Magazine article Variety

Survivor in the Face of Political Waves

Magazine article Variety

Survivor in the Face of Political Waves

Article excerpt

Over the years, the Antalya Film Festival, now in it 53rd edition, has successfully ridden any waves generated by Turkey's political turbulence. Still, staging the event, which runs Oct. 16-23, just three months after an attempted coup had no precedence.

What happened July 15 in Turkey "was a really, really weird situation," says the fest's artistic director Elif Dagdeviren, "and it was all very traumatic for all of us."

Antalya is not the country's first big film event to take place after the failed coup attempt.

It follows the Adana Film Festival held in Turkey's southeastern city of Adana in September. This year, due to the country's security concerns, few foreign guests attended Adana, though the fest drew a large local crowd. And earlier this year, the Istanbul Film Festival took place one week after a March suicide bombing in the city's central Beyoglu district. That festival saw copious cancellations of international attendees and also suffered diminished local audience attendance.

As the Turkish film and TV industry do its best to normalize and move on, Antalya has, significantly, managed to get some traction in terms of planned international guest presence.

The intrepid French actor Gerard Depardieu is expected to be on hand for an onstage conversation to promote his new film "Tour de France," an odd-couple road movie in which the Gallic superstar plays an old racist traveling with a young French-Arab rapper named Far'Hook.

British director Hugh Hudson ("Chariots of Fire") will preside over the international competition jury. Turkish film director, producer, and screenwriter Semih Kaplanoglu, who won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2010 with "Honey," is president of the national competition jury.

International execs expected to make the trek to Antalya's new Film Talent Marketing Rounds featuring Turkish film projects, either in pre-production or post-production stages, include prominent Francebased Croatian producer Cedomir Kolar; Seattle Film Festival programming director Justine Barda; La Rochelle Film Festival's Arnaud Dumatin; Russian producer Evgenia Tirdatova; and entertainment lawyer/ dealmaker Arnold P. Peter, head of Beverly Hills-based Peter Law Group.

Kolar is a co-producer of Turkish writer director Mehmet Can Mertoglu's impressive debut "Album," about a couple who, worried about Turkish society's stigma surrounding infertility, conceal an adoption by staging a fake pregnancy with a phony photo album. "Album," which made a splash when it premiered in the Cannes Critics' Week in May, is playing in Antalya's national competition section alongside several other standout titles. …

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