Two Stories of a Murder wins at Akbank Short Film Festival

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Today’s Zaman: Now in its fourth year, the Akbank Short Film Festival honored the best short films in the fiction and documentary categories at a ceremony in Ä°stanbul on Thursday evening following an outstanding 10-day program under the theme “A Gathering of Short Film Makers.”

Among the 343 films that entered the festival’s competition this year, 20 fiction and 10 documentaries in the “Festival Shorts” were nominated by Altyazı magazine Editor-in-Chief Fırat Yücel, actress Beste Bereket and festival coordinator Selim Evci in the pre-elimination round.

Mehmet Aslan’s “Bir Cinayetin Ä°ki Öyküsü” (Two Stories of a Murder) was named best film in the fiction category by the festival’s jury, which consisted of cinema writer Atilla Dorsay, director Ezel Akay, actor Fikret KuÅŸkan and Akbank Art Center Manager Derya Bigalı, for its impressive acting, editing, camera and color editing. The film, which is an adaptation of a story by Turkish writer Ferit Edgü, depicts a story from two different points of view in a bold and avant-garde style. In the documentary category Dilek TaÅŸdemir’s short “Ä°ntihar Ederdim” (I Would Have Committed Suicide) was chosen for its portrayal of Turkish director Mustafa Uluçay by documentary filmmakers Nebil Özgentürk and Tolga Örnek, photographer Ä°zzet Keribar and narrator on the road Tayfun TalipoÄŸlu. Along with these two films, which brought their directors a cash prize of YTL 5,000 each, Seyfettin Tokmak’s “Güvercin Taklası” (Pigeon Tumble), Senem Tüzen’s “Unus Mundus,” Alper ÇaÄŸlar’s “Camgöz,” TimurtaÅŸ Onan’s “Sokak Çocukları” (Street Children) and Oktay Altunnar’s “Sis” (Fog) were given honorary mentions.

The festival offered a wide selection of films by inviting important productions that had received awards at world festivals in 2007. Among the highlights of this section were love stories “Ahora todos parecen contentos” (Now Everybody Seems to Be Happy) and “Ah Ma” (Grandma), which received best short film and special mention, respectively, at the Cannes Film Festival; a mysterious story with its attentive cinematography “Résistance Aux Tremblements” (Shock Resistant); and a pretentious experimental short film “Der Ostwind,” which has been accepted for showing at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to these, 18 animation shorts that have won awards at international festivals were hosted in the “Animation Shorts” section.
This year’s “Short to Feature” section of the festival was dedicated to auteur DerviÅŸ Zaim and Austrian director Virgil Widrich, both of whom set out in their careers with short films and continued their cinematic crusade by directing feature films. A selection of their short films as well as both of their debut feature films was screened. Festival-goers had an opportunity to meet with Zaim.

In order to contribute to the development of documentary film culture, selections from the doyen of Turkish documentary cinema, CoÅŸkun Aral, were shown, and he was presented with an award of recognition at the closing ceremony. Aiming to translate theory into practice, workshops given by Ümit Ünal on scri ptwriting, Ayla Algan on acting and Güven Çatak on machimina — which entails shooting films with computer games — attracted huge interest from cinema buffs.
Festival coordinator Evci, who is also a director himself, was pleased with the exuberant festival, stating that the record level of contenders is a precursor of promising films in the near future of Turkish cinema. “Cinema is an area that can only be improved through trial and error. Although the increasing number of short films and their quality is not parallel in Turkey, I am very optimistic about the current situation,” he told Today’s Zaman. “In Turkey short films are generally directed by young university students, and there are only a few directors who are interested in making short films professionally since it is practically impossible to support one’s self by being a short film director,” Evci said, adding that even though short films could be considered an exercise for feature films, they have their own feeling, style, taste and artistic value.

Following the Ä°stanbul International Short Film Festival in November, directors whose task is relatively easier than that of previous generations, with increasing access to proper equipment and support from numerous film festivals and the Ministry of Culture, once more had the opportunity to get together with their audiences during the festival and discuss problems and developments in short films in recent years.

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