FNE at Istanbul IFF 2010: Festival Announces Competition Lineup

By FNE Staff

    As of this year, the Golden Tulip Award, rewarded to a film from the "International Competition" category of the International Istanbul Film Festival will be presented in memoriam Şakir Eczacıbaşı...

    Eleven breath-taking films will compete at The International Competition. Only films that handle the themes of art and the artist, or literary adaptations are eligible to compete.

    A previous guest of the Festival, esteemed Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang's new film Surat was shot on commission by the Louvre Museum. The story revolves around a director shooting a film in the Louvre Museum on the legend of Salomé and features a star cast with Fanny Ardant, Laetitia Casta, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Lee Kang-Sheng, Jeanne Moreau and Nathalie Baye.

    One of the most acclaimed films of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, I Killed My Mother is also among the films that will be competing for the Golden Tulip in the International Competition. The film is about a gay high-school student who dreams of becoming a painter and struggles between feelings of love and hatred towards his mother. Only 21 years old, this is Xavier Dolan's first film, which he wrote, directed and is the star actor. The film won three awards at Cannes Film Festival.

    Tolstoy is indisputably one the best writers of all time and Michael Hoffman's film The Last Station, which he wrote and directed, is a commemoration in honour of the his 100th anniversary of his death. Adapted from Jay Parini's novel, the film tells the amusing, touching and convoluted love between Tolstoy and his wife, countess Sophia. The film features Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy and Helen Mirren as his wife Sophia. Their performances in the film brought nominations for Helen Mirren in the Best Actress, and Christopher Plummer in the Best Supporting Actor categories at the Academy Awards.

    Joann Star's feature debut Gainsbourg (Vie Heroique) is about the life of Serge Gainsbourg, the famous French singer renowned for his unconventional life style and contrarian personality, starting from German occupied Paris of 1941 to his death in 1991. The film features Laetitia Casta as Brigitte Bardot and the young Lucy Gordon, who committed suicide in May 2009, as Jane Birkin. Jacquette Rivette's Around A Small Mountain featuring Gainsbourg's ex-wife Jane Birkin will also be screened this year at the Festival.

    Here are the other films that will compete at the International Competition for the Golden Tulip:

    • All that I Love / Jacek Borcuch

    • Mademoiselle Chambon / Stephane Brizé

    • Undertow / Javier Fuentes-Leó

    • V.O.S. / Cesc Gay

    • Phobidilia / Yoav Paz ve Doron Paz

    • Nowhere Boy /Sam Taylor Wood

    • The Misfortunes / Felix Van Groeningen

    Out of Competition

    Oscar winning director Bruce Beresford's Mao's Last Dancer, which depicts the extraordinary life story of Li Cunxin, who was recruited as a poor village boy and became a world-class ballet dancer received. The film is an adaptation from Li Cunxin's autobiography and describes in scope the political events of the era. Screened out of competition, the films' director Bruce Beresford will be visiting Istanbul as a Festival guest.

    Renowned for combining music, dance and cinema in films like Fados, Tango and Carmen, Carlos Saura had received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Istanbul Film Festival. This time, the famous director treats classical music in his last production Io, Don Giovanni, which describes the competition between Mozart and Salieri in the context of the creative process of the opera Don Giovanni.

    • National Competition and Turkish Cinema

    As in the last 21 years, the sponsor for this years' "Turkish Cinema" in the Istanbul Film Festival is Efes Pilsen. The Turkish Cinema section comprises of close to 50 fiction and documentary films whose productions were completed in 2009 and 2010, and will be screened under the titles of National Competition, Out of Competition, New Turkish Cinema, and Documentaries.

    The jury will select the best film and best director from among feature-length fiction, documentary and animated films that will participate in the National Competition and the winners will each receive 50,000 TL, awarded by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, along with the Golden Tulip statuette.

    Moreover, awards will be presented to winners of Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Art Director and Best Music. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism will award winners of the Best Actress and Best Actor category each with 10,000 TL.

    Efes Pilsen will provide a monetary reward of USD 30,000 to the director whose film is selected by the International Film Critics Association (FIPRESCI) Jury in order to use in their next production. The FIPRESCI Award in the National Competition will be presented in memoriam Onat Kutlar.

    The 11 films that will compete for the Golden Tulip in the National Competition of the Festival are as follows:

    • Min Dît - Ben Gördüm / The Children of Diyarbakir / Miraz Bezar

    • Denizden Gelen / Brought by the Sea / Nesli Çölgeçen

    • Kıskanmak / Envy / Zeki Demirkubuz

    • Acı Aşk / Love, Bitter / A. Taner Elhan

    • Neşeli Hayat / Jolly Life / Yılmaz Erdoğan

    • Karanlıktakiler / In Darkness / Çağan Irmak

    • Büyük Oyun / A Step into the Darkness / Atıl İnaç

    • Bal / Honey / Semih Kaplanoğlu

    • Vavien / Yağmur Taylan & Durul Taylan

    • Ses / The Voice / Ümit Ünal

    • Beş Şehir / Five Cities / Onur Ünlü

    The Golden Tulip National Competition Jury

    The chairperson of the Golden Tulip National Competition of the 29th International Istanbul Film Festival will be director Yeşim Ustaoğlu.

    Out of Competition

    7 films will be screened as Out of Competition under the category Turkish Cinema of the Istanbul Film Festival.

    • Kars Öyküleri / Tales From Kars / Özcan Alper, Zehra Derya Koç, Ülkü Oktay, Ahu Öztürk,

    Emre Akay

    • 7 Avlu / 7 Courtyards / Semir Aslanyürek

    • Kosmos / Reha Erdem

    • Yüreğine Sor / Ask Your Heart / Yusuf Kurçenli

    • Pus / Haze / Tayfun Pirselimoğlu

    • Acı / Pain / Cemal Şan

    • Bornova Bornova / İnan Temelkuran

    In this year's "Turkish Cinema" category, Ülkü Erakalın's film Çığlık Çığlığa Bir Sevda / A Love in Screams, which describes the life of a musician who recalls Zeki Müren, the famous Turkish singer hailed as the "Sun of Art" will be showed in a private screening session. The film features a cast of successful Turkish actors and actresses such as Selma Güneri, Ediz Hun, and Tomris Oğuzalp

    • Film Award of Council of Europe: FACE

    The Film Award of Council of Europe (FACE) is presented exclusively during the International Istanbul Film Festival since three years. This year, the Council of Europe Film Award will be given to a film screened in the section "Human Rights in Cinema". The director of the winning will be presented the FACE Award statuette and 10,000 Euros by a representative of the Council of Europe at the closing ceremony of the Festival. Last year, the award was given to the film Birdwatchers by director Marco Bechis, who is the chairperson of the FACE jury for this year.

    Among the 11 films that will be competing for the FACE Award in the category "Human Rights in Cinema" supported by the Council of Europe, is the multi-award winning Ajami by Palestinian director Scandar Copti and Israeli director Yaron Shani, which depicts the Israel-Palestine conflict. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Ajami concentrates on the criminal events in the Ajami district where Jews and Palestinians co-exist. The directors Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani will be visiting Istanbul as guests of the Festival.

    Record-breaker at the box office in Spain, Daniel Monzon's fourth film Cell 211 has been nominated for 16 categories in the Goya Awards, and winning 6, passing both Almodovar and Amenabar. This exciting and fast-paced thriller is about a prison guard who becomes a prisoner himself and his attempts to negotiate with the insurgents.

    Haiti-born director Raoul Peck, whose previous films The Man on the Shore, the first Haitian film screened in the USA, and his much-acclaimed Lumumba, taking its title from the Congolese leader, will participate in the Festival with his final production Moloch Tropical which is a direct adaptation of Alexander Sokurov's Moloch, and where he provides a contemporary approach to the socio-political climate of the Haitian revolution for independence.

    Nesli Çölgeçen and his film Denizden Gelen / Brought by the Sea will be representing Turkey in the "Human Rights in Cinema" section, competing for the FACE Award.

    Other films that will be competing for the Council of Europe Film Award are as follows:

    • Son of Babylon / Mohammed Al-Daradji

    • Freedom / Tony Gatlif

    • Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story / Yousry Nasrallah

    • Honeymoons / Goran Paskaljevic

    • Northless / Rigoberto Perezcano

    • Ordinary People / Vladimir Perisic

    • The Day God Walked Away / Philippe Van Leeuw

    • Radikal People's Choice Award

    As every year, one of the media sponsors of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts the Radikal Daily will present one film from the National and one from the International Competition the Radikal People's Choice Award. Votes by the Festival audience dropped in the Radikal poll boxes will determine the winning films. Two lucky winners chosen among the voters will be invitees of Radikal to visit the Sofia Film Festival.


    The Istanbul Film Festival will honour film lovers in the Akbank Galas at the Atlas Movie Theatre at 21:30 screenings. In the scope of the acclaimed Akbank Galas, film lovers will have the privilege to watch nine films before anyone else.

    One of the much-awaited films of the Akbank Galas is A Single Man, the debut by acclaimed fashion designer Tom Ford, who produced and directed the film adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel. With his role in the film as a gay college professor, Colin Firth won the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. Star actress Julianne Moore acts alongside Colin Firth.

    Another noteworthy film of the Akbank Galas is the opening film of the San Sebastian Film Festival, Chloé, the latest film from Canadian director Atom Egoyan, recalling Hitchcock thrillers. Chloé is a psychological thriller that is based on French director Anne Fontaine's 2003 film Nathalie.

    Renowned for her romantic comedies, Nora Ephron's last film Julie & Julia is based on the true story of two women who are passionate about cooking and have lived through similar difficulties although having lived in different eras. The starring cast includes Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Meryl Streep has won a Golden Globe in January and was nominated for an Oscar with her splendid performance in the film.

    Having gathered quite a fan base with his films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, director Richard Linklater's last film Me and Orson Welles tells the story of a passage to adulthood of a young actor discovered by Orson Welles. The film is an adaptation from Robert Kaplow's novel and the cast includes Zac Efron from High School Musical, Claire Danes and Christian McKay.

    Unparalleled director of indie movies, Jim Jarmusch will greet film buffs with a crime-thriller. With stars like Gael Garcia Bernal, Hiam Abbass and Tilda Swinton, Jarmusch's film The Limits of Control is a road movie that tells the story of a mysterious and loner character acted by Isaac de Bankole, whose illicit activities lead him to Spain.

    Todd Solondz, the master director of indie films from the US, will be participating in the Galas with his latest film Life During Wartime, which won the Best Screenplay Award in the Venice Film Festival. This black comedy follows suit with the director's previous film, Happiness. Todd Solondz will be in Istanbul for the festival and also give a master class...

    Director of Margot at the Wedding and The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach continues his tradition of depicting dysfunctional families with his last film Greenberg. Full to the brim with black comedy, Greenberg features Ben Stiller as a man who moves from New York to Los Angeles, all the while having to look after his brother. Baumbach himself, along with his spouse Jennifer Jason Leigh, wrote the screenplay for the film.

    Feo Aladağ's When We Leave draws much attention with a cast of Turkish actors and actress including Sibel Kekilli, Settar Tanrıöğen and Derya Alabora. The film premiered at Berlin Film Festival in 2010.


    In cooperation with Groupama and Groupama Gan Film Foundation, the International Istanbul Film Festival continues to restore and bring great Turkish cinema classics to the silver screen.

    This year, the special screening at Atlas Cinema on Wednesday April 7 features Atıf Yılmaz's 1978 classic Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım / The Girl With the Red Scarf. For many, this endlessly watchable timeless love story is a cinematic masterpiece. Leading actress Türkan Şoray and actor Kadir İnanır, preparing to receive this year's Cinema Honorary Award, will be at the screening to meet their fans.

    Over the last two years, with valuable support of Groupama and Groupama Gan Film Foundation, film lovers had the chance of watching restored copies of Erden Kıral's lost masterpiece from 1979, Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde / On Fertile Lands and Ö. Lütfi Akad's pioneering film from 1949, Vurun Kahpeye / Strike the Whore.


    • "Istanbul: Inside and Outside"

    In celebration of Istanbul's designation of 2010 European Culture of Capital, this year the Istanbul Film Festival offers its audience an exceptional selection of Turkish and foreign films featuring Istanbul. Sponsored by Türkmax, Istanbul: Inside and Outside presents 13 films with different perspectives of the city including Jules Dassin's Topkapi, Atıf Yılmaz's Ah Güzel İstanbul / Beautiful Istanbul and Jess Franco's cult erotic horror classic Vampyros Lesbos.

    Some of the other must-see productions amongst the selection include Ted Browning's silent film The Virgin of Stamboul (1920) and the short films Golden Horn Panorama produced by the Lumiere Brothers', utilising panning technique performed on the Golden Horn in Istanbul for the second time in history.

    • "Antidepressant"

    This year the Istanbul Film Festival allocates a special section to a very popular, gruelling but most entertaining cinematic genre - comedy. Sponsored by Comedymax, this new section makes a mix-match of 10 hilarious but stimulating films shaped by unique perspectives to humour and life.

    Inspired by a BBC series, In the Loop is a satirical comedy on US President and UK Prime Minister's aspirations to start a war in the Middle East. Directed by Armando Iannucci the film was nominated for Best Writing Oscar (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published).

    Getting the thumbs up from film critics, Whip It is famous actress Drew Barrymore's first attempt behind the camera. Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden and Juliette Lewis star in this film about a teenager girl trying her luck at a skating contest.

    Participating in last year's festival with Three Wise Men, Mika Kaurismaki's new film The House of Branching Love reflects the changing social dynamics of Finland through a couple breaking up and their relationships.

    Bunny and the Bull is a triumphantly funny and ingenious road trip film distilled through British humour. Director Paul King's visually Michel Gondry-like heroes embark on a journey from Britain to mainland Europe inside absurd decors made of cardboard and papier mache.

    Jacob Tierney's gripping teenager film The Trotsky tells the story of a high school student who thinks he is the reincarnation of Soviet hero Leo Trotsky. The former leading actor of Terence Davies' 1995 film The Neon Bible, Jacob Tierney's latest film as a director received Audience Awards at Tokyo and Halifax Film Festivals.

    • "Enchanting Mutineers: A Showcase of Independent Filmmakers from The Middle East And North Africa"

    "Enchanting Mutineers: A Showcase of Independent Filmmakers from The Middle East And North Africa" is another new section in this year's Festival bringing together the best of contemporary and independent filmmaking from Middle Eastern countries. The selection, curated by Rasha Salti from New York based art institution Arteeast, founded for promoting and supporting Middle Eastern cinema and visual arts, features fiction and documentary films from groundbreaking talents.

    Winning a FIPRESCI at Cannes and Best Director and Audience Awards at Beirut Film Festival, Amreeka is the Arabic pronunciation of America. Listed by Variety magazine as one of the "10 Must See Directors of the Year" Cherien Dabis' first feature film is about a young woman immigrating to Illinois from the West Bank. Director Cherien Dabis will be in Istanbul during the Festival.

    This section features Ahmed Abdallah's (2009) independent political satire Heliopolis focusing on the transformation of Egypt through five characters and is set in Cairo's Heliopolis district.

    Iranian director Bahman Kiarostami is featured with two short documentaries in this section. Treasure Cave is the ironic story of an Iranian museum harbouring the largest and most valuable collection of Western Art throughout Asia, hidden from the public eye since the Islamic revolution behind high walls, locked doors and long corridors in dark basements. The Statues of Tehran, on the other hand, questions the functionality of monuments in the post-modern mega metropolis of Tehran overloaded with ideology but weak in memory. Bahman Kierostami will be in Istanbul to attend this year's Festival

    • A Good Start: Best Debuts of the Last 30 Years

    Recently the Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD) assembled to judge all debut films released between 1980 and 2010 and chose Best Debuts of the Last 30 Years. Istanbul Film Festival has selected five debuts from this list for screening in scope of a special section called A Good Start. SIYAD's film critics will introduce these films at the screenings.

    SIYAD's selection of the best debuts include Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs; Jane Campion's Sweetie; Coen Brothers' neo-noir Blood Simple; Michael Haneke's Seventh Continent, and Lars von Trier's Element of Crime.


    • From the World of Festivals

    Sponsored by daily newspaper Sabah, Istanbul Film Festival's "From the World of Festivals" programme is a box of surprises. The alluring line-up invites festival audience to films from acclaimed directors, many of them waving awards from prominent festivals.

    Written by Claire Denis and famous French novelist Marie N'Diaye, White Material is about the anti-colonial movement in a nameless African country. Director Claire Denis returns to Africa 21 years after filming Chocolat for her new production which stars Isabelle Huppert, Isaach De Bankolé and Christophe Lambert.

    Lebanon is Israeli director Samuel Maoz's first feature film returning home with a Golden Lion from Venice Film Festival and Humanitarian Values award at Thessaloniki Film Festival. Praised as "the boldest and best film of recent wave of Israeli cinema", the film is about 1982 Lebanon War through the eyes of four rookie troopers stuck inside a tank. Director Samuel Maoz will be in Istanbul as a guest of the Festival.

    Festival followers are familiar with the name Lou Ye as director of Suzhou River and Purple Butterfly. With many of his films censored, Lou Ye received Best Script Award at Cannes in 2009 after dodging his obligation of getting an official permission from the Chinese government. Spring Fever is the director's latest film about a passionate love triangle with bold and boundless acting.

    Following her multiple award-winning debut Red Road, Andrea Arnold this time meets her audience with 2009 Cannes Jury Prize winner Fish Tank. Michael Fassbender, highly admired for his performance in Hunger and Inglorious Basterds, plays the good-looking sexy father figure in the film about the life of a hip-hop teenage girl.

    Rapt, the highly acclaimed political crime thriller by Belgian actor-director Lucas Belvaux, is based on the true story of famous French businessman Baron Edouard-Jean Empain's life overturned after his abduction in 1978. Rapt was nominated for best film at Cesar 2010. Lucas Belvaux is familiar name for festival fans from his 2002 trilogy and La raison du plus faible / Right of the Weakest that followed. Belvaux will be in Istanbul as a guest of the Festival.

    The name behind Merry Christmas, Festival's opening film in 2006, Christian Carion's new film Farewell is about the famous cold war spy Vladimir Vetrov's story of treason in an utopian attempt to change the world. Farewell features celebrated director Emir Kusturica playing the role of Soviet agent Sergei Grigoriev.

    Returning home with the Festival's Special Jury Award for A Film with me in It at last year's International Golden Tulip Competition in Istanbul Film Festival, Ian Fitzgibbon is back with more of his trademark breathtaking pursuits, this time with Dublin in the backdrop. With young actor Cillian Murphy playing the leading role, Perrier's Bounty is a compelling gangster comedy of a man trying to payback his debt within the 24 hour deadline.

    French director Robert Guédiguian's latest film The Army of Crime is about famous World War II rebel Parisian-Armenian poet Missak Manouchian and his international brothers in arms.

    A familiar name amongst the Festival participants over the past couple of years with Love Songs and Beautiful Person, Christophe Honoré's latest film Making Plans for Lena is about a single woman and her crusade of survival with brilliant leading role performance by director Honoré's favourite Chiara Mastroianni.

    Film enthusiasts will remember the name Still Walking, Hirokazu Kore-eda's 2008 film featured at last year's Festival. The director's latest film Air Doll is the humorous and sad story of an inflatable doll exploring life after mysteriously coming alive.

    Korea's nominee for the Oscars, Mother is acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho's latest film following the worldwide monster hit The Host. Amidst the widespread social collapse in Korea the film is about the struggle of a mother trying to protect her mentally disabled boy.

    • Documentary Time with NTV

    Sponsored by NTV, this year the Documentary Time with NTV will feature documentaries on a variety of issues including environment, music, plastic arts, conspiracies, religion, cinema, science, fashion, dance and politics.

    Possibly this year's most eagerly awaited documentary is The Shock Doctrine, the joint efforts of Golden Tulip winning director Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross. Adapted from famous author and activist Naomi Klein's book with the same title, the film tackles the concept of what Klein describes as "disaster capitalism".