The Ankara Cinema Association was founded in 1998 by a group of film enthusiasts who were already running the Festival on Wheels since 1995. Alongside the Festival on Wheels, a modern-day cinema troupe hosted every year in four-six cities, the Association has organized film weeks presenting different national cinemas. In the process, audiences in Ankara and a number of other cities in Turkey have been introduced to the films of Finland, France, Britain, Israel, Iran, South Korea, Egypt, Greece and Canada.
Ankara Cinema Association also organized film weeks abroad such as Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain and USA. Ankara Cinema Association gives great importance to Turkish cinema. In 2003, following a poll of 324 film professionals, the Association selected the Ten Best Turkish Films of all time and, with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, KODAK and Fono Film Studio, created new English subtitled prints of the films. The Ten Best Turkish Films made their world premiere in July 2004 at the 39th Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
For all that, the Ankara Cinema Association sees more to cinema than simply screening films and, as a mark of this, has published several books, largely in tribute to prominent figures of Turkish Cinema. The titles include: ‘Tuncel Kurtiz, the Actor’, Censorship in Turkish Cinema’, ‘His Name is Atıf Yılmaz’, The Director Ömer Kavur’, ‘A Star of the Screen: Hülya Koçyiğit’, ‘An Attempt to Analyse the Cinema of Metin Erksan’, ‘Laughter and Melancholy: Sadri Alışık’, ‘Destiny: Zeki Demirkubuz’, ‘What’s An Actor Anyway: the Book of Münir Özkul’, A Master of Simplicity: Lütfi Akad’, ‘From Freedom to Loss and Thereafter’, ‘The Cinema of Reha Erdem: Love and Rebellion’, ‘A Time in the Country’ and ‘Class Relations: A Timeworn Representation?’.
The Association was also involved in the filmmaking process, firstly as production coordinator on the Zeki Demirkubuz feature The Confession, which was shot in Ankara (2001), and latterly as co-producer with state broadcaster TRT on The Legend of Mount Ida, a documentary film by Tuncel Kurtiz (2002).
In 2007, the Ankara Cinema Association organized a Short Film Screenplay Competition as part of the Festival on Wheels, the aim being to give young filmmakers the opportunity to make a film with a professional crew. Five screenplays were subsequently made into films and the omnibus version, titled Kars Stories (Tales from Kars), had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival.
The Ankara Cinema Association has also produced the last three films made by director Zeki Demirkubuz, Inside (Yeraltı), Nausea (Bulantı) and Ember (Kor) respectively.
In an altogether different capacity, the Ankara Cinema Association represented Turkey on a number of international projects. These include, amongst others, the Med-Screen Project, an initiative that covered Middle Eastern and African countries bordering the Mediterranean and aimed to promote the films of these countries in the European market; and Greenhouse, a project devoted to the development of documentaries across the Mediterranean region, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The Ankara Cinema Association has been working with the Adana Golden Boll Film Festival since 2008 as coordinator of the festival’s international section.
In addition, the Ankara Cinema Association contributes to the promotion of Turkish cinema overseas as coordinator of the Turkish stands at Cannes and Berlin.
Similarly, the Ankara Cinema Association contributes to the promotion of Turkish cinema overseas in its role at the Venice and Sarajevo Film Festivals.
In recognition of its ventures in almost every area of the film industry, the Ankara Cinema Association won the İFSAK (Istanbul Association of Film and Photography Amateurs) Cinema Award in 1999 and Labour Award of the Eskişehir Film Festival in 2013.