53rd INTERNATIONAL ANTALYA FILM FESTIVAL Opens at the newly renovated EXPO 2016 Festival Center


Antalya, Turkey (October 17, 2016)… The International Antalya Film Festival (IAFF) opened to a star studded black tie event which was broadcast live on A Haber from the Turkish Riviera.  Hosted by Festival President: Menderes Türel, The Mayor of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality and Festival Director Elif Dağdeviren, IAFF is one of the oldest and most popular film festivals in Europe and Asia, where glamor and art mingle with cinephiles and international film professionals for a week-long event in October that runs from 16th – 23rd. 

The capital of the Turkish Riviera, Antalya has hosted this prestigious event for 53 years which regularly attracts celebrities from around the global bringing glitz to the highly chic tourist resort.  This year the festival opened with Hugh Hudson’s ALTAMIRA with Antonio Banderas, and Golshifteh Farahani followed by a special screening of Tran Anh Hung’s ETERNITY, starring Melanie Laurent (“Inglorious Bastards”), Bénérice Bejo (“The Artist”) and Audrey Tautou (“Amélie”).

Oscar nominated director Hugh Hudson (“Chariots of Fire”), who serves as Jury President for the International Feature Film Competition, was on hand to present his film about the true events surrounding amateur Archaeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola and his young daughter discovering the first cave drawings by man in the ancient rock caverns in Spain. 

The glittering opening ceremony featured celebrity guests from around the world including French star Audrey Tautou, along with Italian bellisimo Maria Grazia Cucinotta (“Il Postino”), iconic British heart throb George Hamilton (“The Godfather III”), who is in town to promote his latest film “Silver Skies” from award-winning director Rosemary Rodriguez (“Acts of Worship,” “The Good Wife”), John Savage (“The Deerhunter,” Salvador,” “Hair”), Puerto Rican-American Esai Morales (“La Bamba,” “NYPD Blue,” Rapa Nui”), and Danish actress Connie Nielsen (“Gladiator”) soon to be seen in next year’s highly anticipated studio film the Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment “Wonder Woman” who is here on the Turkish Riviera to promote “The Confessions” one the contenders for the International Award, which takes a questioning look behind the scenes of the meetings of the finance ministers from the G8 nations. 

The esteemed global guest list also included members from the National and International Juries for the feature film competitions.  Joining National Jury President Hugh Hudson was Golden Globe award-winning actress Andie MacDowell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”), Sarajevo Film Festival Director Mirsad Pruivatra, Award-winning Palestinian-Jordanian filmmaker Najwa Najjar (“Eyes of a Thief”),  Turkish-German award-winning actress Nursel Köse (“Yaşamın Kıyısında”), Dutch born Golden Globe award-winning actor Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner”), and British-American award-winning documentary filmmaker Wash Westmoreland (“Gay Republicans” 

The International Jury headed by well-renowned award-winning contemporary Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoğlu (“Honey”) was in attendance with his award-winning fellow contemporary artists – actress Beste Bereket (“Türev”), casting director Harika Uygur (“Mustang”), actor Mehmet Özgür (“Tepenin Ardı”), composer Orhan Topçuoğlu (“Ritmlstanbul”) along with American-Norwegian curator from the Tromso Film Festival director Martha Otte, and US journalist Sydney Levine.

During the glittering festivities, IAFF presented the Honorary Golden Orange Award to French darling Audrey Tautou.  The Golden Orange Lifetime Achievement Award went to Turkish music star Emel Sayın, and Honorary Awards were given to renowned Turkish talent filmmaker Feyzi Tuna (“Kuyucaklı Yusuf”), veteran actor Yılmaz Gruda (“Code Name: K.O.Z.”) and special Labor Awards were presented to prolific Dubbing Artists Altan Karındaş, Toron Karacaoğlu. 

IAFF has grown considerably since its 1964 inception – this year over 130 films will be screened in seven venues around the historic city including the premiere theater Aspendos at the Antalya Cultural Center.  Other hosting venues include the recently renovated Glass Pyramid, which will be the new home for the festival center and the EXPO 2016 Congress Center where both Opening and Closing ceremonies will take place.  Since last year, the Antalya Municipality has extensively invested in major improvements for facilities for the festival and has recently turned the pedestrian walkway between the Glass Pyramid and the Antalya Culture Center into ‘Festival Road’.  The Glass Pyramid will host numerous activities including panels, autograph sessions with Turkish and international actors, concerts, workshops and exhibitions. 

During the 8-day event, IAFF will present features, documentaries and shorts from local and international filmmakers.  The prestigious National and International Feature Film Competition will showcase 20 stories that bring to the spotlight socially responsible and politically engaging fare.  The international selection this year represents a gender balanced list of filmmakers competing for the esteemed Golden Orange Award with four women filmmakers and two films co-directed by women. 

Power of Cinema and its Social Responsibility

IAFF takes its social responsibility very seriously and its programs reflects the current global climate and in particularly the festival will present two special sidebars featuring films from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Turkey that put the spotlight on present-day events that is a universal issue facing humanity.  Films from “People of Nowhere,” showcases five films that share the plight of refugees and their struggle to maintain their dignity under extraordinary circumstances.  “The Sun’s Eclipse” is a tribute to democratic resistance to the recent failed Coup attempt and features seven films that explore the relationship between Coups, democracy and human rights. 

Antalya Film Forum and Film Tomorrow TMR (Talent & Marketing Rounds)

In its third year under the direction of Award winning producer Zeynep Atakan, Antalya Film Forum has become an integral part of the annual festivities.  The four-day event was established to support filmmakers during development and production stages of their films.  Since its inception, AFF has awarded over 1,000,000 TL to writers, directors, producers from Turkey and European countries.  AFF also provides opportunities for filmmakers to connect with industry professionals and offers Master Classes with Award-winning directors and producers to share expertise.

Initiated last year by Festival Director Elif Dağdeviren, Film Tomorrow was created to provide a platform for Turkish filmmakers to secure sales & distribution for their finished films.  The four-day conference includes workshops, panels, round-table networking opportunities with industry professional, sales reps and buyers.

The Golden Orange Award – Venus Statuette

Inspired by the Goddess Venus, and Antalya’s famous local citrus fruit the Orange, the iconic Golden Orange Statuette epitomizes the festival’s motto From tradition to the Future. Originally designed by the famous jewelry firm URART, it has been faithfully redesigned to honor Antalya’s 2,500-year-old historical landmarks – Antalya Castle; Yivli Minare, the fluted minaret; the Clock Tower, and Hadrian’s Gate as part of the city’s famous tourist attractions on the Turkish Riviera.


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About Author

Wyatt Phillips

Daniel Wyatt Phillips is a screenwriter, director, illustrator, and reviewer born and raised in Chicago, IL, he enjoys long walks on the beach, peperoni pizza, and worshiping at the shrine of Stanley Kubrick. Currently transplanted to Los Angeles to pursue a career in writing and directing. To check out his range of work, visit: https://vimeo.com/dwpfilm

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