Independent films comes to three Turkish cities
Big EyesThe 14th !f International Independent Film Festival will bring together the year’s most anticipated films in Istanbul between Feb. 12 and 22, followed by Ankara and İzmir from Feb. 26 to March 1.
Presented in partnership with İş Bankası Maximum Card and in association with the Mars Cinema Group, !f Istanbul will treat audiences to the year’s best independent cinema with some of the world’s best films from over the past year, provide a fresh alternative to Istanbul’s entertainment and nightlife with!f Music Parties, and take film screenings to more than 30 different cities across Turkey, as well as Nicosia, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gyumri and Yerevan with its !f² project.
The event will host galas for the films most celebrated at the world’s major festivals, including Toronto, Venice, Cannes and Sundance, including “Love is Strange,” a French-American drama directed by Ira Sachs; “Eden,” by French director Mia Hansen-Love, a story which follows the rise and fall of the French DJ Paul, one of the founders of electronic music movement; Iran’s first vampire film, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” directed by Ana Lily Amipour and “Tusk,” a comedy horror film that was written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Johnny Depp.
The festival will open with Tim Burton’s acclaimed latest hit, “Big Eyes,” starring Amy Adams and Christopher Waltz.
Other films in this category include some of the most anticipated films of the year, including “Birdman” and “The Look of Silence.” Gathering followers from films including “Amores Perros,” “21 Grams,” “Babel” and “Biutiful,” director Alejandro Gonzalez’s “Birdman” has received critical acclaim and was named one of the best films of 2014.
“The Look of Silence” is a Danish documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and produced by Werner Herzog. It won five awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in 2014.
Consisting of films from Turkey and neighboring countries, the Home section will bring together recent films from Turkey and puts a spotlight on independent films from neighboring countries. Two of the films include “Iranian,” a documentary by Paris-based Iranian filmmaker Mehran Tamadon, who invited four supporters of the Islamic regime to live with him and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a secular society, including the veil, abortion and freedom of the press, as well as “Immortal Tree: Documentary of Yırca Resistance,” which looks at the plight of Turkish villagers resisting the expropriation of their olive groves for the construction of a power plant.
!f Competitions: Be Inspired, and Love & Change
!f is running two film competitions; !f Inspired and Love & Change. !f Inspired brings together leading names in new world cinema and recognizes emerging directors with a $15,000 cash prize.
Last year !f launched the Love & Change Competition, designed to showcase filmmakers whose work signifies compelling new avenues in directing and activism. It will host directors who have succeeded in changing the world with their cameras and celebrate the year’s most creative intervention. The aim is to respond to a global social change impulse by creating a brand-new platform that marries activism and filmmaking.
This year, a jury comprised of the acclaimed Armenian-Canadian actress Arsinée Khanjian, Turkish activist Pınar Selek and Danish producer Marie Oleson will select the recipient of the $10,000 prize.
!f will also see the return of long-standing favorites such as !f Music, which brings music to cinema and cinema to the stage while energizing Istanbul’s nightlife with parties; the Rainbow section themed around LGBTQ films; Shorts from Turkey, comprised of local short film favorites; and !f² which will enable digital screenings of festival films in more than 30 different cities.
The festival will also run a day-long program of dialogue with Turkish and Armenian artists and filmmakers. It will screen a painstakingly restored copy of a 1968 classic, Sergei Parajanov’s “Color of Pomegranates,” a biography of the 18th-century Armenian poet-monk Sayat Nova. An inspiration to a range of contemporary artists from Martin Scorsese to Madonna, the film forges a unique visual language and is a work of great beauty.
A full program of talks and workshops, including with video activist organization WITNESS, the iconic American duo the Yes Men, as well as visiting filmmakers, will run at SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata.