As Turkey and Australia come together to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, the 5th annual Turkish Film Festival Australia invites audiences in Sydney and Melbourne to experience the great masters and new talents of Turkish film under the banner Make Films Not War.
Festival Director Nalan Cebeci says the program aims to introduce Australian audiences to the vibrant culture of Turkish cinema.
“On the back of the recent international resurgence of Turkish cinema, the six films (in Turkish with English subtitles) will appeal to the 250,000 or so Turkish speakers in Australia as well as non-Turkish speakers interested in taking part in this wonderful cultural exchange,” said Cebeci.
“As our two nations commemorate the ANZAC centenary, we also come together to acknowledge our cultural and historic ties, and to build future relationships between filmmakers and industry stakeholders from Turkey and Australia.”
The Festival opens with action-packed historical romance Last Letter (Son Mektup) from writer, producer and director Özhan Eren. Set in Gallipoli during WWI, Last Letter follows the budding romance between a pilot and a nurse who were originally brought together to save a young orphan boy during an English air raid.
Considered an expert on the Caucasus Campaign of WWI, Özhan Eren is the author of the bestselling novel The Road to Sarikamis, which led him to making the box-office success 120. He will be appearing at the Festival’s opening night screening and celebrations along with Turkish singer Yonca Lodi who will perform the film’s title song Until Eternity.
Turkish romance continues on the big screen with veteran director Nesli Colgecen’s latest offering Let the Music Play (Calsin Sazlar). Colgecen, whose award-winning films include The Broken Landlord and Selamsiz Band, will be attending the screening along with his leading man Caner Cindoruk – a well-known Turkish actor who has recently finished filming the popular TV series Between You and Me.
Offering a further example of the Turkish-Australian connection, the film’s female star Belcim Bilgin is married to Yilmaz Erdogan, who won the AACTA for best supporting actor in The Water Diviner – the pair is considered the power couple of Turkish cinema.
The cinematic delights of Turkish romance and comedy are also on display with Mix Tape (Karisik Kaset) and Once Upon a Time (Bir varmis bir Yokmus) starring Melisa Sozen who played the lead in 2014 Palme D’Or winner Winter Sleep.
Family drama and coming-of-age stories round out the program with Until I Lose My Breath (Nefesim Kesilene Kadar) and the uplifting adventure Snow Pirates (Kar Korsanlar), which had its world premiere in the Generation programme of the 65th Berlin Film Festival.
Directors attending the Festival include Nesli Çolgeçen (Let the Band Play), Özhan Eren (The Last Letter), Faruk Hacihafizoglu (Snow Pirates), first time director Tunç Sahin (Mix Tape) and Ilksen Basarir (Once Upon a Time).
5th Annual Turkish Film Festival Australia
Dendy Cinema, King Street, Newtown (Sydney)
Screenings: 16 – 8 April 2015
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square, Melbourne
Screenings: 23 – 26 April 2015
For more information and program details, visit: www.acinematicdelight.com for details.
Image: Snow Pirates