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This year’s focus on Türkiye with Rifat Erkek

This year’s focus on Türkiye with Rifat Erkek

Every year at Author’s Passages: Mediterranean Interlacements, the focus is dedicated to a different country of our sea, this year it is Turkey’s turn. During the fourth day of the festival Marta Bulgherini introduced the selection of Turkish short films together with the guest Rifat Erkek, a film producer who thanks the whole team, especially Ado Hasanović and Dolores Calabrò who made this collaboration possible by cooperating in the selection of the short films.

The first guest in the room is Ramazan Kılıç, director of Serpêhatiyên Neqewimî (Things Unheard Of).

«I’m happy to share this film with an Italian audience, it won the jury’s special mention at Clermont Ferrand, where I made my debut, so I think it says something to people and is understood. I’m going to any festival in the world, so far I’ve been to over 125 festivals and brought home more than 40 awards. There are two aspects that gave me inspiration for this work: a technical one and an emotional one. I saw a photo taken by a French photographer near my city, in Azerbaijan, in that photo two children carry an empty frame of a television, from inside the frame you can see the landscape, so I started thinking about the story. The emotional part comes from the fact that I am originally Kurdish and as a Kurdish filmmaker I feel the responsibility to tell the story of my people, I decided to make a film in the mother tongue precisely because I wanted to show the Kurdish identity and spread the tradition of my country. »

Censorship in Turkey does not make film production easy, some Turkish festivals did not accept Ramazan’s film due to the political topic, the situation in Turkish production starts to become dangerous the moment your work is successful, so much so that the director has never been able to make a real premiere in his country.

«The protagonist child is my granddaughter and the grandmother is my mother. We didn’t find professional actors because they were afraid of appearing in the film given the political overtones, yet in my opinion it doesn’t talk about politics, but simply about human values. During filming some real soldiers arrived in the village and I had to tell them that the language we were shooting in was Turkish and not Kurdish, I would therefore like to work on this topic in a future short film, it is absurd that Kurdish is spoken in the country but cannot be used in cinema. Before this film I made many in Turkish, I like my country but not the government, after all I have a Turkish identity too, but I was born and raised as a Kurdish filmmaker and as an artist this is a problem for me, even though I love my country!»

Ramazan Kılıç



We then find in connection Sis Gürdal, director of A Quiet Summer, a summer romance between teenagers and pressure from their traditionalist families.

«I wanted to write a fiction about how relationships between young women are affected in a society like ours, full of social pressures. In the girl’s relationship with her cousin there are also my personal experiences, but the story is mostly entirely fiction. We used several surreal scenes but they all have a meaning, there are small details that all have their own importance in the story. I am also the producer of the film, as with several of my shorts, this is my first real narrative film, producing in Turkish and it was certainly challenging, but I was not completely alone, I had a lot of support! Now I’m working on my first feature film, it will be a long journey and I’m very excited.»

Frame from the short film A Quiet Summer by Sis Gürdal

Rifat Erkek closes the screenings by thanking the audience for watching all the films chosen together with Ado and Dolores. In Türkiye he is currently a producer and manages an online platform for filmmakers.

«On an independent level, Turkey is far behind, it works more on series. Unfortunately there is strong censorship, they don’t want films with sexual or pro-LGBTQIA+ themes to be produced, if you produce something similar you are put on the Turkish cinema blacklist. In Turkey very few films are supported and few receive funding, of those screened tonight only Game Interrupted received it, for example.»

Ramazan Kılıç, Dolores Calabrò, Luciano Cauli, Marta Bulgherini, Rifat Erkek and Ado Hasanović

Thanks to Rifat Erkek and to all those who made it possible to create, again this year, a section dedicated to Turkish screenings. The road for Turkish cinema is still full of obstacles, it is a pleasure and an honor for us to be able to host works like these at our festival, we wish good luck to all Turkish filmmakers and hope to be able to collaborate together again in the near future!

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