Istanbul Film Festival celebrates Turkish and international cinema

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The 33rd International Film Festival in Istanbul has once again brought filmmakers and film producers to the banks of the Bosporus to present their new films.

Azize Tan, Festival Director spoke to euronews about the aim of the event: “Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia so that’s why the name of our co-production section is called “Meeting on the Bridge”. We aim to bring together filmmakers from Europe and the rest of the world with our local filmmakers and audiences.”

Throughout the film festival, tulips could be seen across Istanbul – the flower being the name given to the national and international awards.

Iranian film director and president of the international film competition, Asghar Farhadi, presented Norwegian film director Eskil Vogt’s award for his movie “Blind”.

It tells the story of a young woman who has recently lost her sight and starts writing to sharpen her imagination – but the further she delves into it the closer she becomes to losing her sense of reality. Eskil Vogt’s feature film debut premiered at Sundance.

“In the beginning it was just the idea of blindness as being something you can do very exciting things in cinema with. You can play with it, it was almost a playful idea and of course I met people who lost their sight. I researched it and the human tragedy also became part of the story,” explained Vogt after winning his award.

The Golden Tulip for best Turkish film, “I Am Not Him”, was awarded to Tayfun Pirsemlioğlu.

“The movie deals with changing identity and follows the story of a man who works in a hospital canteen and slowly turns into somebody else – this changes his life and destiny in an unpredictable way,“Pirsemlioğlu told euronews.

A middle aged loner meets a woman who’s husband is in prison and slowly steals his identity – the film was also given awards for best music and best screenplay.

Turkish film director Onur Ünlü was given an award for his comedy thriller “Let’s Sin”.

“It’s an old film project from 20 years ago, when I was a student. I was inspired by visiting mosques and also from crime and detective literature,” he said.

The movie tells the story of a murder committed in a mosque. But the police are not very interested in the case. It is up to the imam to investigate, with some unorthodox methods. The film portrays a murder case where everybody is suspected and involved, even the imam himself, played by Serkan Keskin. He was given the award for best actor:

Keskin, talked about his preparation for the film: “For the role of the imam I didn’t have to prepare much because it’s a Muslim country – but for the musical part I had to practice. I worked on that side of his character, but at the end of the day the imam is a human being so it was not too difficult to get in to the role.”

Turkish actress Vahide Perçin won the best actress award. The 49-year-old was formally known by her married name, “Vahide Gördüm”.

She played “Lady Hanim”, a housewife with four sons during the aftermath of the coup d’etat in Turkey in the 1980s. The mother finds it difficult to hold the family together as the political events take place.

Around 230 film were shown during the 15 day festival.

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