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FESTIVALS Turkey

Blind and I Am Not Him pick up Golden Tulips at Istanbul

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- The Cineuropa Award goes to Come to My Voice by Turkey's Huseyin Karabey

Blind and I Am Not Him pick up Golden Tulips at Istanbul
Blind by Eskil Vogt

Eskil Vogt's Blind [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eskil Vogt
interview: Eskil Vogt
film profile
]
has won the Golden Tulip Award for Best Film in the international competition of the 33rd Istanbul Film Festival, which took place from 5-20 April. The Special Jury Prize in the thematic selection, which consisted of 12 films about the arts, or that were adaptations of literary works, went to Papusza [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joanna Kos Krauze
film profile
]
by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze. The jury was chaired by Asghar Farhadi.

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Films from both the international and national competitions were eligible for the Cineuropa Award, which went to Turkey's Huseyin Karabey for Come to My Voice [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hüseyin Karabey
film profile
]
. The film was supported in 2011 by theTurkish-German Co-Production Development Fund as part of the festival's industry section, Meetings on the Bridge.

The Film Award of the Council of Europe was given to The Missing Picture [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Rithy Panh, while the documentary Trans X Istanbul by Maria Binder received a special mention.

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's 20,000 Days on Earth [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
received the FIPRESCI Prize, and Xavier Dolan's Tom at the Farm [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
was the most popular film with audiences, receiving the Radikal Newspaper People's Choice Award. The same award in the national competition went to Come to My Voice.

Ten films were competing for the Golden Tulips in the national section.

I Am Not Him [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by writer-director Tayfun Pirselimoğlu received Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Music for the score by Giorgos Komendakis, tying with Ali Tekbaş, Serhat Bostancı and A İmran Erin's work on Come to My Voice.

Onur Ünlü received the Best Director Award for Let’s Sin, and the film's lead, Serkan Keskin, won Best Actor, while Best Actress went to Vahide Perçin for her performance in Ayhan Hanım.

Ahmet Sesigürgil received the Best Director of Photography Awardfor his work on Ozan Açıktan's Consequences, and Reha Erdem got Best Editing for his film, Singing Women.

The Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize went to Mrs Nergis by Görkem Şarkan, which screened along with six other films in the New Turkish Cinema section.

Once Upon a Time by Kazım Öz received the FIPRESCI Prize in the national competition.

"It was a challenging year for us, as the local elections took place only four days before the festival, which meant we couldn't get enough space for promotion," says festival director Azize Tan. "Also, the euro increased by 30% in relation to the Turkish lira, and as a substantial part of our expenditure is in euros, this meant we had to increase the admission prices. This is a sensitive issue, as we are an audience-orientated festival, and 30% of the budget comes from the tickets. As for public funding, we will not know how much money we're going to get before the festival is over, so this part is also very tricky.

"Furthermore, the political situation meant a problem with private funding. [Turkey's largest beer producer] Efes used to be our sponsor for Meetings on the Bridge, but with the recently introduced ban on the sale of alcohol, they had to close two factories and couldn't sponsor us anymore."

The closure of a number of cinemas in the city centre, including the two largest theatres – which are being turned into shopping malls – entailed logistical problems for the festival.

"Istanbul is not an easy city to navigate around, due to the huge population and the difficult traffic. We were struggling to establish a functional festival hub, and we partly succeeded by locating the three screening venues, the festival centre and the industry centre around Istiklal Street."

In spite of all these problems, the Istanbul Film Festival still manages to "support Turkish cinema on every level – from the production stage through Meetings on the Bridge, to the showcase of national films through several programme strands". 

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