Turkish Actress in the Spotlight: Ayca Damgaci

By Nadir Operli
    Ayca Damgaci took the actor's mantra -- to use experiences from one's own life -- and parlayed it into Best Actress awards at the Istanbul, Sarajevo, and Adana Golden Boll film festivals in director Huseyin Karabey's My Marlon and Brando.

    Damgacı (born in 1973 in İstanbul, Turkey) quit her studies in Economics in order to become an actress. She attended the Sahika Tekand Acting & Art Studio and Istanbul University's Department of Theatre.

    After acting in several plays, in the summer of 2001 she met Iranian director Ravin Asaf who offered her a small role in his upcoming film Gelbe Tage (2003). Her role in this film drastically changed her life. She and Hama Ali Chan, the leading Iraqi actor of the film, fell in love during the shooting. Back in her homeland, Damgacı could no longer bear being away from him and embarked on a journey to Iraq. Because of the ongoing war in Iraq, it turned out to be an impossible goal, and the pair finallly managed to reunite in Iran.

    When she returned to Istanbul, the actress wrote a script about the affair. She and her friend Huseyin Karabey, further developed the script, which became Karabey's first feature, My Marlon and Brando (2008). Damgacı played herself in her first major film role, reliving the suffering of her real life experience. However, the result was worth the trouble: Both the film and Damgacı's performance have been praised in both national and international circuits, with Damgacı especially singled out for recognition.