Festival on Wheels to hit the road for the 22nd time in Turkey
Emrah GülerIt’s that time of the year again, when one of Turkey’s oldest film festivals, the Festival on Wheels, gets ready to take on the road for two weeks. The festival will kick off in Ankara on Nov. 25, staying in the capital for a week before traveling to Eskişehir from Dec. 2 to 4 and ending its journey in the northern province of Kastamonu, staying there from Dec. 5 to 7.
Running its 22nd edition and organized by Ankara Cinema Association, the Festival on Wheels once again will screen latest award-winners in its “World Cinema” and “Turkey 2016” sections. Two of the highlights of World Cinema will be Maren Ade’s film sensation of the year, “Toni Erdmann,” the winner of the 2016 Fipresci Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and Germany’s official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar, and Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson”, his take on a bus driver named Paterson in the city of Paterson, New Jersey.
The “Turkey 2016” section will screen debut features from Mehmet Can Mertoğlu’s “Albüm” (Album), an absurdist take on a couple adopting a baby, and Kıvanç Sezer’s “Babamın Kanatları” (My Father’s Wings), a realistic look at employer-worker relations and perilous working conditions. Having made its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, the co-directors Soner Caner and Barış Kaya of “Rauf” will also meet audiences in this section.
The “Turkey 2016” section will also feature latest films from veteran filmmakers. Zeki Demirkubuz’s “Kor” (Ember) will continue its festival circuit with a new cut following its recent screening at Toronto Film Festival, and having been nominated in three categories at the Asia Pacific Awards. Another title in the Turkey 2016 line up is Reha Erdem’s recent award-winner, “Big Big World” (Koca Dünya). The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize.
Erdem will also curate a special section at the festival, a selection of five films from the Golden Age of Cinema. “The Golden Age of Cinema with Reha Erdem” will feature William Wyler’s “Children’s Hour” (1961), Ingmar Bergman’s “The Silence” (1963), William Wellman’s “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), Robert Bresson’s “Pickpocket” (1959) and “Stromboli” (1950) by Roberto Rossellini. As Erdem puts it himself, “This selection is born of a wish to remind audiences of the inspiring skill, the incomparable pleasure and thrill of excitement we had from films.”
Journey into annals of cinema
The festival audience will further be taken into the annals of cinema with the “Silence is Golden: Buster Keaton” section. One of the most eminent names in silent film, four shorts by Keaton will be screened along with live music, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his death: “One Week” (1920), “The Goat” (1921), “The Playhouse” (1921) and “Cops” (1922). While his films continue to stay topical, his acrobatic stunts will impress the audience five decades later.
Acclaimed mediator and peacemaker Padraig O’Malley will be in Ankara to meet the audience following the screening of James Demo’s documentary “The Peacemaker”, a look into the life of O’Malley, who has attended peace talks in a variety of countries such as Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Nigeria. He will share his views on Turkey and the Middle East with the audience on Nov. 27, an event co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the European Union’s civil society program, “Sivil Düşün” (Think Civil).
One of the highlights of the 20th Festival on Wheels was the “Scenes from the Ottoman Empire” section, bringing to light material from various archives filmed on Ottoman territories by different filmmakers between the years 1896 and 1922. This year, the second installment will meet the audience, featuring films made between the years 1918 and 1926, on the Gallipoli Campaign, forced migrations and tourist destinations.
Sponsored by the Dutch Embassy and in collaboration with the Netherlands-based EYE Film Institute, the screening of “Scenes from the Ottoman Empire II” will be accompanied by Çiğdem Borucu’s piano and commentary by Nezih Erdoğan, an academic specializing in the early years of Turkish cinema.
Festival on Wheels will continue this year again to bring contemporary art to film audiences. The festival-goers can visit guest artist Zeyno Pekünlü’s exhibition “Masculinities from Yesilçam to YouTube”, consisting mostly of her video work at Ankara’s hip contemporary art venue SALT Ulus. You can also join a Q&A session following the screening of her video work on Nov. 26, and the Digital Storytelling Workshop held by Pekünlü on Nov. 27.
Visit http://ankarasinemadernegi.org/en/ for more information on the 22nd Festival on Wheels.