Turkish cinema has become a regular fixture on the international festival circuit these days, represented most recently by first time features, such as Ozgun Ozcelik’s media censorship-themed “Inflame,” which bowed this year in Berlin, and Emre Yeksan’s dystopian drama “The Gulf” which launched from Venice.
Variety has profiled several other directors, writers and producers who signal that a new generation is emerging within Turkey’s vibrant, albeit turbulence-riddled, film scene.
Ferit Karahan was born in the city of Mus, in the Eastern part of Turkey, in 1983. After several award-winning shorts he made his feature-film debut in 2013 with “The Fall From Heaven,” about two women whose brothers have been killed fighting on opposite sides of the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. “The Fall” won the nod for best first film at the Antalya Fest before going on to score more prizes on the international fest circuit, including at Italy’s Pesaro film fest.
“Death of the Black Horses,” which is in the Works in Progress section at the Antalya Forum, is a period drama set in the Kurdish area of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
At that time, the director’s grandfather was a bandit “in the mountains of Kurdistan,” he says. He used to tell stories “about members of a family who became enemies after an unfortunate incident. What seemed like a minor detail at that time was the [crucial] question of why the Kurds, Turks, and Armenians who had been living in harmony during the Ottoman Empire suddenly became mortal enemies once the war began,” Karahan notes.
“What drove me to make this film is the belief that the current turmoil in this part of the world is caused in no small part by our failure to confront and come to terms with questions raised by what happened 100 years ago,” he adds.
follows two women whose brothers have been killed as their lives intersect. In 2001, during the peaking political turmoil in Turkey, Emine, an electrical engineer, starts working on a construction site in Istanbul where mostly Kurdish workers are employed. She gradually takes a hostile attitude against the workers, after her brother is killed in action during his military service. In the meanwhile, Ayşe, daughter of a Kurdish family in a southeastern village witnesses her family being forced to leave their land by Turkish local authorities andher brother killed by underground military forces. This nested story of Emine and Ayşe is about getting stuck between one’s social surroundings and conscience.