Motion picture history is being brought into the present in Çukurova, Adana province. Çukurova holds an unquestionable place in Turkish cinematic history.
The opening of the Adana Cinema Museum by the municipality will coincide with the 18th Altın Koza (Golden Boll) Film Festival, which will take place from Sept. 17-25. The museum will be housed in a restored historic mansion on Seyhan Street.
Çukurova, once famous for its cotton industry, was an outstanding place in which to find actors and actresses for Turkish cinema. Yılmaz Güney, Ali Şen, Bilal İnci, Mümtaz Sevinç, İrfan Atasoy, Şener Şen, Aytaç Arman, Menderes Samancılar, Cem Erman, Yüksel Arıcı, Demir Karahan, Abdurrahman Keskiner, Ali Özgentürk, Nebil Özgentürk and many other cinematic greats were raised in this fertile land.
Outdoor cinemas were a favorite of locals but are about to vanish now. Just as agriculture and industry did, cinematic culture and the heart of art also grew dim in Adana. Nevertheless, most streets in the city are named after old movies, and cinematic tradition in the city strives to live on thanks to the Altın Koza Film Festival.
The first festival was in 1969; as the event was not organized annually, this year will see the 18th festival take place. The Adana Cinema Museum, one of the most important projects in this year’s festival, will shed light on Çukurova’s cinematic history. Wax statues of writers Abidin Dino and Orhan Kemal will be on display. Also in the collection will be signed letters written by actor and director Yılmaz Güney, along with black and white photos and a cap he wore in the film “Seyyit Han (Toprağın gelini),” actors Yılmaz Duru’s and Mahmut Hekimoğlu’s costumes, Irfan Atasoy’s typewriter, hundreds of original movie posters, a model of an outdoor cinema, 35mm movie cameras and a collection of other items and props.
An educational role
Thousands of documents and archives in the museum’s collection are still being catalogued. The museum will also have a role in education. Zihni Aldırmaz, the Adana Metropolitan Municipality mayor’s representative, stated that Çukurova was one of the most outstanding supporters of the cinematic arts. Reminding that Çukurova was the hometown of many famous Turkish stars, he pointed out that there is still ongoing filming of many television series in the region. “We only lacked a cinema museum in Adana. We have restored the first of seven historic mansions next to the Atatürk Museum, and it will be opened as a cinema museum for art lovers,” he said.
Ozan Aksu, general director of Altın Koza, also wanted to see a cinema museum open. Aksu noted that they will highlight the works of artists identified with Adana in the museum and that Yılmaz Güney will be featured. Aksu emphasized the benefits for Turkish cinema that the museum would bring, and that it will soon turn into a rich archive.
Aksu stated that posters and works regarding the history of the Altın Koza Film Festival will also be exhibited in the museum. He asked that citizens also consider donating any relevant items they may have in their possession. “We took the first step, but that is not enough. Citizens may donate any relevant belongings they have. This would make the museum more meaningful,” he stated, adding: “Some movie lovers donated very valuable pieces that they kept in their houses for years when they heard about the museum. We expect more donators. Adana will take advantage of it. We want to inherit something persistent. We know that significant film festivals have taken place in Europe for many years. This kind of a culture develops over years. We also plan to have such a culture develop through the museum project. That will be one of the most notable attempts of Altın Koza.”
Movies to be available all year
Books, catalogues and posters regarding Turkish cinema will be on display. Students studying radio, television and cinema and researchers will have opportunities to gather information at the museum. Aksu explains these as follows: “We plan to have a small pocket cinema and a section featuring a film academy in the museum. Not only during the festival week but all year we want to bring directors, scriptwriters, actors and actresses together with movie lovers here in Adana. We will organize this department as a class.”
Aksu pointed out that as far as he knows, the only other cinema museum in Turkey is the one opened by Türker İnanoğlu in İstanbul. He also noted that in addition to the Yeşiloba Martydom Museum -- National Struggle Library, which was re-established after a long period, the Karacaoğlan Literature Museum Library opened recently in Adana, the restored Sheikh Cemil Nardalı Mansion, which had been used as military quarters will also become a museum. He then brought to mind the number of culture and art museums in Europe and said: “Anatolia has a very rich sense of history. We should reveal it so that people will come and see it. Museums have a lot of importance.”