19TH FESTIVAL ON WHEELS TO HIT THE ROAD
Organized by the Ankara Cinema Association with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Festival on Wheels is gearing up to host film enthusiasts at its 19th edition, which runs from 27th November to 9th December 2013. The Festival will start out in Edremit on 27th November, before moving on to Ankara for more screenings between 29th November-5th December and travelling finally to Sinop from 6th-9th December. Screenings in Ankara will take place at the Kızılay Büyülü Fener Cinema, the Goethe Institut and the Contemporary Arts Centre (Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi).
Two Festival Openings: Edremit - Ankara
This year, the Festival on Wheels will hold openings first in Edremit and latterly in Ankara. A brief, one-day event will take place in Edremit to honour the memory of Tuncel Kurtiz, an unfailing friend of the Festival since it first took to the road. The day’s line-up will include screenings of Gül Hasan (Hasan the Rose), the dramatic feature Kurtiz directed in 1979, and a documentary entitled Tuncel Kurtiz: a Trusted Travel Companion of the Festival on Wheels. This newly made documentary is based on a compilation of archive material from the Festival on Wheels archive with contributions from close friends of the veteran filmmaker. There will also be further film screenings in the town throughout the day, staged with the support of the Municipality of Edremit.
The second opening of this year’s Festival on Wheels pays tribute to an important name in, and important period of film history. In its first ever screening in Ankara, Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film, Blackmail, will be presented with live music accompaniment at Ankara’s State Art and Sculpture Museum on the evening of 28th November in collaboration with theBritish Council. Blackmail is one of ten little known silent films Hitchcock made between 1925 and 1929; and the nine that survive have been painstakingly restored by the BFI (British Film Institute) in its recent ‘Hitchcock9’ project. This premiere performance, made possible by the British Council, will be accompanied by pianist, Hasan Ali Toker.
Continuing the Journey with Tuncel Kurtiz
Festival audiences will this year have the chance to see Gül Hasan (Hasan the Rose), an unconventional tale of Turkish immigrant workers in Europe which was directed by Tuncel Kurtiz in Sweden in 1979. Kurtiz, who co-wrote the script withNuri Sezer, also stars in the lead. Another film to look out for in this section is the Shimon Dotan directed Israeli production,Hiuch Hagdi (The Smile of the Lamb), which earned Kurtiz a Silver Bear at Berlin for Best Actor in 1986.
Turkey 2013, a selection of Turkish films made this year, promises once again to bring audiences the cast and director of featured titles at gala performances during the Festival. The programme for this section includes: Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun’sYozgat Blues, Köksüz (Nobody’s Home) from Deniz Akçay Katıksız, Onur Ünlü’s Sen Aydınlatırsın Geceyi (Thou Gild’st the Even), Gözümün Nuru (Eye Am), co-directed by Hakkı Kurtuluş and Melik Saraçoğlu, and Ramin Matin’s Kusursuzlar(The Impeccables). Also in the line-up are two dramatic features screened at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Reha Erdem’sJîn and the Kars shot Soğuk (Cold) from Uğur Yücel.
The Festival on Wheels will once more be bringing audiences a pick of the latest award-winning films from leading international festivals such as Berlin, Cannes and Sundance.
The bill includes Turkish premieres of The Great Beauty, Cutie and the Boxer, Workers, This is Martin Bonner andNobody’s Daughter Haewon, as well as first screenings in Ankara of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Past, Gloria and A World not ours.
Within the World Cinema programme at this year’s Festival on Wheels are four films based on the premise of breaking with the past to make a fresh start in life. Gloria, Chile’s submission for Best Foreign Film at the upcoming Academy Awards, came back from Berlin 2013 with multiple awards including Best Actress. It tells the story of a woman full of zest for life as she battles with old age and loneliness. The film is directed by Sebastián Lelio, who Festival audiences will remember from last year with El Año del Tigre (The Year of the Tiger).
Paolo Sorrentino ranks among the latest generation of directors to have made their mark on Italian cinema, and his large-scale production, The Great Beauty, an impassioned portrait of modern-day Rome, is one of the most sumptuous pieces of cinema to emerge in recent times.
Moving back across the Atlantic to the US, This is Martin Bonner takes up the story of the eponymous 50-something father who leaves behind his regular life and two adult children to begin a new life in a new city. Directed by Chad Hartigan, the film won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Also awarded at Sundance, this time with two nods, wasDavid Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which follows a jail-breaker as he sets out to find his wife and the daughter he has never met.
Love, Marriage and Family
Three films from three different corners of the world develop hugely different and in each case original narratives to examine the constructive and destructive aspects of love, marriage and family. Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, which won Bérénice BejoBest Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, is a many-layered and intricately woven study of complex family dynamics in an unravelling marriage.
In Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, the work of prominent Korean director Hong Sang-soo which debuted at Berlin, we have the story of a few days in the life of a young student who revives her troubled secret affair with a college professor as her mother moves to Canada. Marriage, on the other hand, is the focus of Cutie and the Boxer, an award-winner at this year’s Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. Directed by Zachary Heinzerling, the film charts the mercurial relationship between New York based artist Ushio Shinohara and Noriko, his wife of 40 years.
Humane Answers to Political Problems
The last two films screening in the World Cinema programme draw attention for the human stories they tell in addressing political issues, rather than resorting to all too often encountered didactic statements. Workers, a Mexican-German co-production written and directed by José Luis Valle, takes an entertaining and minimalist look at working-class concerns for the future in the parallel stories of two characters.
By contrast, A World not ours, a Berlin prize winner directed by Madhi Fleifel, takes up the themes of friendship, belonging and the suburbs. This story of three generations living in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon is based on family archives.
A Country: Chile
Every year, the Festival on Wheels homes in on the cinema of a particular country and the spotlight this time around shifts to South America. A Country: Chile showcases the recent work of Chilean directors already familiar to Festival audiences from previous years. Among films screening in this section are Sebastián Silva’s The Maid, the Alejandro Fernández Almendrasdirected By the Fire, Pablo Larrain’s Tony Manero and Play and the debut feature of Alicia Scherson.
This year’s Festival is presenting two films by Sebastián Lelio. As well as Gloria from the World Cinema line-up, audiences will have the chance to watch his 2005 production, The Sacred Family, in this section. Full-length fare aside, A Country: Chile also promises a pick of short films from Chilean cinema.
The program consists of short films such as Below and Videogame by Dominga Sotomayor, Titans by Edison Cájas, Tree Boy by Waldo Salgado Lemmermann, The Blessed by Mauricio López Fernández.
Barış Bıçakçı: The Shortest Distance Between Two Films
Turkish writer Barış Bıçakçı draws a readership from across the generations for his poetry, novels and short stories. This year, he has chosen two films for Festival on Wheels audiences, which will be shown in the section, Barış Bıçakçı: The Shortest Distance Between Two Films. In making his selection, Bıçakçı invites a fresh look at the human condition, at the transition from adolescence to adulthood, at what we have lost and the solitude of the countryside. In so doing, he also asks us to explore the shortest distance between the two films.
The films in this section are two modern classics from American cinema, and the shortest distance between them lies in friendship, brotherhood and the idea of wounded souls finding hope in communion. The 1984 Alan Parker drama, Birdy, follows two school friends as they struggle to pick up the pieces on return from Vietnam, each scarred by war in different ways. As for Lasse Hallström’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which brought young actor Leonardo DiCaprio Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his performance, this 1993 production looks at a family’s battle to survive through the relationship between a mentally challenged boy and his older brother.
Origin Ergun's Video Art
A video and performance artist internationally recognized for his work, Köken Ergun left this year’s Berlin Film Festival with an award for his documentary short, Ashura. At the 19th Festival on Wheels, audiences are promised Turkey’s first retrospective of Ergun’s video art, which has previously screened at the Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Sydney and Zagreb Film Festivals.
Among the video pieces on offer in this section are Binibining Promised Land, TANKLOVE, I, Soldier, Untitled, WEDDINGand The Flag, which won Best Short Film at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2007, as well as the eagerly anticipated Ashura. Ergun will himself be a guest of the Festival, and residents of, or visitors to Ankara will have a further chance to explore his work in an exhibition at the SALT Ulus. The show will open in Ankara on 5th December.
What is to be done?
Through the medium of film, the Festival on Wheels is encouraging audiences to reflect on ways of advancing the struggle for freedom and democracy. How can a world free of repression and exploitation be achieved? Where should we start? The films selected for this section elaborate on stories of collective struggle and individual endeavour in attempting to answer the question, ‘What To Do?’.
In his film 10%: What Makes A Hero?, award-winning director Yoav Shamir explores the notion of heroism through a multi-faceted lens, unveiling many truths about human nature in the process. Nostalgia for the Light, a documentary directed byPatricio Guzmán, draws stirring parallels between astronomers in Chile’s Atacama Desert and mothers searching for children who went missing under the brutal Pinochet regime. In the 1967 comedy-drama, Two or Three Things I Know About Her, director Jean-Luc Godard shares his thoughts on the state of modern society in a rousing and unconventional narrative. Meanwhile, The Stuart Hall Project, from documentary filmmaker John Akomfrah, paints a multi-dimensional portrait of Hall, the Jamaica born cultural theorist widely credited with establishing cultural studies as an academic discipline.
In conjunction with the film screenings, the Festival will be hosting a ‘What To Do?’ panel discussion which addresses issues such as alternative forms of organization, representative and pluralist democracy, along with urban activism.
Experimental Cinema: Austria – Turkey
This year marks half a century since the first examples of experimental cinema began to appear in Turkey; and in this section, audiences will find a collection of short films from Turkey and Austria, a country almost synonymous with the genre. In addition to the work of local filmmakers such as The Two Names of a Testimony About the Execution of a Happening and a Suitcase Full of Broken Records by Ozan Adam, Turkish Dream by Oğuzhan Akalın, Leave the City by Dilek Aydın, Partisans by Nurşen Bakır, Countdown by Ege Berensel, Overtime by Gürcan Keltek and Man to Man by Zeyno Pekünlü, something of a milestone in Turkish experimental cinema lies in store for film enthusiasts. This comes in the shape of The Dawn, a 1963 short by director Alp Zeki Heper, whose films have more or less been consigned to oblivion.
Experimental contributions from Austria include films like Happy End and Outer Space by Peter Tscherkassky, Passagenby Lisl Ponger, Copy Shop by Virgil Widrich, Mirror Mechanics by Siegfried A. Fruhauf and World Mirror Cinema 1 byGustav Deutsch.
Short Is Good and Children’s Films
The Short Is Good and Children’s Films sections will again feature in the Festival programme, as every year. The short films, selected from close to 1000 entries from around the world, will introduce audiences to innovative works of cinema from different countries, among them the US, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Jordan, Portugal and Serbia. The films in this section are Primate Cinema: Apes As Family (Rachel Mayeri), House (Ahmad Saleh), Forst (Ulu Braun), Sunday 3 (Jochen Kuhn), Your Place (Sylvia Borges), Steffi Likes This(Philipp Scholz), Echo (Merlin Flügel), The Ham Story (Eliška Chytková), Kiki of Montparnasse (Amelie Harrault), Junkyard(Hisko Hulsing), Nation for Two (Chaja Hertog, Nir Nadler), The Mass of Men (Gabriel Gauchet), Alice in the Sky (Jonas Meier), Coffee Times (Maria Fredriksson), The Night of the Bear (Sam and Fred Guillaume), Rabbitland (Ana Nedeljkovic, Nikola Majdak Jr), Vocabulary (Sam Baixauli), Parvaneh (Talkhon Hamzavi), Gambozinos (João Nicolau).
Turning to Children’s Films, this section will be screening non-dialogue animated shorts from the likes of Estonia, Spain, Latvia and Norway. The films in this section are Pupil’s Concert (Jan Otto Ertesvag), When Apples Roll (Reinis Kalnaellis),Grand Prix (Marc Riba, Anna Solanas), Miriam’s Food Processor (Andres Tenusaar), Corrida (Janis Cimermanis),Miriam’s Green Spots (Priit Tender), Red Rider (Martinš Paulinš), Wonderful Day (Nils Skapans).
Running as a parallel event, the Animation Workshop also awaits younger audiences. The workshop, to be held in Ankara, offers youngsters the chance to make their very first films and will be led by Jenny van den Broeke of the Netherlands, a specialist in working with children.
Master class: Actors through the Eyes of Actors
In two separate master classes to be held in Ankara during the Festival, seasoned actors Nurgül Yeşilçay and Taner Birselwill evaluate screen performances picked out from different films. The sessions are open to all and further details are available on our social media accounts.
On Wheels Traditions Live On
Since the year dot, Behiç Ak has been a staunch supporter of the Festival on Wheels, contributing fun and original poster designs for every edition. This year he will again be part of the Festival with a 19th poster.
Festival announcements, the programme, films and events can be followed from the Festival on Wheels official web site,Facebook page and Twitter account. You can also download photos from the Festival’s Flickr account and view trailers on theVimeo account.
Films in this Festival
Jenny van den Broeke, Leonie van den Broeke