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Antalya: Film Forum Offers Platform for Turkish Films

Christopher Vourlias

With more than half a century under its belt, Turkey’s oldest film festival has established itself as a premier showcase for local cinema.

In recent years, though, organizers of the Antalya Intl. Film Festival have ramped up their efforts to turn the fest into an industry launching pad that offers vital financial support and mentoring to Turkish filmmakers.

Central to those efforts this year will be the third edition of the Antalya Film Forum, which runs from Oct. 19-22, offering a production and co-production platform for Turkish films currently being developed.

“As a producer, I’ve witnessed many stages of the film industry,” says AFF director Zeynep Atakan, “and I realized that … the biggest challenge for Turkish filmmakers was project development.”

Twenty-six projects have been selected to participate in the forum this year, where they will be presented to international juries in the feature fiction, feature documentary, and work in progress pitching platforms.

In its short history, the AFF has had some notable success stories. Tolga Karaçelik’s “Sarmaşık” (Ivy), which took part in the inaugural forum, had its world premiere at Sundance; three projects from last year’s edition – Soner Caner and Barış Kaya’s coming-of-age drama, “Rauf”; Mete Gümürhan’s doc about child athletes, “Genç Pehlivanlar” (Young Wrestlers); and Ümit Köreken’s debut “Mavi Bisiklet” (Blue Bicycle) – all premiered in Berlin before arriving in Antalya this year.

Such success underscores efforts to build a bridge in this sun-splashed Mediterranean city between the local industry and the rest of the world.

“We want to develop Turkish films…and get them ready for the global market, and make them more visible in the global market,” says Atakan. “We want this global [presence] starting from Antalya.”

The forum will include a full slate of master classes, private meetings, panels and workshops catering to Turkish film professionals. Along with providing support and mentorship, the AFF will award cash prizes of 30,000 lira (around $9,700) to a total of four projects in the fiction and documentary sections, and a cash prize of 100,000 lira (around $32,400) to one Work in Progress. A number of additional awards will also be given out to support other projects.

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