Rejuvenated with a traditional procession which was attended by a record breaking number of people, honorary awards, the film competition, anthologies of great masters Ömer Lütfi Akad and Danis Tanoviç, Antalya Film Forum, Children’s Films Program, and Cinema and the Kitchen event, International Antalya Film Festival took to the world stage before ending with a magnificent ceremony.
Antalya Mayor and Festival Director Menderes Türel gave the opening speech of the night which started with the screening of a “looking back at the festival” video. World famous and award-winning directors whose films were in the official selection, world famous industry professionals, famous stars of Turkish TV and film industry and fans in Antalya came together in the night.
Türel started out by thanking people from Antalya for owning the festival and continued, “Everyday in the festival valley we hosted approximately eleven thousand people from all ages who love film. Over seventy thousand people from Antalya attended festival events during the past seven days. Close to thirty-three thousand film fans from Antalya filled up the outdoor film theatre where forty-two films were shown at the festival. Masters of world and Turkish cinema, great directors, producers, actors, young filmmakers and masters who lead the world film industry came together in our festival. One hundred sixty-eight filmmakers and eleven members of the press from abroad, and one thousand six hundred filmmakers from Turkey were hosted by our festival. Our festival made the news in important international media outlets. All eyes were on Antalya, “the city of cinema” for the past seven days. Antalya is as big as a country; therefore, our “cinema truck” acted as a festival-on-wheels by engaging with six thousand people in nineteen towns. Six thousand children met with cinema with the “Children’s Section” which was held for the first time this year under the theme “A festival for kids, a festival with kids.” We gifted chess sets to our children. In order to advertise Turkish and Antalya cuisines to the world we organized for the first time this year “Cinema and the Kitchen Section” where world famous chefs such as Eyüp Kemal Sevinç, Mehmet Akdağ, Pelin Bozkurt Bilgiç and Selin Kutucular brought together cinema and their special dishes. Our most important brand in the international arena, “Antalya Film Forum” proved its success one more time in making Antalya, which is a natural film studio, a cinema city and one of the centers of the world cinema industry, as well as in making our festival one of the most important festivals in the world. Close to five hundred filmmakers got together in Film Forum, many co-operation deals were signed. Many valuable projects and films joined our festival and competed in it. I thank everyone who attended and wish everyone success.”
Responding to critics, who questioned the mayor’s involvement with the festival and those who claimed that the festival should have had two competitions, with love and respect, Türel continued, “I would be happier if our film industry or the private sector organized this festival; however, this is our tradition of fifty-four years. I’m responsible for preserving tradition and helping Antalya reach its goals in the international arena. First there is Antalya and then us! Antalya has always been and will be the leading actor for me.”
Speaking after Menderes Türel, Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmuş said, “I thank the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, our Mayor and everyone involved in organizing this event for bringing us together in this beautiful hall. The 54th edition of the International Antalya Film Festival ends with such a great closing. This valued festival which takes place since 1964 will hopefully continue to rise in the international arena. And represent Turkey internationally.”
After the speeches, awards in 8 categories were given. “Young Jury Award” went to “Scary Mother,” “Dr. Avni Tolunay Audience Award” went to “The Guest,” “Behlül Dal Young Talent Award” went to Şükran Aktı for her acting in “Ugly Duckling” by director Ender Özkaharaman, and “Jury Special Award” went to “The Florida Project.”
During the exciting night, the performance of cabaret show “Yeşilçam On Stage,” which is a collection of new renditions of memorable songs from beloved Yeşilçam films starring Uğur Babaürhan, Behzat Uygur, Müge Zümrütbel, Süheyl Uygur and Ömer Yılmaz, and accompanied by the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra, was well liked by the guests.
In the magnificent ceremony, world famous actor Matt Dillon received an “Honorary Award.” In his speech his words, “I congratulate this great international event. Turkey is a beautiful country. I congratulate Turkey for its attitude towards the refugee crisis which the world has turned its back against.” were applauded for several minutes.
More awards were given in the night as “Best Lead Actor” went to Iranian Reza Akhlaghirad for his successful performance in “A Man of İntegrity” and “Best Lead Actress” went to Wen Qi for her successful performance in “Angels Wear White.”
Iranian director of “A Man of İntegrity” Mohammad Rasoulof received “Best Director Award” while Chinese director Vivian Qu received “Best Film Award” with her “Angels Wear White” which centers on two schoolgirls getting attacked by a middle-aged man in a hotel.