'Philomena’ to open Istanbul Film Festival

'Philomena’ to open Istanbul Film Festival

Philomena’ to open Istanbul Film Festival

Stephen Frears’ ‘Philomena’ will be the opening film of the 33rd Istanbul Film Festival.

Film fans have reason to rejoice, as the arrival of spring will provide ample time for viewing at the 33rd Istanbul Film Festival, which will kick off April 5 with Stephen Frears’ “Philomena.”

The festival will show over 200 films in over 20 categories, as well as panels, workshops, and master classes with expert film makers for two full weeks.

“Philomena” was nominated for four Academy Awards, four BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes and was screened in the main competition of the 70th Venice International Film Festival where Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope won the award for best screenplay. Based on Martin Sixsmith’s novel “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” the film sees Judy Dench play the role of Philomena Lee, whose child is snatched by the Catholic Church in the 1950s, and Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith, a journalist she meets and searches together with for her child.

In the “International Competition” section of the festival, 11 films dealing with themes of art and artistic or literatary adaptations will vie for the golden tulip. The Golden Tulip International Competition Jury will be headed by Iranian director Asghar Farhad. Also, 10 films will vie for the golden tulip in the national competition of the festival.

The festival will present an award in memoriam of director and producer Seyfi Teoman, who passed away at a young age. All the debut films from Turkey in the International and National Golden Tulip Competitions, Out of Competition and New Turkish Cinema sections under the Turkish Cinema section, as well as the films in the Human Rights in Cinema section, will be eligible for the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize.

Akbank Galas

Premiering as the opening film at this year’s Berlinale and winner of the Grand Jury Prize, Wes Anderson’s new film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is among the Akbank Galas’ most anticipated films.
Among other films in this section are two from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. He will once again be part of the festival program with two 2013 productions, “Prisoners” and “Enemy.” Director Fred Schepisi’s long-awaited film “Words and Pictures” will also be presented at the festival’s Akbank Galas.

One of the heavily anticipated gala films is “Venus in Fur,” Roman Polanski’s latest film, which competed for the Palm d’Or at Cannes, is an adaptation of the famous stage play. Another film “The Invisible Woman,” directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, is the story of Nelly Ternan, the mistress of Charles Dickens.


The Grand Budapest Hotel

The output of Aleksey Guerman, one of Russian cinema’s most important representatives, whose name is frequently remembered alongside Andrei Tarkovsky even though he only made six films, will also be on show at the event, with all six films set for a screening. The retrospective, bringing together the work of the famous director who passed away in 2013, will include “The Seventh Companion,” “Trial on the Road,” “Twenty Days Without War,” “My Friend Ivan Lapshin,” “Khrustalyov, My Car!” and “Hard to be a God,” which was completed by Guerman’s wife after his death.

Other sections

In the Masters section, cinephiles will have the opportunity to watch the latest films from master directors who defy the years, continuing to shape the direction of world cinema.

Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s “Walesa: Man Of Hope,”  Atom Egoyan’s “Devil’s Knot,” Philippe Garrel’s “Jealousy,” Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem,” Bertrand Tavernier’s “The French Minister,” Volker Schlöndorff’s “Diplomacy” and  Lars Von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” are among the films in this section.

One of the festival’s anticipated sections, Mined Zone, will feature nine films pushing the limits of different styles and narratives, roaming uncanny territory with their approaches and techniques.
The now classic “Midnight Madness” section is anticipated by those preferring stimulating, provocative, and shocking films over sleep. These films will be screened at midnight every Friday night at Beyoğlu Cinema and Saturday night at Atlas Cinema throughout the duration of the festival.

The festival’s In Memoriam section, meanwhile, brings together the films of the masters who have recently departed the scene. The festival will remember Tuncel Kurtiz with Zeki Ökten’s film, “Sürü” (The Herd).

This year, Wajda will receive the festival’s lifetime achievement award. The festival’s honorary awards will be given to seven esteemed names, including screenwriter Umur Bugay, actress Sevda Ferdağ, producer Abdurrahman Keskiner, actor Eşref Kolçak, musician Attila Özdemiroğlu and director, screenwriter and producer İrfan Tözüm.

Closing and awards

The closing and awards ceremony of the 33rd Istanbul Film Festival will be held on April 19 at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. After the ceremony, the winner of the International Competition Golden Tulip Award will be screened as the closing film of the festival. Festival screenings will take place at five movie theaters, including Atlas and Beyoğlu in Beyoğlu, City’s in Nişantaşı, Feriye in Ortaköy and Rexx in Kadıköy, as well as Istanbul Modern and Pera Museum.