Armenian and Turkish Young Filmmakers Met in Istanbul

Yerevan, Armenia – Ten young filmmakers from Armenia and Turkey participated in the Armenia-Turkey Cinema Platform (ATCP) workshop held in Istanbul on April 12-13, 2012 on the sidelines of the 31st Istanbul International Film Festival. The participating film projects, five per country, were handpicked by the ATCP pre-selection committee from among 35 applications.

The two-day workshop program included one-to-one meetings between Armenian and Turkish filmmakers and project pitching to the ATCP jury. The *“Grandchildren of Giaour… My Armenian Grandfather”* documentary film project by Devrim Akkaya and Josefina Markarian won the prize worth $10.000. The film project exposes Devrim’s great grandfather’s – Yusuf’s – identity and its further impact on the family’s psychological world. Yusuf’s Armenian origin and its concealment for decades have greatly affected Devrim’s inner world and personality development. Through the documentary Devrim tries to establish a connection between her feeling of loneliness and lack of belonging, and the hidden identity of her great grandfather. Project producer Josefina Markarian’s roots come from Istanbul, from where her ancestors later moved to Athens. As a result, she shares the feeling of lack of belonging, which initially drew her into the project.

The author of “Homeport” Helen Kurkjian won the Jury Special Prize. The film project explores a similar theme, where Helen’s father, now based in Germany, sets out on a journey to the Middle East together with Helen to trace back his roots.

The jury board was composed of the founding director of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival and director Harutyun Khachatryan, well-known Turkish director Yesim Ustaoghlu, artistic director of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival Susanna Harutunyun, director from “Ajans 21” production company Nurdan Arca, and the competition programmer of Sarajevo Film Festival Elma Tataragic.

ATCP was born out of cooperation between Anadolu Kultur (Turkey) and the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival (Armenia) in 2008 with the aim of establishing a common network through which filmmakers from both countries are able to cooperate and produce films together. Since its foundation, ATCP has supported the production of 11 films by filmmakers from Armenia and Turkey.

Over the past two years, ATCP has been supported through the USAID-funded “Support to Armenia Turkey Rapprochement” project implemented by the the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, International Center for Human Development, Yerevan Press Club and Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia, and a number of core partners in Turkey. More specifically, three workshops were held as part of the Istanbul International Film Festival and Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival (two in Istanbul, and one in Yerevan) for about 30 filmmakers from both countries. Two films – “Wonderful, Very Nice: from Bitlis to America” by Lusin Dink and Soner Alper, as well as “Back to Gürün” by Adrineh Gregorian and Vahe Ohanyan are currently in post production, with two other films expected to be released in 2013.

USAID and the Consortium Members support Armenia-Turkey rapprochement by facilitating engagement between civil society groups, the establishment and development of business partnerships and regional professional networks, as well as enhanced understanding between the people, for peace and economic integration in the region.

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