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    Co-productions with Germany among the winners in Adana

    By Martin Blaney | October 7, 2011

    In photo: festival programmer Ahmet Boyacioglu flanked by international guests  Rita Goegebeur (Cannes Film Festival), Maciej Karpinski (Polish Film Institute) and producer Thom Palmen (Botnia Film), courtesy Martin Blaney

    In photo: festival programmer Ahmet Boyacioglu flanked by international guests Rita Goegebeur (Cannes Film Festival), Maciej Karpinski (Polish Film Institute) and producer Thom Palmen (Botnia Film), courtesy Martin Blaney

    Two Turkish films co-produced with German partners were among the winners at this year’s 18th International Golden Boll Film Festival (Sept 17-25) in Turkey’s fourth largest city Adana.

    The top award for Best Film with a purse of 350,000 Turkish Lira went to Onur Ünlü’s The Extremely Tragic Story of Celal Tan and His Family. The tragicomedy about a retired constitutional law professor and his entangled family relationships also received the award for Best Screenplay as well as a special jury award created especially this year to recognise the ensemble performance of the film’s cast.

    However, the largest number of prizes were attracted by Özcan Alper’s second feature Future Lasts Forever which picked up awards for Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Music as well as the SIYAD Turkish Film Critic Association’s Prize and the Yilmaz Güney Award in memory of the internationally renowned filmmaker who came from Adana. This co-production with France’s Arizona Film and Germany’s Unafilm (also co-producer of this year’s Berlinale competition film Our Grand Despair by Seyfi Teoman) had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month.

    Accepting the Yilmaz Güney Award from the filmmaker’s widow Fatoş Güney, Alper declared: „I believe this award is the most beautiful and most meaningful of all the awards. I just hope I can continue to make films that Yilmaz Güney would support.“

    Meanwhile, the Competition Jury headed by filmmaker Derviş Zaim and including actor Taner Birsel (seen most recently in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time In Anatolia) and screenwriter/actress Ebru Ceylan gave its Special Jury Award to the Turkish-German co-production of producer F. Serkan Acar’s directorial debut Love and Revolution as well as three nods for Art Direction, Best Promising Young Actress and Best Promising Young Actor (ex aequo with The Body).

    Ironically, Acar and his Cologne-based co-producer Kadir Sözen of Filmfabrik had been the producers of Özcan Alper’s debut feature Autumn which was seen by 150,000 cinema-goers in Turkey.

    Speaking about this year’s competition lineup, jury president  Derviş Zaim remarked: „Turkey is the process of facing up to the past and this is something we have witnessed to an impressive degree during this festival. I think it is important to comment that on this topic the jury found the films Hidden Lives, Simurg and Home to be particularly poignant.“

    Meanwhile, Hüseyin Karabey, director of the remarkable feature debut My Marlon and Brando (Gitmek) from 2008, won one of the prizes in the Mediterranean Short Film Competition for his animation No Darkness Can Make Us Forget about Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist killed by a Muslim nationalist in Istanbul in 2007. The film’s soundtrack features Dink’s wife’s speech at the funeral which became a manifesto of peace and tolerance between Muslims and Christians.

    Karabey is planning to shoot his next feature Come To My Voice with Leipzig/Berlin-based production house Neue Mediopolis in Turkey next spring.

    Highlights at this year’s edition of the Golden Boll festival included the Turkish premiere of the Cannes Grand Prix winner Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, a retrospective of films by the jury president  Derviş Zaim, and special screenings of films by Yilmaz Güney – from 1970’s Hope to his 1978 film The Herd – as well as the presentation of the recently restored version of the Lütfi Akad’s 1966 classic The Law Of Borders which featured Güney as an actor.

    In addition, the festival provided the backdrop for a four-day international conference on Turkish cinema which addressed such issues as film censorship systems, the impact of Eurimages on Turkish cinema, legal problems and solutions as well as film analyses of recent Turkish productions such as Losers’ Club, Majority and Gira and a special session on the cinema of Yilmaz Güney.

    Güney also featured prominently in Adana’s Cinema Museum which was ceremonially opened during the festival by Adana’s Governor Huseyin Avni Cos, the Municipality Deputy Mayor Zihni Aldirmaz, and Güney’s widow Fatoş Güney with former colleagues of the late director.

    The museum, whose archives include Güney’s prison letters, also pays tribute to other filmmakers and artists hailing from Adana such as DoP Abidin Dino, author Orhan Kemal, actors Sener Sen and Salih Güney, and director Ali Özgentürk who was one of the three recipients of the Golden Boll’s Honorary Awards this year and showed his latest feature Love Me as a world premiere in the National Competition.

    At the festival’s closing event, Aldirmaz said that he would like the Cinema Museum to become a leading institution dedicated to the history of Turkish cinema and cinema in Adana from the beginnings to the present day.

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