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Imagining Istanbul

11.02.2009 - Reha Erdem, Lloyd Phillips, Martina Priessner, Yeşim Ustaoglu

In cooperation with Alfred Herrhausen Society, Berlinale Competition and Berlinale Forum.

As the natural connecting point between the Orient and the Occident and situated at the easternmost point of the West and westernmost point of the East, Istanbul has inspired filmmakers for years. It is a city in which "the stones and earth are made of gold" as many immigrants say when referring to the site of their projected hopes.

Related directly to the myth and likewise the reality of this Turkish metropolis compelling stories have been told about cultural diversity, change of perspective, and of course love stories of 1001 nights. In an era where tensions between the East and the West, Islamic tradition and contemporary influences have intensified and where the main focus has gradually shifted from love stories to terrorist threats – a question pushes forth: Is Istanbul still a place where the East meets the West? How do filmmakers create and use the image of the city? How does Istanbul brand itself in times of political tension? A couple of recent films show Istanbul as a modern city, strongly linked to traditions.

These films are as far away as possible from tourist postcard movies, the filmmaker’s passion for the city and its population is clearly evident. The opening film of the Berlinale 2009, Tom Tykwer‘s The International, partly shot in Istanbul, is produced by Oscar-winning producer and photographer, Philip Lloyd. His unique series of photographs depicting the original locations of the film and the events behind the camera give an enthralling perspective to the process of filmmaking, as well as to the city of Istanbul. Filmmakers and artists coming from and working in one of the most alluring cities in the world tell its tales – about what‘s going on and how they see the future.



Experts

Reha Erdem


Turkish director and screenwriter, he shot his first feature-length film OH MOON in 1989. He has also made RUN FOR MONEY, MOMMY I'M SCARED, TIMES AND WINDS and MY ONLY SUNSHINE. He wrote all of his films except for MOMMY I'M SCARED, for which he was one of the writers.


Lloyd Phillips


Photographer and producer, he won an Oscar® for his first film THE DOLLARS BOTTOM. He has produced VERTICAL LIMIT, BEYOND BORDERS, THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, RACING STRIPES, RUNNING FREE, TWELVE MONKEYS, THE INTERNATIONAL, and was involved in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.


Martina Priessner


Director and scriptwriter, she has written and codirected WET SHAVE with Tuncay Kulaoglu and the documentary WIR SITZEN IM SÜDEN, produced by ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel.


Yeşim Ustaoglu


Turkish producer and director, her award-winning films include PANDORA’S BOX, WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS (winner of the Sundance/ NHK International Film Award 2003 for the screenplay), and JOURNEY TO THE SUN. She is the co-founder of the independent production company Ustaoglu Film. Her film ARAF was released in 2012.


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