×

Turkey Selects True-Life Drama ‘Ayla’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Entry

Can Ulkay’s “Ayla” has been selected as Turkey’s official candidate for the best foreign-language film Oscar, it was announced Friday. Based on the true story of a Turkish veteran of the Korean War, “Ayla” follows its characters against the background of the war in 1950 and revisits them in this century.

The film tells the story of a soldier who risks his own life to save a young girl he finds half-frozen and on the verge of death, smuggling her into his army base. Despite being unable to communicate with each other, the two form a strong bond. When the war ends and the soldier must return home, he cannot bear to abandon the girl but is forced to hand her over to an orphanage, hoping one day to be reunited with her. The pair were finally reunited 60 years later.

Ismail Hacioglu stars as the young soldier, with Cetin Tekindor playing him as an older man. Kim Seol and Lee Kyung-Jin play the eponymous Ayla as a young girl and adult, respectively. The cast also features U.S. actor Eric Roberts.

The selection was made by Turkey’s Artistic Events Commission (SEK). The 17-person committee, which includes Turkish film industry professionals as well as officials from the country’s culture and tourism ministry, selected the film from a pool of 13 films submitted for consideration.

“Ayla” is produced by Mustafa Uslu for local production company Dijital Sanatlar and will be released in Turkey Oct. 27.

Turkey has submitted films for consideration in the Oscar best foreign-language film category on 23 previous occasions but has yet to receive a nomination. In 2014, the country submitted Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Winter Sleep.”

The nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 23, 2018. The ceremony takes place March 4.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content