PAVILION PROFILE: Turkey Looks to Boost Visibility with Bigger Pavilion
This time last year Turkey was in a Pavilion space half its current size, but 2007 brought along a newfound confidence and along with that, the need for expansion. With 100 square meters, Turkey has created a "welcoming home" of sorts for their Cannes line up of filmmakers to relax, work, and network. Not only has their square footage increased, but so has their advertisement of their films. Visible on the market floor and in the trade paper Variety, Turkey has made some clear financial commitments in order to augment their exposure to the Cannes international community.
This year, Turkey's collaborative film with Germany, "The Edge of Heaven," by Fatih Akin, which is about a young man who goes on a search for his father's girlfriend's political activist daughter, is in the festival's official competition and will have its gala screening (with all the trappings accustomed to those nightly events) on Wednesday, May 23rd in the Lumiere. Another film that brought Turkey back to Cannes is the Director's Fortnight selection "Egg," by Kaplanoglu Semih. Centered on Yusuf, a poet, the man returns to his home village, which he hasn't visited for years, following the death of his mother. A young girl named Ayla, who had been living with Yusef's mother for the past five years, is waiting for him in their decrepit house. Ayla has a mission for Yusuf, he must perform a sacrificial rite and visit a Saint's tomb that his mother, Zehra, was not able to fulfill before she died.
Currently, Turkey's main interests are enhancing visibility and shopping around their seven screenings at the market, pitching ideas to other filmmakers, and searching for co-producers. The Turkish Pavilion offers a daily happy hour that goes from 6-9pm. They boast that when the rest of the International village is desolate, they are busy and alive with attendees sipping on Turkish wine and coffee. Turkey's box office is perhaps itself a mirror of this liveliness as well. In 2005, Turkish film was 40% of the country's domestic box office revenues. In 2006, the percentage had increased to 51.8% of the box office, a figure that gives the country an enviable home grown film industry in comparison to many of its neighbors. [Ashley Adams]