Turkish Films Feted at LA Fest

'Yozgat Blues' to kick off expanded Los Angeles Turkish festival's feature schedule

Yozag Blues

Last year’s opening screening at the Los Angeles Turkish Film Festival, “The Butterfly’s Dream,” turned out to be the North American premiere of the film that became Turkey’s entry for the 2013 foreign-language film Oscar race.

This year’s edition of the hopes to showcase similarly important Turkish films.

The feature film program will kick off March 6 with “Yozgat Blues” by writer and director Mahmut Fazil Coskun. “Yozgat Blues”  follows two singers arriving in a provincial town looking for a break. The film was screened at the Istanbul Film Festival last spring and won the directing prize at San Sebastian in Spain.

The festival has increased the program from four to six feature films and Q&As will follow each screening, with the directors of each film expected to attend. More than 25 actors and filmmakers will travel from Turkey for the fest.

The  program will also include the annual shorts competition focusing on the work of 10 up-and-coming filmmakers. The finalists are selected each year by film critic Elvis Mitchell, host of NPR’s “The Treatment.”

Director Reha Erdem will attend the festival and serve as the jury president for the first time this year. He will head the short film competition along with Michelle Satter, founding director of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, and Jacques Thelemaque, writer-director and president of the LA Filmmakers Alliance.

Other top names attending the event are Mete Horozoglu, who is best known for his role in the Turkish drama TV series “Time Flies,” and Saadet Aksoy, the Turkish actress who made her debut with Semih Kaplanoglu’s “Egg” in 2007.

The Turkish fest will run  March 6-9 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.