FNE at Istanbul FF 2013: Prize winners and Emek protests


ISTANBUL: The 32nd Istanbul Film Festival held from 30 March to 14 April 2013 finished last night after a tumultuous two weeks that saw protests over the closure of the historic Emek Cinema theatre that included festival guests Costa-Gavras and Mike Newell as well as the arrest of Turkish film critic Berke Gol.

The jury for the international competition headed by prominent director Peter Weir awarded the main prize, the Golden Tulip, to the film What Richard Did directed by Lenny Abrahamson. The prize is awarded in memory of long time supporter of the festival Sakir Eczacibasi and carries a cash prize of 25,000 EUR. A special Jury Prize was awarded to Camille Claudel 1915 directed by Bruno Dumont. The jury also included cricit Mark Adams, Director Sebastain Lelio, Turkish actress Simin Gatemeh Motamed Arya and Polish director Malgoska Szumowska. Weir also received the Honourary Award of the Festival for lifetime achievement.

The Turkish national competition has become a weather vane for spotting new Turkish talent and this year the festival screened 10 new Turkish films, six of the world premiers. The prize from best film went to Thou Gild’st The Even directed by Onur Unlu which carried a cash prize of 150,000 TL. The prize was presented to the producers of the film Orkun Unlu and Funda Alp. The film also scooped a number of other prizes including the international critics FIPRESCI prize and prizes for Best Screenplay and Editing.

While the awards were given out on Sunday night at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall the biggest buzz was still around the protests earlier in the festival over the closure of the Emek Cinema which had earlier been one of the main festival venues until its closure in 2009. The historic Emek which is slated to be torn down and reconstructed on the second floor of a new shopping centre on the site in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district has been the subject of ongoing protests for some time.

But the march on 7 April which included a number of festival participants turned into a violent clash when the protesters attempted to enter the closed cinema. Police reacted by attacking the protesters with water cannon and tear gas. Film critic Berke Gol who was also a member of one of the festival juries was arrested but was subsequently released. The festival condemned the police action against the protesters with a statement on its website saying “We strongly condemn the intervention against cinephiles who had in mind nothing but to embrace Istanbul’s cultural memory.”

The protesters meanwhile vowed to continue their protests and march again. Interior Minister Muammer Guler has announced that an investigation has been launched to see whether police units used disproportionate force against the protesters.

The Emek Theatre was built in the 1880’s and has been a cinema theatre since 1924. It is considered an important part of Turkey’s cultural heritage by cinephiles and the city’s cultural community.

List of Prize Winners

International Competition:

Best Film:
What Richard Did directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Special Jury Prize:
Camille Claudel 1915 directed by Bruno Dumont

Turkish National Competition:

Best Film
Thou Gild’st The Even directed by Onur Unlu.  

Best Director:
Asli Ozge for Lifelong

Special Jury Prize in Memory of Onat Kutlar
The Cycle directed by Dervis Zaim

Best Actress
Sema Poyraz for her role in Forgive Me directed by Cemil Agacikoglu

Best Actor
Ercan Kesal for his role in Yozgat Blues directed by Mahmut Fazil Coskun

Best Screenplay
Onur Unlu for Thou Gild’st The Even which he also directed

Best DoP
Emre Erkmen for Lifelong

Best Music
Murat Basaran for Cold directed by Ugur Yucel

Best Editing
Emre Boyraz for Thou Gild’st The Even

Seyfi Teoman Best Bebut Film Award
Nobody’s Home directed by Deniz Akcay Katiksiz

Council of Europe (FACE) Award for Human Rights
Patience Stone directed by Atiq Rahimi
FACE Special Mention
An Episode in the Life of An Iron Picker directed by Danis Tanovic

FIPRESCI International Critics Awards
National Competition
Thou Gild’st The Even

International Competition
Camille Claudel 1915

Radikal Newspaper People’s Choice Awards

International Competition
House with a Turret directed by Eva Neymann

National Competition
Nobody’s Home directed by Deniz Akcay Katiksiz