Sunday, 3 May 2015

Evrim Ersoy previews the London Turkish Film Festival 2015

 Ata DemirerDemet Akbağ jet in to London for UK premiere of new comedy The Galloping Vet, which opens LTFF 2015

The London Turkish Film Festival (LTFF) hits 20 this year, making it the second oldest foreign film festival in Britain. No mean feat for an event started as a labour of love by Vedide Kaymak and friends at the Rio Cinema to give Turkish immigrants a taste of home.

Today, as then, audiences have a chance to experience the best of Turkish cinema, although the choice of venues has broadened. This year the festival will take place in three cinemas: Rio Dalston, the Odeon Panton Street, and, for the second year running, the O2 Cineworld in Greenwich for the Opening Gala.

Aytaç Arman receives this year's Lifetime Achievement Award
The LTFF 2015 programme is again full of feature films, documentaries and short films from Turkey, along with its annual awards to the best new film and to a legend of the Turkish silver screen.

This year’s opening title is the UK premiere of popular comedian Ata Demirer's new film Niyazi Gül Dörtnala (The Galloping Vet) based on his popular TV character Niyazi Gül, a veterinary surgeon and lecturer who is thrust into an unexpected adventure. The film also stars award-winning actress and comedienne Demet Akbağ with whom Demirer previously shared the lead in the ever-delightful box-office hit series Eyvah, Eyvah.

Elsewhere, the Festival showcases the handiwork of fantastic writer/director Onur Ünlü whose work unfairly remains unknown outside Turkey. From his take on Japan’s Takeshi Kitano in magical realism tribute Polis (2009), to the philosophical rumination on death and life of Five Cities, Ünlü's cinema presents an in-depth discourse on human nature alongside popular accessibility.

All the films listed for LTFF 2015 are unmissable, though special mention has to be made of Sen Aydınlatırsın Geceyi (Thou Gild'st the Even) – a wickedly funny take on the superhero myth, representing a first in Turkish cinema.

The best of the 2014-2015 Turkish season is well represented within the programme with titles such as Sesime Gel (Come to My Voice) arriving with plaudits from the Berlin and Mar Del Plata Film Festivals, along with Annemin Şarkısı (Song of My Mother) and Nefesim Kesilene Kadar (Until I Lose My Breath).

On at LTFF 2015: 'Sen Aydınlatırsın Geceyi' - a first in Turkish cinema as Turkey gets its own superhero 
Other notable feature films include Gözümün Nûru (Eye Am) – an interesting narrative experience which playfully mixes meta plot points with great story, Fakat Müzeyyen Bu Derin Bir Tutku – featuring standout performances from Erdal Beşikçioğlu and Sezin Akbaşoğulları, and Balık (Fish) – Derviş Zaim's new effort featuring the director's trademark simultaneously complex and sensitive touch.

The festival is also playing host to three great documentaries this year: Küçük Kara Balıklar (Little Black Fishes), Artık Hayallerim Var (Through My Lens) and Yollara Düştük (We Hit the Road) each one bringing greater focus on stories within Turkey which would otherwise have remained inaccessible to a British audience.

All in all there's something to please everyone this year with the Festival once again representing the best chance to catch up with the hottest titles. LTFF 2015 runs from 7th-17th May. Tickets and information are available from

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