Kundura Cinema unveils wonder of Istanbul
A landmark of Turkey’s industrial and cultural heritage, Beykoz Kundura revives a cinematic legacy with the launch of Kundura Cinema on Nov. 17, supported by a program of curated screenings and parallel activities.
Established in the early 1800s as a leather factory and then redeveloped as a shoe factory in 1933, Beykoz Kundura has played a crucial role in the industrialization programs of both the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.
With over 200 years of uninterrupted industrial production, it has come to represent a unique example of Turkey’s industrial and cultural heritage.
In its heyday, Beykoz Kundura held regular film screenings and the factory’s cinema program provided an important cultural experience to the daily lives of its workers.
Now, the factory’s “Boiler Room,” which forms the heart of the building complex, has been restored for the Kundura Cinema project to serve as one of the newest and yet most historic cultural platforms in Istanbul.
Following Beykoz Kundura Film Days, which included special screenings titled Restored Film Days, Nightmares Under Snow and A Midsummer’s Night Cinema, Kundura Cinema now invites audiences to an alternative cinema experience, offering a unique thematic screening and event program and a new destination for culture in the city.
Kundura Cinema’s first annual film selection will focus on films traveling around cities, taking audiences on a journey to all corners of the world, from the first modern cities to the present, from huge metropolises to dystopian cities of the future, from New York to Paris, from Berlin to Mexico and from Tokyo to Istanbul.
The program will include masterpieces never previously screened in Turkey, with titles selected from diverse cinematic genres ranging from narrative to experimental, drama to comedy and film noir to science fiction, investigating the soul, rhythm and light of cities and the people that inhabit them.
Renamed after privatization
After privatization in 2005, the facility was owned by Yıldırım Holding and named Beykoz Kundura.
In the 12 years that followed, due to its well-preserved historical setting, the site has served as a film set and as a host to events and gatherings.
The Boiler Room restoration project is being delivered by Beykoz Kundura’s local architecture team in collaboration with Dutch firms Theateradvies and TenBras in an advisory capacity.
In addition to Kundura Cinema, the Boiler Room project will also include Kundura Stage, due to open in late 2019. Another project run by Yıldırım Holding within Beykoz Kundura is Kundura Memory. It includes an Oral History Project, aiming to celebrate and support the cultural heritage of the factory, transforming the site into a unique cultural destination in Istanbul.
“This old shoe factory has turned into a factory of story and film and has become an important center of creative economy,” said Arts and Culture Director Buse Yıldırım.
“In Turkey, Kundura Cinema is the first example of an industrial cultural heritage that has turned into a cinema theater. Our aim is to present a selection of films from different genres, times and countries and to inspire dialogue as well as showing the constant change in cinematic storytelling and esthetics,” said Yıldırım.
“Parallel to the launch of the cinema, we are continuously working on the Kundura Memory project and will open it to the public very soon. Kundura Memory will always keep evolving because it is crucially important for us to preserve the cultural heritage of this factory for future generations,” she said.
In November to December, Kundura Cinema will screen films including Billy Wilder’s “Apartment,” Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” and “Traffic,” Jules Dassin’s “Night and the City” and “The Naked City” and Walter Ruttmann’s “Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.”