!f Istanbul continues to inspire with !f Events

!f Istanbul continues to inspire with !f Events

Emrah Güler ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
f Istanbul continues to inspire with f Events

Benim Çocuğum / My Child : The story of a courageous form of resistance against homophobia and transphobia.

Activism, creating change, participation in change and taking a strong stand against injustice have always been major themes in the selection of the !f International Independent Film Festival, or !f Istanbul, as well as its inspiring events. Sections like Fix the World and the Opening, hoping to be part of a solution to the long-standing Kurdish conflict in southeast Turkey, in the past, and the recurring section of Rainbow Films are some examples.

There is always more to !f Istanbul’s program with !f Events that take the magical world of cinema to the next level. This year, !f Istanbul is offering you a chance to become an activist, or an Activ!st, at Feb. 20’s “Workshop and a Journey: An Activist’s Campaign Guide Book.” The workshop invites participants to investigate what irritates them the most, and later launch a campaign with the world’s biggest petition platform, Change.org.

The workshop, to be held at 3 p.m. at SALT Beyoğlu, will be led by Uygar Özesmi, Change.org director and civil society activist and former director of TEMA Foundation and Greenpeace. He will lead the participants on a journey of “change from individual to society” and share with them the basics of online activism and campaigning. Özesmi will begin the three hours of the activist’s journey with a free-flowing look into things that make you crazy.

Then the participants will look into what they want to change about these things, why and pinpoint people who have the power to change. The road map will help participants to transform individual urges into mechanisms of social change through Change.org and social media. Smartphones, tablets and laptops will be welcome additions for blooming activists in their journey.

!f Istanbul travels to 31 cities with !f²

One of the highlights of this year’s !f Istanbul is a groundbreaking feature documentary from Turkish documentary director and academic Can Candan, who is also the founder of docIstanbul, Center for Documentary Studies. “Benim Çocuğum” (My Child) moves its camera around five homes in Turkey, as families tell their stories of raising their children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The stories are of denial, shame, despair and of acceptance and rebirth. “A mother talks about her anxiety that her child will come to harm, while another remembers the first bras she bought for her transsexual child. ‘Is it given by God?’ a grandmother asks, ready to accept God’s word,” the festival catalog wrote about “Benim Çocuğum.”

The film is about love, acceptance and the most touching form of resistance in a society where homophobia and transphobia are the norm. LİSTAG, or the LGBT Families Istanbul Group, is the force behind the production of “Benim Çocuğum.” !f Istanbul will bring together these families in “An initiative: LİSTAG” Feb. 22 at SALT Beyoğlu at 3 p.m. where they will share their experiences, emotions and how they dealt with the coming out of their children with the audience.

“Benim Çocuğum” will also be one of the five films included in !f Istanbul’s pioneering film distribution project, “!f²: Istanbul Live,” connecting film enthusiasts in 31 cities across Turkey and neighboring countries. In its fourth year and in collaboration with MUBI, the online cinematheque with 1 billion members, !f ² will take the festival to non-festival venues in the last three days of the festival.

!f Istanbul partners with universities, unions, women’s groups and other NGOs in selected cities where each partner provides a screening venue. MUBI, then, allows partners to access the selected films online with high resolution and quality at the set time. Following the screening, the connection is kept as audiences in 31 cities have a chance to become part of the Q&A sessions with directors and producers in Istanbul.

This year’s cities range from the western town of Ayvalık to southeastern Batman and the northern city of Samsun, as well as Gyumri and Yerevan in Armenia; Jerusalem, Israel; Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories; and Nicosia in Cyprus. Other films to be screened in this section will be Brian Knappenberger’s inside look into the hacking activist group Anonymous in “We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists,” Sarah Polley’s personal film about her family, “Stories We Tell,” Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s haunting look at child soldiers in “War Witch,” and “The Act of Killing,” the chilling documentary challenging former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact real-life mass killings.

Cocktail party held for Carax

İstanbul - Hürriyet Daily News

Celebrities gathered Feb. 15 at a cocktail party organized by the French ambassador to Turkey, Laurent Bili, on the occasion of the arrival of Leos Carax, a French film director, critic and writer to the !f Istanbul film festival. Bili welcomed his guests on a night when the importance of the independent film festival and power of art was underlined. Carax, after a 13-year break, has come back to the festival with his film “Holy Motors.” Turkish actresses Serra Yılmaz and Meltem Cumbul were among the guests at the cocktail party, held at Palais de France in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. “It seems like we’re having a quite successful festival. All the tickets for gala movies and many others are already sold out,” Serra Ciliv, the director of the festival, said. Joe Swanberg, co-writer and director of one of the festival movies, “All the light in the sky,” also attended the event. “I’m glad to be in Istanbul, even for a few days. I came to attend the gala of my film,” he said. The cocktail party started at 7 p.m. and ended around 9 p.m.