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Turkish Cinema: The New Generation – Muge Ozen, Producer ‘When I’m Done Dying’

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.

Muge Ozen started her career in the film business as a buyer for Turkish distributors D Productions and Mars Entertainment Group before becoming an executive producer, and eventually launching her own production shingle, Solis Film, in 2015. The company is dedicated to producing arthouse films that can travel internationally, favouring female writers and directors

Solis Film’s first project was ”Radiogram,” a first feature by Bulgarian director Rouzie Hassanova set in Bulgaria during the early 70’s when the communist regime considered rock’n’roll a national threat. This Bulgarian-Turkish-Polish co-production bowed earlier this year at the Haifa Film Festival. Among other projects Ozen has subsequently been developing is “In 5 Years” a concept pic by French-Lebanese first-timer Nathalie Sejean, which has been making the co-production platform rounds, and “When I’m Done Dying” the sophomore project of U.S.-based Turkish director Nisan Dag whose first feature “Across The Sea,” co-directed with Esra Saydam, scored multiple nods on the fest circuit, including Slamdance.

A teen relationship drama set amid Istanbul’s hip-hop scene, “When I’m Done Dying,” was selected earlier this year by Cinephilia Bound in Cannes and Mexico’s Cine Qua Non Script Lab, among other support initiatives, and is now among the Antalya Film Forum’s Pitching Platform projects. “Our main goal is to show how the hiphop culture, which originated in the U.S., is embodied in a Middle Eastern and Muslim setting,” says Ozen.

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