25th Istanbul International Film Festival

Turkey, April 1 - April 16 2006

The jury

Blagoja Kunovski (Macedonia), Ahmed Hassouna (), Antti Selkokari (Finland), Anita Piotrowska (Poland), Firat Yücel (Turkey), Ayla Kanbur (Turkey)

Awarded films

We owe a lot of thanks to Hülya Ucansu. She put Istanbul on the map of influential film events not only on the Balkans (by keeping it nevertheless pleasant). She brought the world of international cinema to the Turkish metropole and to a curious and openminded public; and she filled her foreign guests and friends with enthusiasm for Turkish cinema which she showcased well thought-out and engaged. That she one day, sooner or later, would leave the festival was obvious, after 24 festivals (of 25). Only, that this happened in the middle of this year’s edition and in a way which can’t be called decent — this did surprise and perplex visitors, public and the Turkish press. A short press release informed that she would be leaving, and would be replaced by her assistant Azize Tan. The background are discrepancies between her and the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, company which entertains the festival. After all, this was no dignified end of an era. The Foundation would have been, and still is well advised to take advantage of her reputation, her know-how, her connections, in what function ever. (Hopefully, these bridges are not broken off.) In any case, Azize Tan, her successor, will have a tough job and needs a lot of luck.
How well the festival worked in favor of Turkish cinema, could be seen in the case of Reha Erdem’s new film Times and Winds. It won almost all prizes (also from FIPRESCI, prize coming with 30.000 USD given by Efes Pilsen) and was, on the spot, invited to a series of international festivals. On the other hand, the film My Father and Son found most public attention — film which successfully and same time in a problematic way refers to the popular Turkish cinema of the 60s and 70s (the socalled Yesilcam period). Turkish cinema moves between these poles: the authors’s and the popular cinema. By the way, Atif Yilmaz, the pioneer who died recently, had unified, in his best films, both tendencies.
In the international competition, our jury voted for Michael Winterbottom and his A Cock and a Bull Story. (k.e.)