It is the first and oldest film festival in Turkey. The Istanbul Film Festival is a chance to promote Turkish cinema around the world and an opportunity for people in Turkey to watch some of the international films that are unlikely to go on general release.
Azize Tan is the festival director. She said: “by hosting the international cinema society in Istanbul we are trying to establish bonds between Turkey’s cinema industry and the international industry. We introduce directors to Turkish directors and players. I sent tonnes of Turkish film DVDs to our foreign guests. They are curious about that.”
Filmmaker Yılmaz Erdoğan’s eagerly awaited movie The Butterfly’s Dream was one of the films screened in the festival competition. Set in 1940 in a city by the Black Sea, it is the story of two poets and their school literature teacher. The two young men dream of brilliant futures that, perhaps, may not be realised. It stars Turkish actor Mert Fırat, who spoke to us about the evolution of the local film industry. He said: “In our folk culture, with our theatrical narrations and with Kurdish poet Dengbej’s narration we have a diversified narrative culture. We have been drawn away from this culture. But with the improvement of Kurdish cinema and with the new Turkish directors who are questioning the history and society of Turkey we are opening ourselves to a new world.”
The Butterfly’s Dream has already gone on general release in Germany, Turkey and Kuwait.