Organized by the Ankara Cinema Association with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism, the Festival on Wheels will be on tour with a showcase of cinema for the 23rd year from 1-14 December 2017. This year’s Festival itinerary takes in the cities of Ankara, Sinop and Kastamonu and, as every year, the show gets on the road in the capital, Ankara. From 1-7 December, the Festival on Wheels will be welcoming Ankara film lovers at the Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi (Contemporary Arts Centre) and Goethe Institut. Next stop from 8-11 December is Sinop, where the Festival will be hosted by the Municipality of Sinop and Telvin Arts Academy. And from here, the Festival moves on to Kastamonu, Kastamonu University Ahmet Yesevi Conference Hall, winding up its travels for the year between 12-14 December with the support of the Kastamonu University Film Club.
World Cinema 2017
Alen Drljevic’s Men Don’t Cry takes up the story of former combatants who undergo group therapy two decades after the war ended in former Yugoslavia. Vivian Qu builds a story about the community, justice, choices and love around the events that befall two schoolgirls in a sleepy seaside town in southern China in Angels Wear White. Iranian director Vahid Jalilvand’s No Date, No Signature, will screen for the first time in Turkey at the Festival on Wheels. Jalilvand explores the fate of a forensic doctor, Dr Nariman, when he knocks into a motorbike on his way home one night and injures the rider’s eight-year-old son. Wajib, the latest offering from Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir, finds its way to Turkish audiences for the first time at the Festival on Wheels. Wajib takes its title from a custom still practised in northern Palestine today whereby the men of a household are required to hand-deliver wedding invitations to all guests. Michael Haneke’s focus this time is the murkier aspects of an upper middle-class family, which he portrays with a characteristically ironical touch in Happy End. In City of Ghosts, Matthew Heineman turns the camera on ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, in a terrifyingly close-up portrait of Raqqa, the regime’s de facto capital in northern Syria. American activist directors, Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, are behind World Cinema’s second documentary, Chavela, which takes the viewer on a journey through the life of the iconic Mexican diva, Chavela Vargas, who died in 2012 at the age of 93. Agnès Varda, and JR decided to film the journey they made together through rural France, the result was Faces Places. This section is supported by the Embassy of USA and the Embassy of Austria.
First-time director Onur Saylak’s More (Daha) deals with the struggle of a 14-year-old boy to break free from his bullying father and find his own identity. Pelin Esmer’s Something Useful (İşe Yarar Bir Şey) is based on the story of Leyla, a lawyer and poet, meeting with Canan, a young student nurse, on an overnight train, and ending of their journey at somewhere quite different from what each was expecting. Emre Yeksan’s debut film, The Gulf (Körfez), tells the story of a middle-aged man who returns to his parental home in Izmir following a bitter divorce and confronts his mysterious past. Another of the first-time films in this section comes in the shape of Fikret Reyhan’s Yellow Heat (Sarı Sıcak) that takes up the story of a patriarchal family who struggle to make a living through traditional farming methods while the youngest son, İbrahim, dreams of shaping his own destiny. There will be q&a’s with film crews after the screenings.
Ercan Kesal’s Pick: Justice and Conscience
As part of its programme every year, the Festival on Wheels invites a figure from the world of cinema to choose a handful films based around a specific theme. This year’s guest is the Turkish actor-writer, Ercan Kesal, who has singled out three titles for festivalgoers. Each of the films offers a different treatment of the theme of justice and conscience, which Kesal regards as “the fundamental problematic of our existence”. His selections are: Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman (2016), Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Killing (1988) and 12 Angry Men, the 1957 production directed by Sydney Lumet. Each film will be presented by Ercan Kesal.
If You Knew Your Fate, Would You Do It Anyway?
Denis Villeneuve, one of the most sought after directors working today. The Festival on Wheels will present two of his most thought-provoking and visually arresting works with Kitty Aal’s presentations: Polytechnique (2009) a dramatization of a real-life mass shooting in Canada where several female engineering students were murdered by an unstable misogynist in 1989, and Incendies (2010), a superbly crafted piece in which two privileged but rootless westerners are forced to reconcile themselves to the brutal realities of the Middle East.
Comedy Italian Style
With Comedy Italian Style, the Festival on Wheels invites audiences to sample Italian film from the 1960s, perhaps one of the most entertaining periods of cinema history with the collaboration of Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival. The comedies tend to deal with burning issues of the day such as sex, marriage, pregnancy and divorce and include: the Pietro Germi directed Palme d’Or winner, The Birds, the Bees and the Italians (Signore & Signori, 1966); Antonio Pietrangeli’s I Knew Her Well (Io la conoscevo bene, 1965); and what is acknowledged as one of the finest examples of the period, Dino Risi’s The Easy Life (Il Sorpasso, 1962). Guy Borlée from Cinema Ritrovato will present the films.
Silent Divas: Timeless and Rebellious
As in previous years, important films from the silent era again make up one of the special sections of the Festival on Wheels programme. This year, there are two films in the section, which has been put together with the help of Elif Rongen Kaynakçı, a silent film curator at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam and with the help of the Embassy of USA and Embassy of the Netherlands. First film, The Spanish Dancer that is directed by Herbert Brenon is an American production which follows the adventures of Maritana, a gypsy dancer who falls in love with the impoverished nobleman, Don Cesar de Bazan. The second title in this year’s silent line-up is the 1915 Italian production, Filibus: Mysterious Pirate of the Skies. In this adventure film by Mario Roncoroni, the eponymous sky pirate is none other than the Baroness Troixmonde, who masquerades as a man in order to pull off formidable thefts in an über-modern airship. The two films are clear proof that silent cinema still has something to say. Both will be accompanied by live music from the Turkish band, Baba Zula and with the presentation of Walter Swagemakers from Eye Institute.
Film Meets Pantomime in Hollymood
Hollymood is essentially a ‘live cinema’ act that chronicles Holly’s adventures through video and live performance. Directed by Sandra Latanauskaite, the remarkable show stars pantomime artist, Evelina Brėdikytė, and incorporates scenes from a raft of American film classics ranging from Chaplin’s Modern Times to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. With Brėdikytė’s creative performance, images on the screen come alive before our very eyes. This performance is made possible with the contribution of the Embassy of USA.
Yol: the Full Version
Back in 1982, the Yılmaz Güney classic, The Way (The Way) shared the Palme d’Or with Costa-Gavras’s Missing. Thirty-five years on, The Way is back, but with a slightly different look from when it originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival. This is because the film has been re-edited with the addition of a sixth character, restored and digitized. After debuting at Cannes in the Classics 2017 section, Yol: the Full Version (Bilinmeyen Hikâyesiyle Yol) can be watched for the first time in Turkey at the Festival on Wheels with the presentation of the producer Donat Keusch.
Guy Ben Ner: Family, Lies and Videotapes
In his early work which will be screened on Festival on Wheels, Guy Ben-Ner adapted classics such as Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick into family films of a sort, using his wife and children as actors. Other artworks of him, Stealing Beauty, Soundtrack and Escape Artists are also on the programme of the festival. Ben-Ner frequently touches on themes such as literature, film, political and economic influence and adaptation in his work, which is brought to festival goers in a wide-reaching exhibition curated by Melis Golar. This section made possible with the contribution of the Israeli Embassy, will also host an Artist Talk with Köken Ergun and Guy Ben-Ner.
Short is Good and Children’s Films
With Short is Good, the Festival on Wheels puts together a mini-programme for short film fans. The section will be hosted once again at the Goethe Institut, where screenings will be free of charge.
For this year’s selection of Children’s Films, the Festival on Wheels has chosen to focus on work coming out of Canada. Although geared specifically to younger audiences, adults are also welcome at the screenings and admission is, as always, free of charge. Another bonus for children is the Animation Workshop led by Roland Schütz of Austria.