Women’s solidarity: Chantal Akerman in focus at Filmmor

Belgian director Chantal Akerman will be remembered with a 15-film retrospective at the 14th Filmmor International Women’s Film Festival.
February '16

Women’s solidarity keeps women alive. This is the theme of this year’s FilmmorInternational Women’s Film Festival on Wheels, which is preparing to unroll its 14th edition next month in İstanbul. Filmmor — one of Turkey’s two women’s film festivals along with Ankara’s annual Uçan Süpürge (Flying Broom) fest — will present more than 70 films from 30 countries in its 2016 program, whose nine-day İstanbul leg is set for March 12-20, organizers said in a newsletter on Wednesday.

This year’s program will pay homage to Belgian film director Chantal Akerman, an influential figure in feminist cinema, who died last October, aged 65.

The festival’s Chantal Akerman retrospective, titled “Chantal Hakkında Her Şey” (Everything About Chantal) and presented in collaboration with the İstanbul Modern, will feature 15 out of the 42 films the director made throughout her career.

“No Home Movie,” the last film Akerman made, which is a documentary feature focusing on conversations between the filmmaker and her mother just months before her mother’s death, is among the highlights of the section. That film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2015.

“Tomorrow We Move,” Akerman’s 2004 comedy that won the Lumières Award for best French-language film in 2005; “Almayer’s Folly,” her 2011 big screen adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s 1895 novel of the same name; and “The Captive,” the director’s 2000 drama that is loosely based on Marcel Proust’s “La Prisonnière,” are also part of the selection.


The Filmmor selection will mark the most comprehensive screening program dedicated to the work of Akerman in Turkey to date, the festival’s organizers said in Wednesday’s newsletter.

Other sections of the 2016 festival include “Women’s Cinema,” “A Purse of Her Own” and “Sex-Gender-Sexualities,” which are three regular sections of the program every year, as well as the new sections “Women Are Everywhere,” a video art selection, and another section called “Femicide Is Preventable — Women’s Solidarity Keeps Women Alive,” which is this year’s motto of the festival.

The motto is also the title of a campaign the women’s cooperative Filmmor, which is organizing the festival, has been conducting since late last year. The campaign was launched in November 2015, during a two-day conference on “Urgent Action to Stop Femicide,” held at İstanbul Technical University’s Maçka Campus.

The festival will also present a thematic selection titled “Women’s Cinema in the Middle East and North Africa,” bringing together films by female directors from a broad geographical region extending from Morocco to Iran.

After completing its İstanbul run, Filmmor festival will travel to six more cities across Turkey for two-day programs, beginning with Antakya on March 26-27. Other stops on the 2016 itinerary include Adana (April 2-3), Bodrum (April 9-10), Mardin (April 16-17), İzmir (April 23-24), and Van (April 29-30), according to the newsletter.


The Filmmor Women’s Film Festival on Wheels does not have a competitive section, yet it does feature two awards: The Purple Camera Award, for up-and-coming female film professionals, and the Golden Okras, the festival’s annual “anti-awards” that draw attention to sexism in Turkish cinema, which will be handed out for the eighth time this year.

Viewers will be voting online to determine the recipients of this year’s Golden Okras, which are announced each year “in the hopes that these will be the last, due to failure to find nominees in the future.” ✪


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