A fresh crop of projects, mostly from a new generation of Turkish directors, will vie for prizes at the Antalya Film Festival’s industry forum, which is expanding in scope this year.
The forum, which runs Oct. 22-26, already has sections for local feature films, documentaries, and shorts in various stages. This year’s edition adds sections dedicated to projects seeking producers, a script-development strand, and one for pics shot in Antalya, in a stepped-up effort by the seaside Turkish resort city to become a cinematic hub.
Selected projects in various stages include “Butterflies,” a family drama with a twist by Tolga Karacelik, whose psychological thriller “Ivy” went to Sundance in 2015; “Crows,” a tale of spirituality and healing by Erol Mintas, who won top honors at the 2014 Sarajevo fest with “Song of My Mother”; and relationship drama “Little Things,” by Kivanc Sezer, who was in the Karlovy Vary competition last year with “My Father’s Wings.”
Other Antalya forum standouts are “Affection of The Heart,” a romancer set amid a Turkish tribe of nomadic musicians, helmed by Soner Caner, who co-directed 2016 Berlin standout “Rauf” (pictured), and “Brothers,” an honor killing drama by TV director Omur Atay who helmed a segment of portmanteau pic “Istanbul Tales,” which made a splash in Turkey and traveled internationally.
In a statement, Zeynep Atakan, the prominent producer who heads the fest’s industry side, underscored the “huge interest” in the newly funded platforms, which will award cash prizes, while the mayor of Antalya, Menderes Turel, who oversees the fest, said that the forum this year is “expanding the domain of the Turkish film industry.”
This year’s Antalya Film Festival is the event’s 54th edition. Fest organizers have merged the Turkish and international competition sections, a move that has angered some local film-industry trade groups, which say the festival’s Turkish identity is being diluted. The lineup will be announced later this week.
Antalya’s new artistic director, British producer Mike Downey, said in a statement that the beefed-up industry forum was a “catalyst” for “early interaction” with international film executives. Titles supported by the forum in the past three years include “Rauf,” which shows the Turkish-Kurdish conflict from a child’s perspective; Ozcan Alper’s historical drama, “Memories of the Wind,” which tackles the taboo Armenian genocide issue and screened at Sundance; and documentary “Mr. Gay Syria,” which recently won the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Human Rights Award.
In a strategic move, the forum is now strengthening its ties to Sarajevo, where Turkish projects have always had a strong presence at the festival’s CineLink co-production market, reflecting the long-standing cultural ties between Turkey and the Balkans. Mirsad Purivatra, director of the Sarajevo Film Festival, is coming on board this year as an Antalya consultant.
Other entities with close potential ties to Turkish producers who will be sending reps to the forum include the Croatian Audiovisual Center, the Georgian National Film Center, the European Documentary Network, Iran’s Farabi Film Foundation, and the Kosovo Film Center, as well as the Torino Film Lab and the Sofia Meetings.
All projects at the forum will benefit from a a wide range of curated networking and mentoring opportunitiesm including one-on-one meetings, matchmaking sessions and tutorials.
Prominent international distributors and producers expected to make the trek to the fest include Participant Media’s Diane Weyermann, Paris-based Cedomir Kolar, Czech producer Rudolf Bierman, Hungary’s Laszlo Kantor, Hong Kong’s Nansun Shi, and the U.K.’s Sean Bobbit and Gavin Poolman.