Turkey’s Changemakers: ‘You watch a movie and your life changes’
The Sabancı Foundation’s “Turkey’s Changemakers Program” is continuing in its 6th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to social development in the country. The first Changemaker of the 6th season has been announced as SineMASAL, with its project “Cinema is in the Villages Now.”
Enes Kaya is an idealistic film-maker in his 20s who grew up in a remote village. The difficulties he faced growing up later inspired him to establish SineMASAL to organize cultural events in villages in 2007. He started his journey with his friends who were also passionate about cinema, and their objective was to enable underprivileged children and youth to develop a more positive perspective in life and imagine a better future.
The SineMASAL team, under the leadership of Kaya, started its work by exploring 69 villages in eastern and southeastern Anatolia. They then took to the road with 45 volunteers from six different countries with the motto “Cinema is in the Villages Now” in 2013, interacting with a total of 7,000 children, youths and adults in more than 30 villages across the provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Mardin and Diyarbakır.
Arriving at villages as a big team at dawn, SineMASAL organized a number of different activities until late in the evening. According to research conducted by the group, 87 percent of the locals they encountered were meeting cinema for the first time in their lives.
The SineMASAL team’s second stop was the Black Sea in the summer of 2014. This time with a bigger group of volunteers, though again under the guidance of Kaya, the team reached more than 10,000 people in six different Black Sea provinces.
Overall, the work of SineMASAL has touched the lives of more than 20,000 children in socially and culturally disadvantaged Anatolian villages, creating an experience they will never forget.