VTFF Gala Film 2015 (Vancouver Turkish Film Festival) Review of Events

The Turkish Film Festival 2015 hosted a fabulous opening gala on Friday 23rd as well as a variety of well recognized Turkish films such as Kelebegin Rüyasi (The Butterfly’s Dream), Unutursam Fisilda (What If I Forget), Sessiz (Silent), Sarki Söyleyen Kadinlar (Singing Women),Pek Yakinda(Coming  Soon) and several others.

The weekend from January 23-25 was without a doubt a wonderful way of celebrating the Centenary of the Turkish Cinema.
VTFF not only introduced the best of the Turkish Cinema to Vancouver but it also brought together cineastes and cinephiles from both countries.

The VTFF initiated with an Opening Gala the night of Friday, January 23.
The Vancity Theater welcomed the guests with a reception cocktail at 7:00pm. Many people from all over Vancouver , including guests with different nationalities were part of the celebration.

While guests enjoyed their complementary drink and delicious oriental snacks, a live band performing turkish music gave life to the night.
The opening Gala also served as an opportunity for people to mingle and share their interest in cinematography.


The Opening Gala 2015 ended by the viewing of the film (Coming Soon), a piece directed by the famous  Cem Yilmaz.


Pek Yakinda (COMING SOON)
In this installment Cem Yilmaz portraits a pirate DVD seller that is also an extra in movies (Zafer). After his wife divorces him, he decides to leave all illegal activities behind and directs his own movie in an attempt to win his family back.


The first installment by Kaan Mujdeci tells the story of an 11 year old boy who finds a very injured sheepdog named Sivas, after losing a brutal fight was left to die.
“Sivas” is the winner of the Venice Film Festival for the Special Jury Prize plus best actor Dogan Izci.


Set in a small turkish town, two eager young poets who earn their living publishing their poems. As they all in love with the same woman, their lives change drastically.
The director Yilmaz Erdogan claims that the events that occur in the movie are based on a true story. The composer, Rahman Altin, won multiple awards for his score in this film.

Unutursam Fisilda (WHISPER IF I FORGET)
As an old pop singer is diagnosed with Alzheimer, she moves back to her home town, where she remembers the stairs of fame and fortune, while also dealing with her oñder sister who blames her for ruining her life.
Director Cagan Igrmak, known for (My Father And My Son), this time relates to a relationship between sisters and their intrigues in life. A very emotional piece, that takes the audience born in Turkey in the 70s back to their childhood.


VTFF wouldn’t have been possible without the Event Directors: Eylem Sönmez and Hakan Burcuoglu.

Organizers VivaVancity had the chance to ask the VTFF Director, Hakan B. a few questions.
Here is the complete interview:

VivaVancity: What is the purpose of the VTFF?                                                                    Hakan: To bring the best of contemporary Turkish cinema to Vancouver by serving as an international platform to showcase the works of Turkish (and Turkish-Canadian) filmmakers, thereby promoting Turkish identity and culture. In addition – to commence the construction of artistic bridges between Turkey and Canada.

VivaVancity: What inspired you to produce it?
Hakan:2014 marked the 100th year in Turkish Cinema – also one of the most internationally successful and prolific years ever for Turkish film. With so many ethnic film festivals in Vancouver, we thought the time was right.

VivaVancity:  Are there any plans for the next VTFF? Have you ever thought about showing films from new comer directors?Hakan: Of course we want VTFF to be of a perpetual nature – the idea is for it to be a staple of the yearly art calendar in Vancouver. One of out future aims is to showcase/feature the works of new coming independent filmmakers – in fact we’ve done this in our inaugural year – “Sivas” and “Mold” are both directorial debuts.

VivaVancity: Did the VTFF 2015 reach your expectations? Was it a success?
Hakan:It was a tremendous success – we operated VTFF at a 70% occupancy and had a total of 6 sell-outs out of 11 screenings. For a first-year ethnic film festival, it’s been huge!

VivaVancity: What are some of the challenges you encountered when producing the event and/or when carrying it out?Hakan:Marketing the festival was very difficult since we operated on a very tight budget – this is why we relied so much on word of mouth and social media. Obtaining some big name films also proved to be difficult since we don’t have a track record as an “established” festival.

VivaVancity: What was the response of non-turkish speaking people towards the VTFF?
Hakan: The response has been great all around. I don’t like to segregate an audience in evaluating responses – Turkish and non-Turkish shouldn’t matter – we have tried to design this event to cater to an international audience from all walks of life – and this is exactly the demographic that came out to see our films.

VivaVancity: How different was the Gala night from the other nights?
Hakan: The Gala night was a special evening with a cocktail, speeches and live music. We had “mini-events” before some screenings. For instance, we had a slam poetry performance before our documentary screenings, introductory speeches pertaining to the background of filmmakers prior to screenings and also a free soundtrack giveaway and closing speeches before our finale on Sunday evening.

VivaVancity: Last but not least, what’s an advice you could give Vancouverties from your experience doing VTFF?
Hakan: Support the art events going on in our community because there’s so much dedication and passion going into them!

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