Venice Horizon: Satire ‘The Announcement’ Focuses on Turkey’s Past

In the summer of 2016, Turkish helmer Mahmut Fazil Coskun was scouting locations for his latest film, a based-on-a-true-story satire about a coup attempt in 1963, when news broke of a failed plot against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It was the sort of mordant coincidence that could have been pulled from “The Announcement,” Coskun’s third feature, which world premieres in Venice’s Horizons sidebar.

Playing out over the course of a single night in Istanbul, pic follows a group of disgruntled soldiers who seize a radio station in order to announce that their co-conspirators have toppled the government — a putsch that by dawn has fizzled out across the country.

While the same plotline in the hands of another helmer could’ve played out as a tense thriller or high-octane actioner, Coskun decided to make a different statement by showing the conspirators as they bungled through their minor parts in the country’s larger drama.

“What would happen if we don’t see any action?” he recalled asking himself. “I thought this could be a more interesting idea.”

The Announcement” was inspired by diaries Coskun began reading in 2014, describing the real-life events depicted in the movie. The attempt to seize the radio station was treated as little more than a footnote in his reading, but the director saw in that small-bore story a chance to show “the power of ordinary people” who, while ostensibly written into the margins of the history books, “are making the real history.”

In the wake of the failed coup of 2016 — which quickly led to a wide-ranging crackdown by Erdogan — Coskun was forced to put production on hold, realizing that the climate was too sensitive for a film that might have been perceived as a commentary on current events.

Two years later, it is not an easy time for filmmakers in Turkey. The government’s broad clampdown has cast a shadow over artistic freedom, while the weakening lira has sent production costs soaring. After President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was doubling tariffs against Turkey in mid-August, an already battered currency went into a tailspin.

As the standoff between the two countries intensifies, Coskun confessed that he didn’t understand how the dispute — ostensibly over Turkey’s imprisonment of an American pastor — had grown so heated. “My thought is, ‘Please don’t have this conflict, because it affects the Turkish lira too much,” he said. “Please stop fighting!”


More Film

  • Jennifer Lopez Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson Film 'Marry Me' Moves Back to Universal From STX

    The Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romantic comedy “Marry Me” has moved from STX back to its original home, Universal Pictures. STX previously took over the project in April. Kat Coiro is directing from a script written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Colombian singer/rapper Maluma has joined the cast and [...]

  • Austin Butler to Star as Elvis

    Austin Butler to Star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann's Biopic

    Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its king of rock ‘n’ roll. After numerous screen tests, Austin Butler has been tapped to play Elvis Presley in Luhrmann’s next feature film for Warner Bros. The studio tested with a handful of actors in full hair and make-up at the end of June to see who [...]

  • 'The King's Man' Trailer Debuts With

    'The King's Man' Trailer Showcases Secret Service's Origins

    Disney is promising plenty of sword-fighting, gunplay and devastation in its first teaser trailer for the Fox spy comedy prequel “The King’s Man.” The studio unveiled a first look Monday that sets the stage for an origin story of the private British  intelligence service, portrayed in the two previous films in the franchise: 2014’s “Kingsman: The [...]

  • Emma Stone Damien Chazelle Babylon

    Emma Stone Eyes Damien Chazelle's Next Film 'Babylon'

    “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle is heading back to Hollywood for his next feature film “Babylon,” and Emma Stone is in early talks to star. Sources say Chazelle has met with a handful of suitors over the past couple weeks, and Paramount and Lionsgate are both vying to land the project. While Chazelle previously [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    2019 Imagen Awards Nominations: Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas and More

    Jennifer Lopez and Antonion Banderas are among this year’s Imagen Awards nominees, which span a range of categories including informational programming, on-air advertising, outstanding individual performances and prime time programming in film and television. The Imagen awards were first established in 1985 upon recommendation from TV veteran Normal Lear in an effort to recognize more [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content