The 40th Istanbul Film Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), comes back roaring to life with both online and theatre screenings, thanks to Turkey’s Herculean efforts to vaccinate its masses
The 40th Istanbul Film Festival continues with screenings both on- and offline between June 18 and July 4, 2021. The festival, usually held over two weeks in April in theaters, was reorganised this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and is trying out a hybrid format.
The festival tickets went on sale to the public on June 17, 2021, and there is an air of cautious celebration around the festival. The tickets for the International Competition, available at passo.com.tr allow fellow film enthusiasts to once again greet each other at theaters, this time Atlas 1948 and Kadikoy cinemas –– albeit with plenty of social distancing and other rules to prevent the spread of the virus.
For example, theatregoers will be expected to provide their HES codes (a QR code indicating that they are not in a risk group for Covid-19), wear masks at all times, and to have a body temperature below 37.5 centigrades.
As of June 17, 2021, Turkey has vaccinated close to 24 million people (first dose), of whom 14 million have also received the second dose. The Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca has announced same-day vaccination opportunities to all those who qualify, that is, everyone over the age of 35. The vaccinations made in the last 24 hours are close to the 1.5 million mark, and doctors suggest that Turkey has the capacity to administer 2 million shots daily.
Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) has also considered Turkish residents outside of Istanbul, or those wishing to watch films from the comfort of their homes. For them, the festival has an online segment that contains films in the International Competition, as well as films in the Galas section, 16 feature and 6 short films in all. These will be screened via the festival’s online platform filmonline.iksv.org and can be viewed by anyone in Turkey.
As for the National Competition, IKSV authorities advise that it is being planned for the month of July, barring any lockdowns due to the pandemic. The Turkish film Dirlik Duzenlik (It’s All About Peace and Harmony) by Nesimi Yetik, vying for the Golden Tulip Award in the International Competition, will, in all probability, be screened in July, alongside National Competition films.
The Golden Tulip Award for the International Competition will hand out 10,000 euros (approx $12,000) to the director of the winning film, 50,000 TL ($5,835) to the film’s distributor in Turkey, and 5,000 euros (approx $6,000) to the film that wins the Jury Special Prize.
The International Competition features 11 films from nine countries, which will be screened from June 18 to July 4, 2021 in Atlas 1948 and Kadikoy cinemas.
The members of the jury for the 40th Istanbul Film Festival International Competition are director Radu Jude (jury president), director Mahnaz Mohammadi, actors Katia Goulioni and Numan Acar, and photographer and director Fabrizio Maltese.
With the exception of Dirlik Duzenlik (It’s All About Peace and Harmony), to be screened later in July, the films competing in the International Competition are: Censor by Prano Bailey-Bond (UK), Code Name: Nagasaki by Fredrik S. Hana (Norway), Death of a Virgin, and the Sin of Not Living by George Peter Barbari (Lebanon), Nemesis by Thomas Imbach (Switzerland), February by Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria, France), Madalena by Madiano Marcheti (Brazil), Cryptozoo by Dash Shaw (USA), Human Factors by Ronny Trocker (Germany, Italy, Denmark), Ulbolsyn by Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan, France), The Girl and the Spider by Ramon Zürcher & Silvan Zürcher (Switzerland).
In addition to competition films, there are many other gems to choose from: the Oscar-winner Nomadland (Chloé Zhao), actor Daniel Brühl's directing debut Next Door, Gia Coppola's latest feature Mainstream, Grand Jury Prize winner at Venice Film Festival New Order (Michel Franco), Berlin’s Silver Bear winner Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi), cult favourite The Man Who Saves the World by ‘jet speed director’ Cetin Inanc, who is slated to receive the Cinema Honorary Award this year at the Istanbul Film Festival, Berlin Golden Bear winner Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Radu Jude), best director winner at Berlin Natural Light (Dénes Nagy), Questlove's music documentary Summer of Soul which won the Grand Jury prize and Audience Award winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Hong Sang-soo's new film that received the best screenplay award at Berlin Introduction and legendary Turkish director Atıf Yılmaz's newly restored Metin Oktay melodrama Taçsız Kral (The Crownless King).
Thumbnail photo: Madalena by Madiano Marcheti (Brazil) is part of the International Competition section at the 40th Istanbul Film Festival.