The Moon and Stars Project
The Moon and Stars Project was founded in 2002 in New York as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt and all-volunteer organization, dedicated to promoting greater cultural interaction between the United States and Turkey, and fostering mutual understanding and respect between different nations, cultures, and religions. Moon and Stars Project programs incorporate traditional and contemporary music, project sponsorships and grants, scholarships and summer residency programs, visual arts, theater and film. Our initiatives have drawn an outpouring of support from the community, both in the United States and in Turkey, and from local and international organizations.
In building bridges between cultures, cinema is a particularly powerful tool that transports audiences to distant places, but at the same time reflects the universality of certain human experiences, dramas, and emotions. Building on this idea, we use the power of film events to expose audiences to the developments taking place in Turkey and aim to introduce American audiences and film professionals to Turkish films.
New York Turkish Film Festival
The main goal of the New York Turkish Film Festival is to bring more recognition to Turkish films in the U.S., while keeping the Turkish-American audience abreast of the developments in Turkey’s film industry. As we are ready to present the 12th New York Turkish Film Festival, the day we debated the idea of presenting a film festival seems like yesterday. We were aware that it would be difficult to produce a film festival in a city that hosts hundreds of them. High costs and difficult production logistics were also of serious concern.
Luckily, the course that Turkish cinema has taken and the pace of its development for the past ten years have not disappointed us. Thus, throughout the years, we have consistently been able to present carefully selected programs of commercial and independent works. In addition to feature film sections, we are pleased with our decision to continue our Short Films section. Through our ongoing collaboration with Hisar Short Film Selection of Mithat Alam Center for Film Studies at Bosphorus University and !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival, we will continue introducing our emerging film directors through diverse short film programs.
In addition to the New York Turkish Film Festival, we continue to present retrospectives on Turkish film directors.
Our first retrospective was entitled Ömer Kavur: Sculpture of Cinematic Time, co-presented by Anthology Film Archives in 2000, which was followed by Five Films by Zeki Demirkubuz in 2003. The Zeki Demirkubuz series has been touring the United States since then.
Among the centers which screened some or all of the films in this series are Freer & Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C.); High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA); Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA); SUNY Buffalo College (Buffalo, NY); Cornell University Film Center (Ithaca, NY); Bard College (Anandale on Hudson, NY); Wexner Center for the Arts Columbus, OH); Duke University with the presentation of Prof. Fredric Jameson (Durham, NC); Houston Museum of Art (Houston, TX); University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI); Harkins Valley Art Theatre (Tempe, AZ); and Pacific Film Archive at Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, CA).
In the Fall of 2007, we collaborated with the Film Society of Lincoln Center to co-present Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz, a series that contained all seven of the director’s films.
In 2008, co-sponsored "Filmmaker in Focus: Ferzan Özpetek" at MoMA, organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film at MoMA, Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero, Cinecittà Holding, Rome
Since 2005, we have been working with various centers around the United States to make Turkish films available to a broader audience, and providing financial and administrative support to several others.
Bosphorus Art Project (Tempe, AZ); Madison Association of Turkish Students (Madison, WI), Turkish American Association of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI), Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington State (Seattle, WA), Turkish Student Association of Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), Atlanta Turkish Arts Council, Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH) and Turkish American Society of Washington D.C. produced their own Turkish film festivals or screenings by sharing our program.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation and the determined efforts of these organizations; Turkish cinema has reached a larger audience throughout the United States.
In addition, the Moon and Stars Project works with number of organizations to support the distribution in Turkish films in major film festivals and commercial theaters with panel discussions and announcements to its database.
In 2009, we partnered with the Institute of Artists and Global Change at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University to screen the YOUTH FILMMAKING PROJECT IN TURKEY, a 18-month program designed to train Turkish students from Edirne, Konya, Antakya, Sivas, Mardin and Artvin to produce films about important social issues such as democracy, human rights and women's issues.
In 2008, we co-presented a panel discussion named "Crossing Borders: A Cinematic Journey from the West to the East" with NYU Institute for Artists and Global Change featuring GITMEK / MY MARLON AND BRANDO, by Hüseyin Karabey, who received the Best New Narrative Filmmaker award at the Tribeca Film Festival.