7th Istanbul Documentarist
Turkey, June 7 - June 12 2014
For seven years now, Documentarist — Istanbul Documentary Days has been offering the public of the lively and cinephile metropolis a specialized program of recent national and international production, as well as retrospectives. For the first time this year (from June 7th to 12th), the non-competitive festival founded by Emel Çelebi and Necati Sönmez hosted a FIPRESCI jury, which concentrated on a special selection from all over the world. It was therefore only a coincidence that the prize went to a local work: A Dream School in the Steppes (Tepecik Hayal Okulu), by Güliz Saglam, for its ability to arouse curiosity and fascination even if there is no previous knowledge about its subject (the amazing filmmaker Ahmet Uluçay), thanks to a creative, intelligent vision and structure.
The other distinction presented at the festival is the Johan van der Keuken New Talent Award for a first or second Turkish documentary. The multidisciplinary jury chose Reyan Tuvi’s Love Will Change the Earth (Yeryüzü Askin Yüzü Oluncaya Dek…) about the massive uprising that took place a year ago right next to the festival venues (located throughout Istiklal Street), to oppose the destruction of Gezi Park.
This year’s Documentarist’s program was structured around a Turkish Panorama, an International Panorama and three retrospectives: a tribute to Johan van der Keulen, a selection of Polish documentaries awarded at the Krakow Film Festival over the past five decades, and a special focus on Syria. It also presented tributes to outstanding filmmakers who have passed away in the recent months. The choice of combining films from different sections (with some screenings beginning with a Polish short film from the 70s followed by a recent feature from Syria, for example) underlined Documentarist’s comprehensive view.
The small, human-scale event is clearly audience-oriented, and other than the films themselves, it offered the Istanbulites a variety of workshops, panels and encounters, as well as many screenings followed by enriching Q&A sessions with filmmakers from a wide range of backgrounds. (Pamela Biénzobas)
Istanbul Documentarist: www.documentarist.org/2014/fest/eng/home.html