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Butterfly's Dream (Kelebeğin Rüyası) 

Director: Yılmaz Erdoğan
2013; 138 min.

Post screening Q&A with actor Mert Fırat.

The visually stunning Butterfly's Dream was Turkey’s Oscar nominee this year. Set during WWII, the story revolves around two young poets (Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Mert Fırat) with tuberculosis germs in their lungs and a love of poetry in their hearts. They create a competition to gain the attention of the mayor’s pretty daughter (Belçim Bilgin). Meanwhile, the two young men have to deal with other problems such as disease, poverty, and compulsory work in the mines. Director Yılmaz Erdoğan, a favorite with Turkish audiences, conveys this heartbreaking story with a soothing lightness and a distinct love for poetry.

"Butterfly's Dream is an epic praise about poets. Yılmaz Erdoğan’s directing deserves great respect.” Olkan Özyurt (Sabah)

Screening:  May 16 at 7:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.


Yozgat Blues

Director:  Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun
2013; 92 min

Post-screening Q&A with director Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun.

Yavuz (performed by Ercan Kesal), a musician who sings old fashioned French chansons at shopping malls, decides to take on a job singing in a run-down nightclub in the provincial town Yozgat. His former student Neşe (Ayça Damgacı), who is also in search of a new start, follows him along. They settle in a hotel room and perform together. When they become friends with Sabri, (Tansu Biçer), a local barber, their relationship turns complicated.

“… the characters and relationships are incisively drawn, and the film’s deadpan sense of humor tickles. … Yozgat Blues succeeds in capturing a bittersweet mood that will haunt viewers.” Stephen Farber (Hollywood Reporter)

Screening:  May 17 at 8:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.


Love Me (Sev Beni)

Directors:  Maryna Gorbach, Mehmet Bahadır Er
2013; 90 min.

Cemal (Ushan Çakır), a young Turkish man betrothed by his family to a girl he has never seen, is dragged to Kiev by his cousin for his bachelor party. In Kiev, Cemal stumbles into the beautiful Sasha (Viktoria Spesivtseva), an independent and confident young woman with an agenda of her own. Despite their language barrier, the two soon find themselves falling in love. Love Me is Gorbach and Er’s second collaboration following the celebrated Black Dogs Barking (2009).

The film had its premier at the World Film Festival in Montreal and came back with three awards from the 34th Oporto International Film Festival.

Screening:  May 25 at 5:00 pm Click here to buy tickets.


Blue Wave (Mavi Dalga)

Directors:  Zeynep Dadak, Merve Kayan
2013; 96 min.

Post-screening Q&A with directors Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan.

At the end of the summer, 16-year-old Deniz (Ayris Alptekin) and her family close up their holiday house and head back home to Balıkesir - a provincial town. Deniz goes back to school and connects with her girlfriends, talking about boys and what universities they would like to attend. The year brings new freedoms and dreams for the girls as it does new longings and fears, along with plentiful advice from well-intentioned adults in their lives, which will be summarily ignored as these girls chart their own path into adulthood.

“Multiple awards at the Antalya Film Festival attest to the pic’s novel approach, and it’s certainly refreshing to see a Turkish film that’s neither glacially paced nor about silent traumatized men in the provinces.” Jay Weissberg (Variety)

Screening:  May 23 at 7:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.



 

Particle (Zerre)

Director: Erdem Tepegöz
2012; 80 min.

Particle tells the story of a single working woman - a rarity in Turkey’s cinema. Zeynep (Jale Arıkan) is already stretched thin to make ends meet when she gets fired from her job at a textile mill. The beautifully shot film closely follows her in and out of workspaces as she searches for a job to support her mother and handicapped daughter. The film captures the desolate streets of Tarlabaşı - a neighborhood suffering from unruly gentrification - through Zeynep’s eyes, portraying them as dark and suffocating. Particle is the winner of the Best Film award at Moscow International Film Festival.

Particle is a film that goes beyond what it shows and makes us feel. Although it tells a simple, small story, it shines through the universal aspect of this story.” Murat Özer (Arka Pencere)

Screening:  May 25 at 7:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.

 

 

Ships (Ferah Feza)

Director:  Elif Refiğ
2013; 97 min.

Post-screening Q&A with director Elif Refiğ.

Ali (Uğur Uzunel), while working for his father as a ship supplier, spends his time day dreaming in shipyards and harbours. He longs for a more satisfying life, taking time to ponder the nature of coincidences. His search for meaning in signs leads him to a graffiti artist, Eda (M. Sitare Akbaş), with whom he will share a journey through Turkey's ports looking for their escape. Ships won the Special Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI prize at the European Film Festival in 2013.

“Even more impressive than the script's subtleties are the film-making talent and aesthetic sense demonstrated by young Turkish filmmaker Elif Refig.” Marie-Pauline Mollaret (FIPRESCI)

Screening:  May 17 at 6:00 pm Click here to buy tickets.

 

Stranger (Yabancı)

Director:  Filiz Alpgezmen
2013; 96 min.

Özgür (Sezin Akbaşoğulları) is the Turkish daughter of parents who, following the coup of 1980, took refuge in France. Following the loss of her mother as a young child, Özgür was raised by her father in Paris. She visits Istanbul for the first time to bury her father, who is no longer considered a Turkish citizen by the government. As she is faced with almost impossible bureaucratic problems, she finds herself as a stranger (yabancı) in a country she has never known. As she seeks to bury her father, Özgür finds herself on a journey to discover her parents' homeland, her new-found extended family, and most importantly, herself.

Stranger, takes a different look at Turkey, Istanbul and the lost children of a generation that shook a whole country with its courage, who were bound to be strangers at birth.” (CNN Türk)

 Screening:  May 24 at 8:00 pm Click here to buy tickets.

 

Documentary Films

 

 

Girls of Hope (Umudun Kızları)

Director:  Ayşegül Selenga Taşkent
2013; 82 min.

Post-screening panel discussion with director Ayşegül Selenga Taşkent and other experts on girls' empowerment globally and telling their stories on film.

Girls of Hope is an ambitious documentary that follows five girls from the Southeast Turkey  who are fighting for their education.The film interviews these girls and their families, who sometimes prevent them from pursuing high school, giving us insight into the girls' pursuit of education against tremendous difficulties. Almost half of the girls in this region are illiterate. This inspiring documentary won the Special Mention at RIFF in Italy.

Screening:  May 21 at 6:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.


My Child (Benim Çocuğum)

Director:  Can Candan
2013; 82 min.

Post-screening Panel discussion with director Can Candan and other experts on LGBT rights.

My Child is a documentary that follows a courageous and inspiring group of parents in Turkey who have children who identify as LGBT individuals. They have not only gone through the path of accepting their children for who they are, but have also opened up and shared their experiences publicly by forming a support group called LISTAG. In this documentary, parents intimately share their feelings and tell the story of their experiences, redefining what it means to be a family in a conservative society. My Child is a powerful film that challenges social prejudices against LGBT individuals. It was screened at numerous festivals worldwide and won many awards, bringing previous taboo issues to headlines and into the living rooms in Turkey.  This screening is co-presented with Human Rights Watch Film Festival.  

Screening:  May 18 at 6:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.

 

Short Film Collection

Screening:  May 18 at 5:00 pm Click here to buy tickets.

After Shave (Dir: Nail Pelivan)

This 17-minute short film depicts the relationship between master and apprentice as a barber teaches his student the art of craftmanship.

Alzheimer (Dir: Neslihan Siligür)

This 15-minute short film depicts the story of a man who is sentenced to be forgotten by his lover after having lived long and happy years together.

Mesut The Fish (Dir: Hakan Hücum)

This 10-minute short film depicts Şefik, a traditional man with an ill-kept appearance, and his wife, Nalan, a couple that has lived the same routine for 20 years until one day when Şefik cooks a fish after another fight with Nalan.

Scarecrow (Dir: Adem Demirci)

This 11-minute short film depicts how a young woman, who is mourning the death of her husband, tries to overcome her fear as she tries to escape the feeling of being alone. She imagines as though her husband still continues to live as a pillar in her life as a scarecrow.

Vanished into Blue (Dir: Abdurrahman Öner)

This 12-minute short film juxtaposes a couple's troubled marriage, as seen through the lens of a black & white camera, with the conversation on a TV matchmaking program being the sole source of noise in an otherwise silent room.

Conscience Films

Screening:  May 24 at 6:30 pm Click here to buy tickets.

Films about Conscience Program is a short film competition the was first launched by the Hrant Dink Foundation in 2009. The program invites amateur and professional filmmakers from around the world to submit films - no longer than 5 minutes - that look at the world through the human conscience. The program was founded in the memory of Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist who was assassinated in 2007. The New York Turkish Film Festival will show a collection of these short films selected by an international jury. For further information, please visit: www.filmsaboutconscience.org