‘Butterflies’ are free

‘Butterflies’ are free

When I had studied cinema in New York, the most exciting, most mouth-watering film festival my classmates and I had dreamed of going to the most had been the Sundance Film Festival. 

Back in 1994, Sundance opened with the British movie “Four Funerals and a Wedding,” featuring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell. It has been one of my favorite movies.

Each year, I check out Sundance’s list of award winners to pick my very own “must watch” movies. The list has never failed me.

The Sundance Festival is a wonderful event that brings together independent movies. Some of those movies want box office success but some simply don’t care about it.

This is what our country lacks the most. Scriptwriters and directors of movies with potential box office success are kept away from festivals and competitions. Only a handful of actors or actresses featured in such movies receive nominations, but this happens merely for the sake of it.

However, “festival movies” are different because only they receive awards. Maybe that is the reason why we have so few movies that manage to strike a balance between box office success and quality. Popular and high quality movies are not awarded or praised in our country aside from the applause they receive from audiences.

Anyhow, this year at the Sundance Film Festival, which I find more precious than the Oscars, the Turkish movie “Butterflies” by director Tolga Karaçelik won the Grand Jury Prize for the category of Best International Motion Picture. Let me remind you, only four prizes are handed out at Sundance and two of them are for documentaries.

This is huge! It is a really big deal!

It is a success worth writing about for hundreds of pages.

“Butterflies” must be screened in a couple of theaters for at least a couple of weeks. Doesn’t our international award-winning film deserve to be screened in at least one tenth of the theaters that show Enes Batur’s “Dream or Real”?

You have probably read in the news that the Culture Ministry had not found “Butterflies” worthy of financial support and had not even given them a penny! You have also probably heard that the movie was shot in 18 days. So, this means Karaçelik shot the movie without time or money. We are talking about a multiple award-winning comedy film, with a bright director and big movie stars (featuring Bartu Küçükçağlayan, Tuğçe Altuğ, Tolga Tekin, Serkan Keskin, Hakan Karsak, Ezgi Mola and Ercan Kesal, etc).

Despite all of this, what we have here is enough talent for a big award-winning Sundance film, shot with the support of friends, movie lovers and skill by Metin Anter and Diloy Gülüm, who have shot the movie in only 18 days. Even with a pretentious director, state-run broadcaster TRT cannot shoot an episode of its TV series within this time span.

“Butterflies” is not “independent.” In terms of budget, it is “completely independent” or even “extremely independent.” It is the product of a collective work. It is a film we can even joke about by saying “it is as free as butterflies.”

It had made my day when I had heard the news that it had won the prize at the Sundance Film Festival. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this film.

On the film poster, there is a sentence that says, “There is nothing more dangerous than an astronaut who has nothing to lose.”

I think Karaçelik is the astronaut who has nothing to lose in this movie.

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