×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Antalya Festival Opens with Walken, Syrian Refugee Crisis-themed ‘Never Leave Me’

Walken receives festival’s Honorary Golden Orange at a splashy 3,000-crowd event

ANTALYA, Turkey — Turkey’s newly reformatted Antalya fest launched Saturday in the coastal resort town under balmy skies, striking a hopeful note in a region beset by crises.

Opening with a stirring look at children caught up in the Syrian refugee exodus, Aida Begic’s “Never Leave Me,” the gala for the fest’s 54th edition hosted some 3,000 of guests, serenaded by the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra.

As Begic noted to the well-heeled audience at the Antalya Expo Center, lessons from her film, in which real refugees play characters based on themselves, “we don’t all speak the same language, but we can still live together in peace and harmony.”

Several Americans were almost surprised to find themselves in town – many were unsure until the last minute whether the current U.S.-Turkish visa spat would prevent them from entering the country but Turkish airports appeared to be issuing visas upon arrival to U.S. visitors as usual.

The splashy opener, which followed a two-hour procession through the city’s streets featuring vintage cars and celeb passengers, included an Honorary Golden Orange prize for guest Christopher Walken and kudos for Juliette Lewis and for Turkish cinematographer Erkan Atkas, actresses Suzan Avci and Necla Nazir, and producer/director/screenwriter Osman Sinav.

“We are bringing a fresh outlook on the Turkish film industry,” said Antalya Film Forum director Zeynep Atakan, who heads the development and co-production platform, citing new sidebars and the premiere of a screening venue at the city’s Glass Pyramid.

The Forum supports Turkish cinema with more than 80 local projects participating, pointed out artistic director Mike Downey, marking the British producer’s first season at Antalya. He noted that audiences will also find “the best of the best from Cannes, Berlin, Venice as well as films by world-class Academy Award winning directors and artists.”

Guests at this year’s fest, whose growth and expansion contrasts with many such events that have faded or shut down in Turkey recently, include Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase (“Radiance”), “The Guest” director Andac Haznedaroglu and producer Chin-Chin Yap and cinematographer Murat Bay from Ai Wei Wei’s “Human Flow.”

An ambitious program for the weeklong fest, whose final details were confirmed Saturday, also illustrates the increasing role for one of the region’s most longstanding film events dedicated to looking outward.

More Film

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content