Friday, April 25, 2008

Tribeca | My Marlon and Brando (Gitmek)

My Marlon and Brando(Gitmek)
In English, Kurdish, Turkish with English subtitles.
2008 92 min Feature Narrative

Directed by: Hüseyin Karabey North American Premiere
Director: Hüseyin Karabey
Principal Cast: Ayça Damgaci, Hama Ali Khan, Savas Emrah Ozdemir, Cengiz Bozkurt, Ani Pekkaya, Volga Sorgu Tekinoglu
Screenwriters: Hüseyin Karabey, Ayça Damgaci
Producers: Lucinda Englehart, Hüseyin Karabey, Sophie Lorant
Editor: Mary Stephen
Co-Producers: Jeroen Beker, Frans van Gestel, Harry Sutherland, Dennis Tal
Director of Photography: A. Emre Tanyildiz
Composers: Kemal S. Gurel, Erdal Guney, Huseyin Yildiz

Program Notes

In March 2003, as American bombs began falling on Baghdad, Turkish actress Ayça Damgaci left her flat in Istanbul and headed for the Iraq border. Behind that cordon was Kurdish actor Hama Ali Khan, the love of Damgaci's life-her moon and stars, her Marlon and her Brando, her everything. Hüseyin Karabey makes his narrative debut retelling the tale of Damgaci's quixotic road trip to the war zone, with Damgaci playing herself and Khan appearing in the actual video love notes he sent to her during their time apart. My Marlon and Brando is a piece of rough magic, a film with a soul as light, a heart as heavy, and a will as steely as its heroine's own.

Karabey's experience as a director of documentaries shines through in his devotion to ethnographic detail-he's eager to let the camera stray, vérité-style, and this helps to bring home Damgaci's growing sense of dislocation. Borders may be porous, but it is still possible to feel a stranger in a strange land. Really, though, the movie is Damgaci's-a brave, tender, and frequently very funny tribute to her love for Khan. Read aloud, her letters to him make for something wonderful and new in the history of lovers beseeching. Communicating in English, their shared tongue, Damgaci's clumsy grasp of the language elevates into rhetoric all the more moving for being flawed. Likewise, through Khan's ham-fistedly hilarious videos, you miss him on Dagmaci's behalf. Politics may turn this comedy about unlikely lovers into a tragedy, but even in its fleeting ungainliness, My Marlon and Brando is a fitting homage to Damgaci and Khan, two matched souls that no impassable border could ever tear asunder. Co-hosted with The American Turkish Society and Moon and Stars Project.

– Peter Scarlet

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Crossing Borders: A Cinematic Journey from the West to the East

An In-Depth Conversation on My Marlon and Brando, a film by Huseyin Karabey, competing in the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival

Date: May 2, 2008
Time: 7:00 PM-8:30 PM
Location: NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway (corner of Waverly), Screening Room 109, New York, NY 10003

The American Turkish Society and Moon and Stars Project Present Crossing Borders: A Cinematic Journey from the West to the East
An In-Depth Conversation on GITMEK / MY MARLON AND BRANDO

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Huseyin Karabey’s feature debut Gitmek / My Marlon and Brando makes its North American Premiere in 2008 Tribeca Film Festival’s World Narrative Feature Competition . Three years ago, in real-life, Hama Ali, a charismatic B movie actor from Iraq, and Ayca,a fiery actress from Turkey, met on a film-set. Their love affair continued across borders through video love letters until the war in Iraq. As people fled from East to West seeking safety, Ayca decided to make the journey from West to East, seeking her lover. My Marlon and Brando, a feature film in which Ayca plays herself, is based on her extraordinary and, ultimately unexpected, experiences in such sad, mad times….


Having studied Dramaturgy and Theater Science at Istanbul University, Ayca Damgaci began her professional acting career at Tiyatro Oyunevi (Theater Playhouse) in 1998. She won the Best Actress Award for her performance in My Marlon and Brando at the 27th International Istanbul Film Festival. She is the founder and one of the lead vocals for “Gocebe Sarkilar” (The Nomadic Songs), a music band singing Sephardic, Roman, Armenian, Andalucian, Balkan, and Anatolian songs. Damgaci is currently rehearsing day and night for two theater productions by Bilsak Theater Atelier and Garaj Istanbul.

Bilge Ebiri is a Turkish American film critic and filmmaker. He writes about film for New York Magazine, Bookforum, and His first feature film, a comedy thriller entitled New Guy, was released in 2004, and he is currently at work on his second.

Film producer, Lucinda Englehart, is based in London but works on co-productions around the world. Having studied Political Science at Cambridge University, she moved to Cape Town. Here, she wrote extensively on the experience of documentary subjects telling their stories of apartheid memory and produced a number of South African feature films and documentaries. She met Huseyin Karabey at the Venice Film Festival and having heard the extraordinary true story told in My Marlon and Brando, came on board to produce this feature film with him.

Regarded as one of the new directing talents in Turkey’s growing independent film scene, Huseyin Karabey developed My Marlon and Brando with Ayça Damgaci. His previous work includes Boran, a short film that explores the disappearance of 5,000 Turkish political activists in the 1990s by bringing together actual facts and dramatic elements, and the feature-length docudrama Silent Death. His documentary Breath was an exclusive look at Pina Bausch, the world-famous German choreographer. Karabey lectures at universities and cultural organizations in Turkey, and his films have won numerous awards.

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