PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Germany / Turkey
Ilker Çatak to follow up Berlin hit The Teachers’ Lounge with Yellow Letters
by David Katz
- The director’s fifth feature, to be shot in Hamburg and Berlin this autumn, will follow a Turkish artist couple who are forced into exile
Following his breakthrough success with The Teachers’ Lounge [+see also:
interview: İlker Çatak
interview: Leonie Benesch
film profile] at last month’s Berlinale, Turkish-German director Ilker Çatak has already set up his next feature, scheduled to shoot in Hamburg and Berlin this coming autumn. Yellow Letters will be another tense drama focusing on a moral quandary, with Screen Daily describing the film as concerning “an artist couple in Turkey who lose their jobs overnight due to arbitrary state action and start to live in exile. Together with their growing daughter, they fight for a life of dignity and for their ideals as artists and parents.” Çatak wrote the screenplay alongside Ayda Çatak and Ennis Köstepen. None of the principal cast have been announced as yet.
Yellow Letters will continue the filmmaker’s collaboration with producer Ingo Fliess, of if… Productions, after The Teachers’ Lounge and 2019’s I Was, I Am, I Will Be [+see also:
film profile], as well as cinematographer Judith Kaufmann, who also recently lensed Corsage [+see also:
interview: Marie Kreutzer
interview: Marie Kreutzer
film profile]. Filling out the co-production team are Paris-based Haut et Court, which is also distributing in France, alongside Alamode as the German co-producer and distributor. The Turkish producers are Nadir Öperli’s Liman Film, and Enis Köstepen and Mustafa Sönmez’s Tyger Film, both of which helped develop the project from the beginning. Further support in Germany comes from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (BKM), the MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and the German-Turkish Co-production Development Fund. No sales agent is attached yet.
The Teachers’ Lounge was one of the best-received titles in the Berlinale’s Panorama section this year; our own reviewer, Davide Abbatescianni, praised “the great depth that screenwriter Johannes Duncker and Çatak gift to their lead character. The more Carla tries to do something right – and, in many circumstances, logical in terms of pedagogical principles – the more she is pushed to her limits, put under pressure, marginalised and denounced.” It was also a swift seller, with its sales agent, Be for Films, striking deals across the globe – with Sony Pictures Classics (whose films often feature in the awards race) for North and Latin America and Eastern Europe, Curzon for the UK and Ireland, and East Asian distributors as well.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.