Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Documentary on Turkish soaps features in this year’s international film festival in Limassol

Kismet examines the success of Turkish TV dramas such as Hayat & its storyline on child brides

A documentary about the phenomenal international success of Turkish soap operas forms part of the programme for this year’s Lemesos International Documentary Festival. Kismet is one 23 documentaries that will be screened at the week-long festival in Limassol, which runs from 1st to 8th August.

The organisers say they this year’s programme includes: “the most awarded and talked about documentaries of the year…to bring us face to face with… reality!” 

Opening this year’s festival is 20,000 Days on Earth. Part drama, part reality, it depicts 24 hours in the life of the internationally acclaimed musician Nick Cave. Lemesos also hosts the world premier of A Haircut Story, by Danae Stylianou (pictured), which charts the events of last March and its aftermath when Cypriot bank deposits underwent a forced ‘haircut’. Using seven personal stories, Stylianou captures the unfolding drama that emerged from the black hole left by the banks. 

Kismet is screened on Saturday 2 August. Greek director Nina Maria Paschalidou’s highly talked about documentary analyses the impact of Turkish soaps in her home country and the wider region. Turkey’s popular soaps are now seen daily on screens across the Balkans, Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Latin America. Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century) alone has been seen by some 200 million people worldwide, helping to boost foreign TV sales to $130m in 2012, up from a mere $1m in 2007.

Paschalidou's documentary digs into the psyche of hit shows such as Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne? (What is Fatmagul’s Crime?), Gümüş (Silver) and Hayat (Life Goes On), their hard-hitting storylines covering issues such as rape and child brides. She interviews the stars, directors, and scriptwriters, sociologists and the views of faithful fans Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Athens, Mostar, Sofia and Istanbul.

Her fascinating insights into the success of these TV series help to illustrate how well Turkish soaps have transcended beyond national, cultural and religious boundaries, resonating strongly with their army of international fans – many of them women – who view them as far more than a temporary escape from their often-dismal social reality. Alongside swooning at heartthrobs such as Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and their romantic intrigues, the viewers are also emboldened by the roles of strong, feisty females. We hear first-hand the personal stories of women who followed in the footsteps of their heroines to fight for their rights, and to ultimately break free of oppressed lives. 
Nick Cave's award-winning film 20,000 Days on Earth opens the festival
All screenings at the Lemesos International Documentary Festival are free and even though the festival is being held in the sweltering heat of the Cypriot summer, expect the sessions to be packed. Prior reservations are not possible so people are advised to turn up early to avoid disappointment. Most of the screenings take place at Theatro Ena (located near to Limassol Castle), with a few at Sousami Bar. See online for the full programme.

Festival dates: 1st-8th August 2014
Screening address:  Theatro Ena, 3036 Lemessus, Limassol, Cyprus
Start times: varies – check online for details
Tickets: free
Info:  Lemesos InternationalDocumentary Festival 


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