Italian capital screens Turkish films at festival

Italian capital screens Turkish films at festival

ROME - Anatolia News Agency
Italian capital screens Turkish films at festival

Actress Nurgül Yeşilçay poses on the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the Turkish Film Festival. AA photo

The second Rome Turkish Film Festival opened on Oct. 19 at a ceremony in the Italian capital. The event is sponsored by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the EU Ministry, and the Turkish Embassy in Rome.

Among the red-carpet guests at the ceremony were directors Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Ferzan Özpetek, actresses Serra Yılmaz and Nurgül Yeşilçay, and actor Ata Demirer.

Ceylan, who won this year’s special prize, received his award from the EU Minister Egemen Bağış and the festival’s honorary chairman Özpetek.

Bağış said Turkish statesmen had ignored some social problems in the past and directors highlighting those problems on the silver screen had thus faced difficulties. “When directors featured social problems in their own films, they used to put up a big wall between them and the state. And there were banned films, banned artists and banned directors in Turkey. Thank God these days have passed. Turkey has begun to make peace with itself as it walks on the way to the EU,” he said.

Yılmaz said the interest in Turkish films had increased in Rome. Referring to the level of Turkey’s cultural expansion, she said “It is not sufficient in the field of cinema because Turkey still does not have a national cinema center. No aid is given to movie theaters. This is why they are closed down. Film producers cannot find a place to show their films because the budget is too low and it is impossible to do more.”

The festival’s humor section, titled “What do Turks laugh at?” will screen Demirer’s film “Eyvah Eyvah.” He said of Rome, “This is a place where we come on holiday, but it is different when you come for your film. I am curious about the reactions of Italian viewers.” When asked about his new projects, Demirer said that he wanted to make a new film next summer and had some projects on his mind.

“We have very good directors and Özpetek is a well-known person in Italy. Thanks to him, Turkish films draw the interest of Italians,” said Yeşilçay, who drew the greatest interest on the red carpet.

The festival opened with a screening of Ceylan’s “Üç Maymun” (Three Monkeys), and will end on Oct. 21.