New documentary honors Turkish writers, their works

New documentary honors Turkish writers, their works

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
New documentary honors Turkish writers, their works

Authors Yaşar Kemal (R) and Murathan Mungan are seen at a press conference held to reveal the new documentary film ‘Human Portraits – Six Authors from Turkey,’ detailing the life stories of authors and filmed over 20 years. AA photo

A new documentary film featuring the life stories and works of six Turkish authors was revealed at a press conference Oct. 16 at the German Embassy’s historical summer residence in Istanbul’s Tarabya neighborhood.

The documentary “İnsan Manzaraları – Türkiye’den Altı Yazar” (Human Portraits – Six Authors from Turkey) will detail the lives of Nazım Hikmet, Yaşar Kemal, Orhan Pamuk, Murathan Mungan, Elif Şafak and Aslı Erdoğan and will be aired on the state-owned channel TRT-Türk.

At the press conference German Ambassador to Ankara Eberhard Pohl stressed the importance of literature in the relations of the two countries. “Authors like Pamuk, Zülfü Livaneli and Kemal have introduced Turkish people in Europe with their all angles,” Pohl said.

Finished in 20 years

The documentary film successfully combined both the Turkish and German perspectives of the authors it features, Pohl said, adding that the documentary is an exciting film.
According to the documentary’s writer and director Osman Okkan, crews began to shoot the first episode of the film, which will be a portrait of Hikmet, in 1992, finishing the six writer portraits over the course of the following 20 years.

The documentary has so far been broadcast on European television channels like WDR and ARTE, as well as discussed in schools as a part of literature lessons and seminars, Okkan said.

Turkish universities requested the film be made available to them after it was announced that the film would be aired by TRT Türk. “These films never replace books, novels and poetries. But people, who have interest in literature, already know these authors. What is important is to be able to draw people who have never been interested in these authors into their world and work,” Okkan said.

Joining Okkan and Pohl at the press conference were authors Kemal, Mungan, Nazlı Eray, literary critic and daily Hürriyet media consultant Doğan Hızlan, photography artist Ara Güler, German WDRE channel’s redactor Birgit Keller-Reddemann, TRT Türk General Director Ümit Sezgin and many other influential people from the world of literature.

Mungan, Keller-Reddemann, Sezgin and Okkan held talks with audience as part of the press conference.

Hızlan said authors should get in touch with readers not only through books but also through visual materials, and that Okkan had succeeded with this task in his documentary film.
“If I knew then what I know now, I would have written and lived with a nickname without showing my face,” author Mungan said. “Currently, the most important thing I need is to get an anonymous identity and to be invisible.”

Culture draws more interest than news

TR-Türk General Director Sezgin said that their channel had a broadcasting policy that focused on news and culture and that they determined that culture programs drew more interest than the news programs.

“Viewers are unwilling to watch the news programs, but there is a need for serious cultural broadcasting,” he said.

As for author Kemal, Sezgin said, “If there are 10 documentary films on him, I will broadcast all 10 of them.”

There are plans to show the documentary at universities and organize talks on it with the collaboration of German Goethe Institute and TRT-Türk.

 “Human Portraits – Six Authors from Turkey” will be aired for six weeks starting Oct. 21 on TRT-Türk. It will be aired on every Sunday at 7:30 p.m.