İzmir Film Fest kicks off again after 11- year hiatus

İzmir Film Fest kicks off again after 11- year hiatus

İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency
İzmir Film Fest kicks off again after 11- year hiatus

Turkish actress Çolpan İlhan (Middle) received a ‘Life Time Honor Award’ during the opening of the festival. İlhan posed with Culture Minister, Ertuğrul Günay (L) and director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Rigth).

The İzmir Film Festival, which was held annually between 1989 and 2000, opened anew on April 22, with the attendance of Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay and the support of Dokuz Eylül University and the İzmir Municipality.

Speaking during the festival’s opening ceremony at the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Arts and Cultural Center, Günay said he was very pleased İzmir had revived its cinema festival after 11 years. Güney came to the festival fresh from the Turkish-Arab Tourism meeting in Bursa, and asked for support for İzmir’s nomination for the organization’s Expo 2020. Günay said the cinema industry was always developing in Turkey, and cities such as Adana, Antalya and Malatya were developing vital film scenes.

This year’s İzmir Film Festival will include 103 movies. The opening featured a rare classic of the early cinema, Georges Melies silent 1902 film “The Journey to the Moon,” the first time the film had ever been officially screened in Turkey. The festival will continue until April 28. Its short-term goals are to bring cinema to citizens and university students on a common platform, boost the international promotion of Izmir, launch feature-length and short film competitions and highlight new names and perspectives in the field of cinema.

The festival’s longer-term goal is to ensure its own sustainability, transforming into a trademark event associated with the city and the university. The festival’s organizers hope to increase the visibility of Izmir in the local and international press, laying the groundwork for the possible opening of Eurimages theatres in the city and broadening the horizons of film and art enthusiasts in Izmir. After a pause of eleven years, the re-launching of a film festival of international scope is a significant undertaking not only in terms of catering to the necessities of such an event, but also with regard to the continuation of the cultural missions of İzmir, according to the festival organizers.

In the long run, the festival will endeavor to reach out to the surrounding area and to address the Aegean region as a whole. It will contribute to developing its host city as a cultural nexus in the region, and to forging ties of exchange and cooperation, via film activities, workshops and other cultural and artistic collaborations, with neighboring nations, Mediterranean countries, sister cities and sister universities as well as other countries across the globe.

Ten Turkish movies from the past year will be shown at the festival, including “Aşk ile Devrim” (Love and Revolution), “Bu Son Olsun” (This Will be the Last), “Eylül” (September), “Geriye Kalan” (The Rest), “İz” (Trace), “Labirent” (Labyrinth), “Nar” (Pomegranate) and “Oğul” (Son). The films will compete for the festival’s Golden Simurg award.

Seeing that the festival’s opening was very crowded, Günay said: “I can see many people tonight at the festival, although many people from the private sector are missing. However, even though there many people missing, this scene tells me that we can do a great deal together in İzmir.”

Günay said that in 2002 only three or four movies were made by the Turkish cinema industry, and today this figure has increased to 50 movies per year, with 20 million viewers. Günay also praised director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who was present at the opening, and mentioned his success in the international arena.

Honor Awards go to İlhan and Ferris
Nuri Bilge Ceylan presented the festival’s Honor Award, to Turkish actress Çolpan İlhan. After receiving her award, İlhan said a national cinema industry becomes an international industry via international film festivals. “I feel more excited as I get older,” she said. Another Honor Award went to Greek director Costas Ferris. Ferris accepted his award from İzmir mayor Cahit Kıraç. Ferris said Turkey was a very special country that has hosted many different civilizations: “The most important thing is human beings. The most valuable thing should be people and spirit, and this will lead to peace and love.” The Academy Honor Award went to Professor Oktay Kutluğ.

The festival will also host Ceylan’s photography competition “Cinemascope Turkey.” Ceylan, who achieved international success with his latest film “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia,” will screen three movies at the festival. He will also attend workshops on April 23 organized by the French Cultural Center. Speaking to journalists, Ceylan said festivals were very important for cities and their development. Film festivals especially play an important role for young people, helping them to decide their path sooner, he said. “We hope this festival will continue for many years without stopping.”

Meanwhile, the debate over regulations for Istanbul’s City Theaters continues, and Günay commented on the issue at the festival. “Artists will manage the theaters, like we see in every area of art. This issue has been debated since the Tanzimat period.