup İnanlı) to “Steppe” besides the Best Film and Best First Film Awards. Ali Özel received a total of 430,000 Turkish Liras from the awards of Best Film (250,000), Best First Film (100,000), Best Direction (50,000) and Best Screenplay (30,000).

Best actress Selen Uçer

In my opinion, there were a few films which could be considered for the Best Film Award, “Aşk, Büyü, vs’ (Love, Spells and all that) of Ümit Ünal, “Küçük Şeyler” (La Belle Indifference) of Kıvanç Sezer and “Topal Şükran’ın Maceraları” (The Adventures of Şükran the Lame) of Onur Ünlü. Among them, two films were awarded prizes: Best Actress Award was given to Selen Uçer due to her masterly performance in “Love, Spells and all that.” The Best Actor award was shared by the actor Alican Yücesoy of “La Belle Indifference.” Yücesoy also won the same award at the recent Adana Film Festival. These two films shared the Special Award of the Jury (50,000 TL each), given in the name of Avni Tolunay, the founder of the festival. The award of Film Critics Association (SİYAD) went to “Love, Spells and all that.”

This year, a special prize was created in the name of actress Cahide Sonku, to award an achievement by a woman (in any category). The award was given to Selda Taşkın, editor of two pics, “La Belle Indifference” and “Kronoloji” (Chronology) of Ali Aydın. Another award of “Chronology” was the Best Art Direction Award given to Meral Efe Yurtseven and Yunus Emre Yurtseven. Best Supporting Actress Award was received by Aslı İnandık due to her performance in “Soluk” (Breath) by Özkan Yılmaz. “Bilmemek” (Not Knowing) by the only woman director of the competition received the Audience Award. Four films of the competition were left without any prizes. Among them, Onur Ünlü’s “The Adventures of Topal Şükran” was indeed a masterly crafted piece of black humor, told without any words.

International competition

The International Feature Film Competition included a good selection of 10 pics from 17 countries. The jury presided by Dutch actress Johanna Ter Steege gave the Best Film Award to Japanese film “Aru Sendo No Hanashi” (They Say Nothing Stays The Same) by Joe Odagari. Best Director (Reza Mirkarimi) and Best Actor (Hamed Behdad) awards went to the Iranian film “Ghasr-e Shirin” (Castle of Dreams / Şirin’in Kalesi) and Best Actress Award went to Regina Case from the Brazilian pic “Tres Veroes” (Three Summers).

The award of the Best Short Film in the National Short Film Competition was received by Burcu Aykar for her film “Ablam” (My Sister) and the Special Prize of the Jury by Ozan Yoleri for the film “Aylin.” In the National Documentary Competition, “Kadınlar Ülkesi” (Women’s Country) by Şirin Bahar Demirel was chosen as Best Documentary and “Aether” by Ruken Tekeş as Special Prize of the Jury. The return of the National Competitions in Feature Film, Documentary and Short Film categories was the best gain of this year’s festival. The last two years National Competitions were excluded from the festival program and Antalya’s new mayor Muhittin Böcek – from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) - brought them back, as he promised in his election campaign. In the last two years, the National Competitions were realized in Istanbul –as an independent initiative of Turkish filmmakers. This year a special award ceremony was included in the Antalya program and Golden Oranges of the award winners of 2017 and 2018 competitions were received by the award winners.