Turkish Cinema: The New Generation – Ender Ozkahraman, Director ‘Ugly Duckling’

Turkish cinema has become a regular fixture on the international festival circuit these days, represented most recently by first time features, such as Ceylan 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.

Ender Ozkahraman, whose first feature “Ugly Duckling” will world premiere in the Antalya fest’s competition, worked for many years as a graphic novelist and cartoonist for prominent Turkish satirical magazine LeMan before veering into screenwriting and eventually directing a short documentary in 2015 titled “A Comedian Offended,” about a stand-up comic who fights the negativity of violent clashes between Turkish government forces and Kurdish insurgents with jokes.

“Ugly Duckling,” which Ozkahraman wrote and directed, is a drama that mixes the desire which a young woman named Eylem has for plastic surgery to make her nose smaller with the hardships and complexities of the Kurdish-Turkish conflict.

“In a land where the culture of dedication to political causes is widespread, the idea of investigating a young girl’s search for beauty feels like an exciting journey to me. Precisely in the same way that Eylem cannot resist her desire for beauty, and follows a dream,” he says.

 

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