A film festival in Van, against all odds

A film festival in Van, against all odds

In 35 years, the Istanbul Film Festival has raised a generation of movie-makers. Some of them met the cinema in this festival; some of them watched movies that opened new worlds in their minds in this festival. 

Some were discovered in this festival; some others defined the festival as “a school for moviemakers.” 
Film festivals play such a role in serving cinema. At the same time, their contributions to the city they are held in are as important as their effects on cinema and moviemakers. 

Those who come from out of town bring life and joy to the city’s streets and restaurants. A person who has come for the first time may come again; if not, they would tell of their experiences in the city to others and maybe they will come. 

But I guess films festivals are most a breath for the city’s own residents. Especially if the place they are held in is not a megacity like Istanbul, but a city in Anatolia. 

Local people and those living in neighboring cities do not have access to cultural and art activities like in megacities, thus film festivals are a huge opportunity for them. 

The 5th International Film Festival in eastern Turkey’s Van will be held between Oct. 28 and Nov.1. 
The festival is being announced as “against all odds, there is a film festival in Van. Did you know that? Embrace it today so that you will have your share in the pride tomorrow.”

In spite of the turmoil in the region, Van did not give up on its festival. While in megacities like Istanbul culture and art activities are immediately cancelled after the slightest disruption, Van holds on to its festival and declares the “life will not stop.”

I don’t know if you have ever been to Van, but it is a unique place with its clean air, its lake which is like a sea, its tranquility, Akhtamar Island and the green villages in the vicinity. I wish you could go because of the festival and while you are there see all these beautiful spots. 

Continuing to hold the film festival in Van will bring social vitality to the city and create a cultural and artful environment. Visiting artists and participants will get to know Van; they will contribute to its promotion and convey their knowledge and experiences to the city.

The people of Van, especially young people who may not have the means to travel outside their city and meet the world, will have the opportunity to observe cinema closely and be influenced by these works of art and culture. They may participate in cinema workshops and develop themselves is aesthetic and technical matters. 

This year’s theme is “Breath, Retrospective.” The slogan of the festival is “To hear good news also…” Russia is the guest country this year and a collection of Russian classics will be included in the festival. A collection of films of conscience and short films as well as the archive of the festival will be offered as well. 

Sightseeing tours will be organized to Van Fortress, Hoşap Castle, Çavuştepe and Akhtamar Island. 
Each year during this season, Armenians from all over the world visit Van within the context of faith tourism. These tourists may meet the festival and its activities held during the same time, thereby connecting cultures.

This film festival is perfect to fill the social void caused by the earthquake five years ago and lessen the political-social conflicts, as well as to boost morale. It should definitely be supported. You should also embrace it today so that you will have a share in the pride tomorrow.