Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Seyfi Teoman: ‘You can’t have it both ways’

Seyfi Teoman has only presented his sophomore directing effort this year; nonetheless, he has learned a lot about the film distribution business in the process.
The young filmmaker behind the drama “Bizim Büyük Çaresizliğimiz” (Our Grand Despair), which had its world premiere earlier this year at the Berlin film festival, says filmmakers should settle for “success either in film festivals or at the box office.”

“If your [film] has drawn 5 million viewers [in the box office], you shouldn’t set your sights on collecting all the movie awards. If your film received a certain number of awards and is honored by festivals, you shouldn’t anticipate 5 million viewers,” said Teoman, a member of the İstanbul-based independent and arthouse filmmakers collective Yeni Sinema Hareketi (New Cinema Movement), during an interview this week with the Anatolia news agency.

Teoman made a successful foray into film directing in 2008 with his drama “Tatil Kitabı” (Summer Book), which premiered at that year’s Berlin film festival. The film went on to win numerous awards both nationally and internationally as well as being featured in several international film festivals abroad.

The 33-year-old director also said in the interview with Anatolia that the reception for arthouse films was the same all around the world. “All films that have a universal content and are made with no commercial concerns … receive the same reaction throughout the world, which is low box-office returns. But there might be exceptions to this,” he said, noting that “Sonbahar” (Autumn), Özcan Alper’s directorial debut, and “İki Dil Bir Bavul” (On the Way to School), a documentary that recounts a school year in a Kurdish village in southeastern Turkey, were examples of such exceptions.

“Films that have a certain political content but that at the same time do not compromise cinematic quality have reached a certain success in the box office, because politics is important in people’s lives,” he said. “If Yeşilçam is the descendant of commercial cinema, we represent the other cinema. We are the heirs of Yılmaz Güney,” he added.


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