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ISTANBUL 2020 Meetings on the Bridge

The 15th Meetings on the Bridge goes digital


- The Istanbul Film Festival’s industry platform is ready to showcase a batch of upcoming Turkish productions, including, for the first time, a TV series project and a book adaptation

The 15th Meetings on the Bridge goes digital
Director Ali Vatansever, whose project Agony has been selected for Meetings on the Bridge’s Film Development Workshop

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the whole film industry, and the Istanbul Film Festival is no exception. Its 39th edition was planned to run from 10-21 April, but the event has been postponed. However, the 15th edition of Meetings on the Bridge (MoB), the international co-production and networking strand of the gathering, is altering its format and going digital. Training of the participants has already started online, and MoB itself will run on the internet from 15-17 April.

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As at previous editions, MoB will showcase 18 projects and eight films from Turkey and its neighbouring countries in three main sections: Film Development Workshop, Work in Progress and Neighbours Platform. Also, for the first time ever, a TV series project and a book adaptation are being included in the selection.

In the Film Development Workshop, 11 projects – ten fiction films and one documentary – chosen from among over 110 submissions will be competing for the Meetings on the Bridge Award, the CNC Award and the newly introduced TRT Special Award, with contributions from the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.

Some of the highlights of the selection are the upcoming features by Ali Vatansever, who previously presented his sophomore film, the Toronto Discovery-premiered Saf [+see also:
film review
interview: Ali Vatansever
film profile
, at MoB; Emre Akay, whose sophomore effort The Hunt also partook in MoB’s Development Workshop; Melisa Önel, whose debut, Seaburners, premiered in the Berlinale Forum; and Ziya Demirel, who will present his debut feature, Ela and Hilmi & Ali, in the WIP section and is also coming along clutching his sophomore project. Also, Sinan Öztürk is presenting the adaptation of the fiction bestseller Blood and Rose, written by Alper Canıgüz, while first-time directors Emre Sert, Gözde Yetişkin and Ozan Yoleri, who have won awards with their short films, round off the selection.

The full list of selected Film Development Workshop projects is as follows:

AgonyAli Vatansever
Producers: Selin Vatansever, Oya Özden (Terminal Film)

Blood and RoseSinan Öztürk
Producer: Yamaç Okur (Ay Yapım)

Eternal FlameEmre Akay
Producer: Ali Özgür Baltacı (Emre Akay Films)

GraceEmre Sert, Gözde Yetişkin
Producers: Suzan Güverte, Şebnem Kitiş (Ptot Film, Güverte Film, Emre & Gözde Film)

One of Those CreaturesAli Özkul (documentary)
Producers: Ceylan Özgün Özçelik, Fırat Sezgin (EHY Film Production, Institute of Time)

PastoralMichael Önder
Producer: Joseph Erçelik Amado (Bluff Films)

PeekabooAysim Türkmen
Producer: Nesra Gürbüz (Monomit Films)

SuddenlyMelisa Önel
Producer: Alara Hamamcıoğlu (Vigo Film)

This Beautiful NightOzan Yoleri
Producers: Arda Çiltepe, Ilgın Coşar (Vigo Film)

TreasureSalih Demir
Producer: Çekdar Erkıran (Layen Film)

Two EyedsZiya Demirel
Producer: Anna Maria Aslanoğlu (İstos Film)

Also, for the first time in Turkey, MoB is including a drama series project and a book in its selection. Shadow Hotel, written by Hakan Bıçakçı, Ramin Matin and Emine Yıldırım, is the inaugural series in this section, while the novel Istanbul Istanbul by award-winning author Burhan Sönmez will be introduced and presented by Kalem Agency.

For the ninth edition of the MoB Work in Progress section, eight Turkish projects (seven fictions and one documentary) at the post-production stage will be presented online to film professionals. All of the films are debut features, and some of the directors are Ziya Demirel, Selman Nacar (the co-producer of Belonging [+see also:
film review
interview: Burak Çevik
film profile
), Antalya Film Forum winners Ferit Karol and Cem Özay, and Nazlı Elif Durlu, who has already travelled with her project and has been awarded at various industry markets. Furthermore, Azeri filmmaker Ilgar Najaf (Pomegranate Orchard [+see also:
film profile
) is the only filmmaker participating in the Work in Progress Neighbours section.

The Work in Progress selection is as follows:

Between Two Dawns [+see also:
film review
interview: Selman Nacar
film profile
Selman Nacar
Producers: Burak Çevik, Diloy Gülün (Kuyu Film, Karma Film)

Ela and Hilmi & Ali – Ziya Demirel
Producer: Anna Maria Aslanoğlu (İstos Film)

ForegivenessCem Özay
Producers: Cem Özay, Ömür Güner (ABC Film)

Ghosts [+see also:
film review
film profile
Azra Deniz Okyay
Producer: Dilek Aydın (Heimatlos Films)

Penny BankFerit Karol
Producer: Nefes Polat (Nefes Films)

WhitewashAhmet Necdet Çopur
Producers: Anke Petersen, Delphine Morel, Nadir Öperli (Jyoti Films, TS Productions, Liman Film)

ZuhalNazlı Elif Durlu
Producer: Anna Maria Aslanoğlu (İstos Film)

Sughra and Her SonsIlgar Najaf (Azerbaijan) – Work in Progress Neighbours
Producer: Ilgar Najaf (Buta Film)

Finally, the Neighbours Platform will present eight feature-film projects originating from Turkey’s neighbouring countries – Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Romania. Among the projects competing are the upcoming features by Romanian filmmaker Andrei Creţulescu (Charleston [+see also:
film review
interview: Andrei Creţulescu
film profile
), Armenian director Lévon Minasian (Bravo, Virtuose [+see also:
film profile
), Kazakhstan’s Olga Korotko (A So-So Winter), Georgian filmmaker and MIDPOINT Feature Launch participant Konstantine Kalandadze (see the news), Georgia’s Levan Lomjaria and Greece’s Yorgos Teltzidis (both of the latter first-time filmmakers).

The Neighbours Platform projects are as follows:

A Pair of Leather ClogsOlga Korotko (Kazakhstan/France)
Producer: Etienne de Ricaud (Caractères Productions)

Chronicle of a Winter: Tehran 1979Sahar Salahshoori, Bahar Shoghi (Iran)
Producer: Mina Kesheveraz

Grey SkiesKonstantine Kalandadze (Georgia)
Producers: Gary Crenner, Elene Margvelashvili (Chezville, Paraschute Films)

Jeux Sans FrontièresAndrei Cretulescu (Romania)
Producer: Cristian Nicolescu (Digital Cube)

MaadHussen Ibraheem (Lebanon)
Producers: Tania El-Khoury, Lara Abou Saifan (Placeless Films)

Pearl TearsLevon Minasian (Armenia/France)
Producers: Ani Vorskanyan, Robert Guediguian, Marc Bordure (anEva Production, Agat Films)

WoofYorgos Teltzidis (Greece)

You Look Like Your FatherLevan Lomjaria (Georgia)
Producer: Vaku Kirkitadze (Georgian Film Cluster)

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