A glittering red carpet affair, Saturday evening’s Altın Koza (Golden Boll) film festival awards ceremony held at the Adana Merkez Park Amphitheater saw director Onur Ünlü’s gloomily titled “Celal Tan ve Ailesinin Aşırı Acıklı Hikayesi” (The Extremely Depressing Story of Celal Tan and His Family) trump tough competition to secure the Best Film Award in the national section of the prestigious competition’s 18th edition.
In what was a successful night all round for the İzmit-born director’s tragicomedy, the winning film, which tells the story of a retired law professor, Celal Tan, whose marriage with a younger woman leads to an unfortunate tangled web of family troubles, was also honored with the Best Screenplay Award along with a new jury award introduced this year for the Best Ensemble Cast Performance. The Best Film award was a dizzying TL 350, 000 this year.
Hosted by academic Özlem Gürses and actor Murat Başoğlu, the ceremony became far from a one-man show when Cemil Ağacıkoğlu was named best director for his first feature directing effort “Eylül” (September), starring Turgay Aydın, Görkem Yeltan and Elena Polyanskaya. The film, which had its world premiere last month in Canada at the 35th Montreal World Film Festival, is set to be released in Turkish cinemas this Friday.
One of the biggest success stories of the evening, however, was Özcan Alper’s “Gelecek Uzun Sürer” (Future Lasts Forever), which made a firm mark on the evening, winning five awards, including the Turkish Film Critics Association (SİYAD) Best Film Award and the Yılmaz Güney Award, a prize named after the acclaimed Adana born and bred actor, director, scenarist and novelist, Yılmaz Güney, who passed away in 1984.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Güney’s widow, Fatoş, described her husband as a “wizard of cinema who was always on the side of the ordinary people’s struggle for freedom,” adding that as long as Turkish and world cinema exist, Guney’s works will live on to inspire and affect people. Director Alper furthered added: “I believe this award is the most beautiful and most meaningful of all the awards. I just hope I can continue to make films that Yılmaz Güney would support.”
The award for best actor went to Durukan Ordu of “Gelecek Uzun Sürer,” with the award for best actress shared between Görkem Yeltan, the leading lady of Ağacıkoğlu’s “Eylül” and Hatice Aslan for her role in Mustafa Nuri’s “Vücut” (The Body.) In other successes of the evening, Ruhi Karadağ’s film “Simurg” (Simurgh) a docudrama produced by Karadağ’s 6-year-old Simurg Film Company was awarded the prestigious Adana Audience Award.
This year’s anticipated National Student Film Competition, which takes place as part of the festival each year, saw Can Eren of Bilgi University pip the other 33 finalists to the post for the top prize of TL 7,500 for his film “Baydarai Edranın Kaderi” (Baydara, Fate of Edra) with Veysel Cihan Hızar of the İstanbul Culture University deemed worthy of the special jury award for his film “Adem’in Kuyusu” (Well of Adem.)
In this year’s Mediterranean Countries Short-films Contest, another sub-competition of the main festival, which took place for the first time in 2008, Israeli director Elite Zexer clinched the top prize for his film “Tasnim” with the special jury award going to German-based Turkish director Güçlü Yaman for his film “Dönüşü Olmayan Yolculuk” (Journey of no Return.)
Speaking on the evening, the head of jury Turkish-Cypriot filmmaker Derviş Zaim said: “Turkey is in the process of facing up to the past and this is something we have witnessed to an impressive degree during this festival. I think it is important to comment that on this topic the jury found the films “Saklı Hayatlar” [Hidden Lives], “Simurg” and “Yurt” [Home] to be particularly poignant.”
A night of surprises, there was disappointment in some camps with the films “Beni Sev” (Love Me), “Kadife,” “Mar” (Snake), “Türk Pasaportu” (Turkish Passport), “Saklı Hayatlar,” and “Yurt” going home empty-handed.
18th Altın Koza film festival winners
Boasting a lineup widely deemed as one of the event’s strongest in recent years, the winners of the 18th edition of the Altın Koza (Golden Boll) International Film Festival were revealed at a sparkling awards ceremony on Saturday night.
- Best Film: “Celal Tan ve Ailesinin Aşırı Acıklı Hikâyesi” (The Extremely Depressing Story of Celal Tan and His Family) (Director: Onur Ünlü)
- Best Director: Cemil Ağacıkoğlu (“Eylül” [September])
- Best Screenplay: Onur Ünlü (“Celal Tan ve Ailesinin Aşırı Acıklı Hikâyesi”)
- Best Actor: Durukan Ordu (“Gelecek Uzun Sürer” [Future Lasts Forever])
- Best Supporting Actor: Tuna Orhan (“Memleket Meselesi” [Matter of State])
- Best Actress: Hatice Aslan (“Vücut” [Body]) and Görkem Yeltan (“Eylül”)
- Best Supporting Actress: Şeyla Halis (“Vücut”)
- Most Promising Newcomer (male): Hakan Kurtaş (“Vücut”) and Gün Koper (“Aşk ve Devrim” [Love and Revolution])
- Most Promising Newcomer (female): Deniz Denker (“Aşk ve Devrim”)
- Best Editing: Taner Sarf (“Eylül”)
- Best Art Director: Adalı Aksoy (“Aşk ve Devrim” and “Saklı Hayatlar” [Hidden Lives])
- Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast Performance: “Celal Tan ve Ailesinin Aşırı Acıklı Hikâyesi”
- Best Music: Mustafa Biber (“Gelecek Uzun Sürer”)
- Best Art Director: Feza Çaldıran (“Gelecek Uzun Sürer”)
- Best Sound Effects: Burak Topalakçı (“Kaybedenler Kulübü” [Losers Club] and “Eylül”)
- Special Jury Award: “Aşk ve Devrim” (Director: Serkan Acar)
- Adana Audience Award: “Simurg” (Simurgh) (Director: Ruhi Karadağ)
- Yılmaz Güney Award: “Gelecek Uzun Sürer” (Director: Özcan Alper)
- Turkish Film Critics Association (SİYAD) Best Film Award: “Gelecek Uzun Sürer” (Director: Özcan Alper)