FESTIVAL ON WHEELS READY TO HIT THE ROAD
The 16th Festival on Wheels, organized by the Ankara Cinema Association in association with the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism, the Governorship of Artvin, the Municipality of Artvin and the Governorship of Ordu, will take to the road from 3-19 December, stopping over in the provinces of Ankara (3-9 December), Artvin (10-16 December) and Ordu (16-19 December) respectively. The Festival theme this year has been announced as ‘Coup d’Etat’.
Lives into Line!
In this 30th anniversary year of Turkey’s 12th September military coup, the Festival on Wheels is taking to the road under the banner ‘Coup d’Etat!’. The ‘Lives into Line!’ section is made up of films examining the impact of military coups not only in Turkey, but also in Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Greece. In particular, the films reflect on how military coups have overshadowed the future of these countries and essentially destroyed people’s lives. The line-up includes: Costa Gavras’s 1982 classic Missing, which tells the story of an American father searching for his journalist son, who ‘disappeared’ after being taken into custody in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship; more full-length feature films such as The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006), a portrait of 1970 Brazil through the eyes of 10-year-old Mauro, who is left with his grandfather by his parents when both become wanted political offenders; the Susana Sousa Dias documentary 48 (2009), in which the director uses a unique and innovative cinematic style to present a series of interviews with political prisoners during the 48-year military dictatorship in Portugal; and The Judge and the General (2008), a documentary co-directed by Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco, which traces the battle by Chilean judge Juan Guzmán, a supporter of General Augusto Pinochet until 1988, to bring the former dictator to justice.)
Turning to the home front, the section presents two films dealing with the September 1980 military coup: Beynelminel (The International, 2006), a feature co-directed by Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Muharrem Gülmez, which recounts the tragicomic events of the period through the band and provincial folk of a small town in south-east Turkey as they endeavour to fall in step with the military regime; and Özlem Sulak’s documentary 12 Eylül (September 12, 2010), which had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.
The Festival’s pre-release surprises are once again a highlight. Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere (2010), which walked away with the Golden Lion at Venice this year, rates as one of the year’s best titles, reflecting star performances from Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, and the film’s tone and texture. Film Socialism (2010), the latest film from leading ambassador of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, hangs loosely on the maxim, ‘Ideas divide us; dreams bring us together’, and develops through various conversations between the unorthodox passengers aboard a ship cruising the Mediterranean. Somewhere and Film Socialism will screen for the first time in Ankara.
Lives from City to Small Town
Unique to this year’s Festival is the section ‘Refugee in the City’, which introduces two remarkable documentaries about the consequences of urban regeneration projects for human lives as much as city plans. Astrid Heubrandtner’s My House Stood in Sulukule (2010) presents the demolition of Istanbul’s Sulukule district through the eyes of people experiencing the process first-hand. Meanwhile, Sophia Tzavella’s Paradise Hotel (2010) turns the camera on a residential area built by Bulgaria’s communist government 25 years ago, documenting how the tower block, once dubbed ‘Paradise Hotel’ for its comfort and mod cons, has since been reduced to a ‘Paradise Lost’. Both films will encourage audiences to question the urban regeneration projects permanently in the news in Turkey.
A Time in the Country
Having made the provinces its home for so many years, the Festival on Wheels offers a grateful nod to the countryside in this, its 16th edition, with a dedicated programme section, as well as a publication of the same title. While Vavien (2009), the latest feature from the Taylan brothers, sheds light on provincial life, different portrayals of the provinces are discussed in A Time in the Country, a collection of essays edited by Tül Akbal and Aslı Güneş. To be published by Çitlembik, the book explores the motif of the provinces in culture and the arts with contributions from Jale Parla, Tanıl Bora, Fatih Özgüven, Behçet Güleryüz, Aslı Kayhan, Tül Akbal, Janet Barış, Mesut Varlık, Ayşe Kayhan, Senem Aytaç and Burçe Çelik.
The Crazy Duo in Short
A retrospective of work by Swedish duo Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, a household name among short film devotees, stands to be one of the most eagerly anticipated sections of the 16th Festival on Wheels. Highlights of the line-up include Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers (2001), Hotel Rienne (2002) and Woman and the Gramophone (2006), three cult shorts by Simonsson and Nilsson, whose first full-length fiction film returned from Cannes this year with two awards.
Short is Good
The 16th Festival on Wheels programme also features ‘New Zealand in Short’, a collection of shorts by masters such as Niki Caro and Grant Lahood, as well as Festival staples ‘Short is Good’ and ‘Children’s Films’, which this year comprises a selection of animation films from the Slovak Republic.
Talk Sessions in Abundance
The Festival’s talk sessions, to be held in Ankara, also promise much excitement… A panel discussion entitled ‘Coups d’Etat, Cinema and Memory’, which is scheduled for Saturday 4th December, will be moderated by Mithat Sancar, with speakers to include Sırrı Süreyya Önder, co-director of Beynelminel (The International), Özlem Sulak, director of the documentary 12 Eylül (September 12) and socialist activist, publisher and author Ertuğrul Kürkçü. Meanwhile, guest speakers at a panel discussion on ‘A Time in the Country’ will be director Zeki Demirkubuz and editor-in-chief of Toplum&Bilim (Society&Science) magazine Tanıl Bora. Separately, the ‘Refugee in the City’ section is to include a Q&A session with the participation of Astrid Heubrandtner, director of My House Stood in Sulukule, Assoc Prof Dr Ali Cengizkan and Sulukule Platform activists.
During its Artvin leg, the 16th Festival on Wheels will be hosting a number of workshops led by prominent figures from the international film industry. University lecturer Leyla Özalp, who has worked on 28 fiction films, two television series and a documentary as, variously, AD, director’s assistant, production coordinator and producer, is to give a class on film producing, while Screen reporter Martin Blaney will present a workshop on film criticism. Artvin audiences will also have the chance to attend a workshop on reading films given by film critic Alin Taşçıyan and Ahmet Gürata, chair of the Visual Communications Design Department at Bilkent University. Meanwhile, 11-13 year-olds will be the focus of an Animation Workshop with instruction from Dutch animation artist Niek Castricum. Artvin will additionally be hosting Q&A sessions with accomplished actor Tarık Akan, whose filmography spans titles such as Sürü (The Herd), Yol, Maden (The Mine), Pehlivan (The Wrestler), Bir Avuç Cennet (A Handful of Paradise) and Deli Deli Olma (Piano Girl), together with Tayfun Pirselimoğlu, the director of Hiçbir Yerde (In Nowhere Land), Pus (Haze), Rıza (Riza) and Saç (Hair).
Films in this Festival
Niek Castricum and animation workshop with Cindy Beck
The films shot during the workshop were presented during the closing ceremony.