‘Noah Land’ filmmaker’s journey to Tribeca
Ertürk, Cannes Film Festivali Cinefondation Residence’ten aldığı destekle çektiği “Nuh Tepesi”nin prömiyerini, Tribeca Film Festivali’nde yaptı.
Cenk Ertürk is the young Turkish director of the film “Nuh Tepesi” (Noah Land), which won best screenplay and best actor at the New York Tribeca Film Festival last week. Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Ertürk explained the journey of the “Noah Land,” which made its world premiere at the festival.
Ertürk said that it was not easy to make the premiere of his first feature film in a world-famous festival and that they were very excited.
“We are honored to be selected and represent our country in an international competition,” he said.
Ertürk said that the film told the story of a father, played by Haluk Bilginer, and son, played by Ali Atay, and their dispute with the villagers about the father’s desire to be buried under a particular tree in his hometown.
“Father returns to the village where he had spent his childhood, which he had to leave years ago. There is a tree that he claims he planted there; he wants to be buried underneath. The villagers believe that the tree is the first tree planted by the prophet Noah after the flood and object to the father’s desire to be buried. We watch how the father and son solve the problem with the villagers,” the filmmaker said.
Ertürk said he had previously shot a few short films and the dynamics of the short film were different from feature films.
“I wrote ‘Noah Land’ as a short film script while studying at New York University. My teachers told me to make it a feature film; they told me to keep the script. Instead of it, I took a short film on a father-and-son story because it was a project I had to shoot in the second grade. I wanted to test the rhythm and emotional atmosphere of this film, and I and my father played in the film. The film received so many nice reactions. Using the power of that film, I started the journey of procuring the budget of this film. At the end of the writing process for a few years, we shot the film with international partners,” he said.
Speaking about his interest in cinema, Ertürk said the following:
“While studying economics at Boğaziçi University and considering a PhD in economics, I took an elective course of Turkey’s well-known director Derviş Zaim. The poison of cinema is now in my blood. I found myself wanting to do something about cinema rather than a doctorate in economics. I discovered the passion for cinema that has been hidden for years in me. I made short films. Our short films were shown in beautiful festivals, and it was very encouraging for us. So I decided to take its education to realize my dream. I came to the U.S. with the money I saved working on sets in Turkey and applied to various cinema schools to study for master. I was accepted to many of the film schools I applied in my third year, and I got my master degree in cinema at New York University Tisch School of Art.”
Ertürk said he enjoyed seeing the audience’s reactions to the film during the festival in New York.
“The American audience is slightly different, showing their reactions very quickly and very clearly. When you sit in the hall you can observe them cry and laugh. They aren’t afraid to show it. When we watched our movie with the audience at the Tribeca Film Festival, they cried and laughed. Of course, this was something we hoped to see, and it made us very happy. It is very nice to watch with an audience that clearly show their feelings.”
Ertürk said he also was lucky to secure a cast of legendary actors.
“I worked with all five of the five actors I have dreamed of: Bilginer and Atay who won the best actor award at the Tribeca Fillm Festival, as well as Hande Doğandemir, Mehmet Özgür and Arın Kuşaksızoğlu. ... Working with them was so much fun.”
Ertürk’s two brothers, Şevki Tuna Ertürk and Alp Ertürk, produced the film. He said that they were compared to Cohen brothers at the festival.
“It was a very nice experience. We also made short films with our father. This is how we started our filmmaking. Our father played in our short films. In fact, he won the best actor award in America in a short movie he played years ago, and we see our father in a scene around the tree. It was like a family movie,” the director said.
Alp Ertürk added that “it feels very good to succeed in something with family.”
Şevki Tuna Ertürk said he was proud of working with his brother.
“He is the one who started my cinema journey. I have never regretted starting this journey, and I really wanted to be in this movie. We had already worked together in short films. I was very excited when I realized we were going to do the feature together. I am really proud.”