Masterclass: Iikka Vehkalahti

Documentarist 2009 gave the film makers a wonderful opportunity to meet and discuss Mr. Iikka Vehkalahti world known documentary professional. And I was one of the lucky people who had this chance at 7 June  in Pera Museum Theater, Istanbul.

Iikka Vehkalahti 2

Mr. Vehkalahti is a board member in Steps International, Steps India and IDFA. He has served as commissioning editor for YLE TV2 Documentaries in Finland since 1998. He is also the executive producer for “Steps for the Future”and is a serious producer for “Why Democracy”. He directed several awarded-winnig documentaries which are “Past is Present”, “Man From the Shadow” and “Daughter of a Terrorist”.

During more than 6 hours class he presented us his ideas such as what makes a documentary project extraordinary and worth of the production; differences between tv documentaries produced for weekly consumption and real documentaries, their global projects “Why Poverty” and “What’s Wrong With Men” open all the filmmakers around the world. And of course he also mentioned about many essential and critical subjects for documentary filmmakers.

We saw some examples of best / interesting documentaries from the world today and of them  I saw this year in Filmmor which is “To See If I’m Smiling” directed by Israeli filmmaker Tamar Yarom. Beside the touchy story it has, this movie was remarkable for it’s camera using during interviews.

After he answered our tens of questions we watched the 10 min. teaser of  feature length documentary Kümenopolis which has been still in production procedure and directed by  İmre Balanlı. I loved his shots, technique and also the subject he has choosen. The film about unplanned architecture and 3rd Bridge project in Istanbul and also about a Kurdish family who has been living accomodation problem. I wish him luck to find some funds or producer to finance his movie.

Iikka Vehkalahti 1

At final Mr. Vehkalahti demanded us to present our own  documentary projects if any of us have some. Me and 4 other persons presented our documentary projects to discuss with audience. As  I remember 3 of them were not directors but I don’t remember the other friend was a director or not. Mr. Vehkalahti ciriticised the all 5 project ideas and gave us important tips. He wanted  the audiences  choice  their favorite project which is worth for financing. Couple of audiences and film makers gave their opinions about the projects and had their choices.  It seemed almost every project is good and can find it’s  own way.  Personally I’m glad to hear my project has been liked and it can have a chance in the future for its realization. It was interesting experience for me to share my project with people there and him but that’s for sure I should’ve explained it less complicated and more compact way:-)

As he said, documentary films as an art form as a purpose to stay for ever, having the strong touch of the director who sees, being local at the same time universal and most local films are actually the most global films.

Many thanks to Iikka Vehkalahti and Documentarist organizators…

Orkide Ünsür


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