FNE at Istanbul FF 2010: Meetings on the Bridge Presents New Film Projects


    ISTANBUL: Turkish films have had a string of successes at international festival recently and the 14 new feature film projects in development presented at this year's edition of the Meetings on the Bridge in Istanbul attracted an unusually high level of international interest.

    An international jury of film professionals selected two films to receive cash prizes. Voice of My Father, a new project by directors Orhan Eskikoy and Zeynel Dogan and to be producer by Perisan Film, received a cash prize of 10 000 USD from the Turkish Ministry of Culture plus post production from Melodika valued at 25 000 TL. The project will be produced by Nadir Operli and Ozgur Dogan. Operli who has also worked as a journalist for FNE is a cofounder of Bulut Film in Istanbul and his film Summer Book was successful on the festival circuit in 2008. He also coproduced the successful feature documentary On the Way to School directed by Orhan Eskikoy. The film is scheduled shoot later this year and has a budget of 945 000 TL.
    Voice of My Father looks at the Kurdish issue in Turkey through the eyes of a village family where most of the men have left Turkey. The mother, Base, cannot read so her husband has kept in touch by sending audio tapes which she and her son listen to over and over.

    Also Emre Yeksan and Emrah Serbes also won a cash prize of 10 000 USD for their project Terrorist Upstairs from the French Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC). The film budgeted at 600 000 TL is slated to start shooting in spring of 2011. The film is about Nurettin whose brother was killed during his military service in Eastern Turkey and how he plots revenge against the terrorists. The film will be a directing debut for Yeksan who studied at the Sorbonne and worked in Paris in film and TV production before working as a producer for such well known Turkish directors as Semih Kaplanoglu and Huseyin Karakey.

    But the projects taking home cash prizes were not the only ones attracting attention at the event. German producer Karl Baumgartner who heads Pandora Filmproduktions (www.pandorafilm.com) is already on board for director/scriptwriter Nuray Sahin's 1.8m TL project The Silver Gate. Sahin who makes her home in Berlin will make her feature directorial debut with the project but she already has numerous credits to her name for projects as a scriptwriter and short film director in Germany. The film is about a family in the Eastern Anatolian village of Dersim where Sahin grew up and she says she drew on both childhood memories and her knowledge of local fairy tales for the script.

    Another project that already has a foreign producer on board and will be much anticipated is Asli Ozge's Asphyxia, Atemnot which is slated to shoot in September of this year. Roman Paul and Gerhard Meixner who head the Berlin based Razor Film Produktions will produce the 1.6m TL film. Ozge's Men on the Bridge was hugely successful on the international festival circuit last year screening in Locarno, Toronto, Sarajevo and other festivals.
    Her latest project is about a middle class Istanbul family whose long suppressed problems come to the surface after an accident.

    Another hot project is Civilian written and directed by Levent Cetin and slated to shoot in October this year. A feature debut for Cetin the 146 000 Euro project is to be produced by one of Turkey's hottest directors Huseyin Karabey. The film is about a young man who returns home to Istanbul after his military service and shows the trauma of post-military service.