Magazine article Screen International

How Antalya Film Forum Is Bringing Turkish Cinema to the World

Magazine article Screen International

How Antalya Film Forum Is Bringing Turkish Cinema to the World

Article excerpt

The event is the place to meet local filmmakers and source exciting new projects.

As one of Turkey’s top producers, Zeynep Atakan is well accustomed to visiting the various co-production events held at festivals around the world. In 2013, when she was first modelling Antalya Film Forum, she had plenty of examples to draw on.

“Our motto was that the Turkish film industry should be able to create with the world,” says the Forum director, whose work with Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan includes Winter Sleep and Once Upon A Time In Anatolia. As a producer who has worked with French and German partners to get Ceylan’s films financed, she knows first-hand what a struggle it can be to piece together budgets from multiple sources.

“I’ve been to almost all the co-production markets,” Atakan reflects. “Each was a different experience for me.”

The one that registered most strongly was CineLink in Sarajevo, which provides practical support and encouragement for young directors from the region seeking international support and exposure. And it is not just the ideas behind CineLink that Atakan is now drawing on - it is the personnel too. Antalya’s strategic adviser is Mirsad Purivatra, who launched the CineLink Co-Production Market in 2003.

Based on the premise that a successful co-production market is the best place to spot emerging local talent, the Forum has grown gradually each year.

In its first edition, the event concentrated on works-in-progress and narrative feature pitching. A focus on documentary films was added to the mix in the second year. The Forum has since added further strands. The new platforms are Projects Looking For Producers, which focuses on script development, the presentation of projects the festival has supported via the privately backed Sümer Tilmac Antalya Film Support Fund, and short film works-in-progress. A selection of finished shorts will also screen in shorts@antalya. Additionally the Turkish TV and Radio Corporation (TRT) presents an annual project development award with a prize of $13,500 (try50,000).

“We are hoping that any project developed in Turkey will have the chance to be shown worldwide,” says Atakan.

Projects to have passed through the Forum include Tolga Karacelik’s Ivy (Sarmasik), which was pitched in 2014 and went on to have its world premiere at Sundance the following year. Young Wrestlers, a documentary produced by Istanbul and Amsterdam-based Kaliber Film, was selected for the Berlinale and returned to win two awards at Antalya last year. Baris Kaya and Soner Caner’s debut feature Rauf won the work-in-progress award at the 2015 Forum and was also selected to screen at the Berlinale last year.

Global guests

International visitors to the Forum have previously included Piers Handling, director and CEO of Toronto International Film Festival; Croatian producer Cedomir Kolar; sales agent Cat & Doc; Elad Samorzik, artistic director of Jerusalem Film Festival; ARTE/ZDF producer Meinolf Zurhorst; US producer Jim Stark; and industry veteran Renate Roginas, who has been presenting the Forum’s Villa Kult Residency Award since 2015. Last year it went to Turkish writer-director Emre Kayis for his project The Anatolian Leopard.

Originality, creativity, international potential and feasibility are listed as the four essential qualities that projects must possess to be selected for the Forum. …

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