Tag Archives: film festival

Acting as a Jury Member for the 11th National Short Film Festival

son afiş küçük

I was one of the jury members for the 11th National Short Film Festival (March 26-29, 2013) by  Istanbul Short Filmmakers Association (IKFD) & Dogus University Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Department of Visual Communication Design.

The *jury meeting was held on March 23rd at Dogus University. We watched the 16 finalist films and discussed them until late hours. Since all the films were great,  it was really hard for the jury members to select the winners.

Lunch with some jury members

Lunch with jury members

Here are the winning films of this year’s National Short Film Festival:

Short Fiction Category:

1st Place 1st Place Festival Winner: Consensus directed by Gülten Taranç

2nd Place Festival Winner: Düğün (The Wedding) directed by Sertaç Yumun

3rd Place Festival Winner: On (Ten) directed by Ece Ger

Best Documentary

Hala (The Paternal Aunt) directed by Veysel Akşahin

The jury members were rewarded with a trophy plaque and a gravure art issued by Dogus University at the opening night of the festival on March 26th.

The winner films were announced on the closing night of the festival on March 29th and the filmmakers had their awards. Veteran actor Şemsi İnkaya and actor/screenwriter Ercan Kesal received honour awards.

As a filmmaker, it was a lovely & exciting experience for me. Thanks to all the Turkish filmmakers who did submit their films to the festival.

* The Jury Members of the 11th National Short Film Festival: 

Aydın Bağardı (Dogus University Faculty of Fine Arts And Design, Department of Visual Communication Design/Filmmaker/Scriptwriter)

Prof. Dr. Funda Savaş Gün (Department  Head of Visual Communication Design, Dogus University- Faculty of Fine Arts And Design)

Haşmet Zeybek (Scriptwriter/Writer)

Mehmet Güleryüz (the President of SETEM, the Association of Film Directors, Writers and Composers)

Asst. Prof.  Mustafa Bülbül  (Dogus University Faculty of Fine Arts And Design, Department of Visual Communication Design/Filmmaker)

Prof. Dr. Neşe Kars Tayanç (Istanbul University Faculty of Communication, Department of Radio, Television and Cinema )

Oktay Güzeloğlu (the President of the Istanbul Short Filmmakers Association /Filmmaker/Writer)

Orkide Ünsür (Filmmaker & Scriptwriter)

Prof. Dr. Şükran Esen ( Marmara University Faculty of Communication, Department of Radio-TV and Cinema)

Toprak Sergen (Actor, Host, Producer)


Sitophobia is finalist for WILDsound Screenplay Contest

I’m proudly announcing my one page screenplay SITOPHOBIA is selected as finalist for WILDsound FALL/WINTER  2011   1 page Screenplay Contest.  WILDsound Film Festival is  Toronto, Ontario / Canada based film festival which has different categories.

SITOPHOBIA will be read at WILDsound's Saturday October 22nd festival event. Then there will be a vote online where people will pick the winner, which will be made into a film. I must say, writing a one page screenplay is an exciting and enjoyable experince as well as great challenge it is.

Here are the all finalists:

“COASTLANDERS 8 to 8” is awarded

Behind the Camera

“COASTLANDERS 8  to 8”  has won the 3rd Best Documentary Award in 8th Istanbul International Environmental Short  Films Festival, the Category of National Competition.

Festival closing and the award ceremony will be taken place  at  Atatürk Cultural Center in Büyükçekmece on Friday 11, 2010.

Schedule of the 11th International Dhaka Film Festival

“COASTLANDERS 8 to8” will be screened on  Tuesday, Jan.19. 2010  at the 11 th International Dhaka Film Festival. Here is the festival schedule:


“COASTLANDERS 8 to 8” will be screened at the International Dhaka Film Festival

“COASTLANDERS 8 to 8” is selected as finalist for the “11th Dhaka International Film Festival”

The 11th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held in Dhaka from 14 to 22 January 2010. ” Festival categories are; Competition Section, Retrospective, Women Filmmakers, Tribute(s), Cinema of the World, Focus, Bangladesh Panorama, Independent Films, Children’s Film Festival and Spiritual Films.

“COASTLANDERS 8 to 8” is the only Turkish film which is selected as finalist for the category of Women Filmmakers. A selection of full-length feature films as well as short length and documentary films by female filmmakers will be screened at this year’s DIFF. An independent jury of female filmmakers, cultural experts, artists, and professionals will be appointed by the Festival Committee to judge this portion of the competition.

List of the Festival Films:


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

New Possibilities In Documentary Production and Meetmarket

Hussain Currimbhoy 2Sheffield Doc/Fest Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy was one of the guests of Documentarist 2009 in this year. On Saturday 6, he organized a panel for documentary film makers in Istanbul about “New Possibilities in Documentary Production and Meetmarket”.

Sheffield Doc/Fest is one of the most important and remarkable documentary film festival industry session programme and market place, offering pitching opportunities, discussion panels and in-depth filmmaker masterclasses documentary films from all over the world. Every year almost 1500 guests are invited and 1200 movie applied for the festival. The 16th Doc/Fest will be held in Sheffield from 4-8 November 2009. Beside media professionals famous documentary film bloggers are attending to festival such as Agnes Varnum who is also documentary film programmer for several film festivals, Ray Pride and A.J Schnack who are also documentary film directors. In past years world known directors and other film professionals were the guests of the festival like Michael Apted, Nick Fraser, Morgan Spurlock, Michael Moore, Dennis O’Rourke, Errol Morris and many other more…

Hussain Currimbhoy

Mr. Currimbhoy explained Doc/Fest opportunities in details to Turkish documentary film makers and gave us some tips too. We also talked and discussed about film funds, financing, finding producer themes and magic word “matcmade”. Thanks to film critic and documentary film maker Necati Sönmez for his invitation to him and of course thanks to Hussain Currimbhoy for his coming:-) It was very helpful and informative panel.

Masterclass: John Malkovich

I attended to Masterclass of world famous, unique actor John Malkovich in 28th International Istanbul Film Festival. I must say it was stunning experience for me. Even I was the first one asked him a question, just before workshop finished he gave me the chance to ask another questions which I forgot to ask because of my excitement ? So I am thankful to him.

Since the movie “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988) which has been the first encounter with him for Turkish audiences we loved J. Malkovich at first with his distinctive charisma that is still same and seems will never diminish in the future. It was quite enjoyable and interesting to listen his anecdotes about his professional life and cinema and also exploring his high intelligence, sense of humor, humble side of his personality which is hidden under the surface of his little arrogance and distance.

First I asked him that he is one of the idol actors on this planet every director wants to work with, if he has any idol director or directors. And I asked what the “good director” concept meant for him as an actor, as a director and as a producer (By the way I would like to congratulate the translator guy who was very successful about clear and net translations without skipping any details). Malkovich said he had no criteria about “good director” concept. But he considers himself lucky to finding a chance for working with very important directors. On the other hand he also missed the chance to work with some directors he really wanted to work with because they were already dead. According to Malkovich, a director’s past works and working style can not give him certain reference about the same director would have the same quality of work and working style with him.


While he was mentioning his thoughts on the relationships between his directors as an actor and also the relationships between his actors/actresses as a director; he already replied my “good director” question.

“ My duty as a professional actor is feeling a director’s vision. All in all it’s his/her dream not mine. Making or directing a good movie is very hard job. It’s me who is working for a director, director is not working for me. Director is the boss. When I am working as a director, I set my actors/actresses free as much as I can. I ask them questions, I try to communicate them and I try to find a way together with them. For instance I don’t care what they did at the rehearsal 4 months ago but today’s performance. I observe where they did please me where they don’t. If I feel something is not convincing about their acting, I say them immediately. Directors know the technique, framing, lightning but lots of them do not know how they can work with and motivate the actors/actresses. You can feel yourself as a puppet or as a monkey while working with them as an actor. Sometimes they express themselves with very interesting or strange gestures and you have to decode them. As a result, I have learned a lesson which is it’s you have to adapt to director not vice versa.”


Malkovich said Michelangelo Antonioni and Manoel de Oliveira have priority and importancy of him and he is very pleased to work with them. Whenever they meet Manoel de Oliveira who is 101 now and still trying to make movie, blows up Malkovich’s mind with his talent. He says Oliveira is a wonderful director and tells us a little story about him.

“ One day me and Oliveira were together for talking about a movie project of him. I don’t know Portuguese and he doesn’t know English so we speak French. He has no script in his hand but the idea in his mind. He talked about the project for 1,5 hours. I was very tired and sleepless. So I said I accepted the project. He said “o.k.” and just began to talk about his second project. I couldn’t believe my ears! But he is very intelligent, talented and also brave director, it’s impossible for me being disrespectful or saying no him. Amazing guy…”

He said in 1976 he joined Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary Sinise. During those days he had an actress girl friend and her influence had a great deal for him as choosing his career as an actor. Malkovich added that there was no role so far that he loved most or the closest to his real personality but he feels most comfortable himself in his character at “Of Mice and Men.

My other questions to Malkovich were about his director and producer parts which are not known so much in common. “ Mr. Malkovich I know you are interested in fashion. You made 3 short fashion movies ‘Strap Hanging’, ‘ Lady Behave’, ‘Hideous Man’ collaborated with Bella Freud who is fashion designer and great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. And I had a chance to watch the ‘Hideous Man’ which is very interesting and cool movie. Do you have new short fashion movie projects with Bella Freud? And my last question is: Your last movie as a producer is a documentary about the migrant children who cross illegally Mexican border to get to the U.S. How did you come up with this idea? And what are the reasons to drive you to make a documentary?


He was surprised a bit about I had watched “Hideous Man” and he said he didn’t know yet if he was gonna make another short fashion movie. But he knew he could not make with Bella Freud because she was no longer working as a fashion designer now. About “Which Way Home” documentary, he said that he’d watched with his director friend Rebecca Cammisa 10 minutes documentary about migrant children. The video and the humanity tragedy of the children have inspired them to make this documentary movie together. He wants to make other documentaries in the future with Rebecca Cammisa who’s gotten the best documentary director award in Sundance Film Festival in 2002.

“You generally end up choosing one of the roles that were designated for you. Till today I played almost every different kind of role. But nobody asks me if I want to play a ballerina?” It would be marvellous experience if we could see this brave and stunning actor acting as a ballerina…

An Exceptional Swedish Vampire Story: “Let The Right One In”

The Swedish film “Let The Right One In” was one of the most remarkable movie I’ve seen this year in Istanbul Film Festival . The movie was adapted from a novel by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist and both the book and the movie got the same title. This exceptional and interesting vampire movie is telling the story about a strange relationship between 12 years old boy and 12 years old girl who will stay for ever at the same age. The movie itself has a stunning visuality and minimalist expression style on the other hand.

Let The Right One In” is beyond the fantastic vampire horror movie which has fun elements from time to time; mainly focussing the concepts “adolescence, being a man, violence tendency, lack of love, communication problems in family, loneliness, and discovering romanticism and love .

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant)  is a 12 years old lonely, asocial, pale beauty boy living with his mother in Stockholm suburb. His parents are divorced and he misses his father ever. He has no friend at school. He frequently experiences verbal and/or physical violence by bunch of aggressive and spoiled students. Yet he can not resist back or complain about it. But he has a strange violence tendency inside. He has a scrapbook with full of newspaper articles about bloody, wild murders. Some nights he fights with his imaginary enemies in his room.

Oskar’s boring life during day time at schools and night time at his room or at the cold, snowy white back yard changes completely right after he meets with –more or less- 12 years old mysterious Eli (Lina Leandersson)l who has just moved to his apartment with a man. She is a night walker, barefoot in the cold winter time. These two lost souls somehow create their own language like Mors Alphabet. Their encounter of each other happens in perfect timing. Though there’s a doubt how long this would last…

The guy she lives with Håkan (Per Ragnar) (might be her guardian or her slave or a pedophile but definitely not her father as she mentions in the movie) kills people reluctantly and collect their blood with his special method for feeding Eli. One of his murder attempts he fails and he is being captured. He burns his face with acid (may be for punishing himself or being not recognized by Eli) Eli finds him at the hospital. Attacks and kills him in cold blood.

Having no hesitation to kill innocent people for her survival, Eli has vampire talents such as climbing the walls. She teaches naive and intelligent Oscar to protect himself, attack to enemies, awaken his violence which sleeps inside of him and at the end of movie she becomes a “bold and strong princess” who saves his life with inversely heroic mission.

Eli lives in dirty and untidy apartment and with her less pale skin (compare to Oskar’s), shabby and tasteless outfit very far away from the aristocrat, rich, elegant look which we often see in lots of vampire movies. On the other hand, she has money. She even offers to give money to Oskar and shows him an enigmatic gold object which is very valuable in her opinion.

Award winner cinematograph Hoyte van Hoytema presents us horror and cold atmosphere of the film locations with stable and beautiful frames as painting. And sometimes he is focusing his camera on the different prettiness of two children with a nice contrast which Eli’s innocent yet scary and dark beauty and Oskars too naive and fragile blond beauty for a boy.

Especially the pool scene at the final has an impressive and astonishing visuality with its wonderful underwater shoots has hidden violence and atrocity feeling.

Ostensible “Happy End” comes, Oskar leaves home and has a train journey with Eli who is in the box for avoiding from sunshine. But it would be an illusion considering this as a “happy end”. Because it’s fake. Oskar probably would become the “next father” of Eli and same final would wait for him in the future. Perhaps “Let The Right One In” is just the romantic and mysterious story made up by a lonely, unhappy boy who has adolescence problems for avoiding hurting realities. Who knows?

Orkide Ünsür

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