Author: Talat Gokdemir

2013

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5 September 2013 – Mengu Turk, our actress in ‘landescapes’ has been awarded the Best Actress award in Kosovo at the Shqip International Short Film Festival!

4 September 2013 – Another screening of ‘Leave’, this time in Amsterdam! 19 September! http://www.la-mosca.com/

26 August 2013 – A screening of ‘Leave’ will take place on Wednesday 28 August 2013 at The Hideaway Bar, 114 Junction Road London, N19 5LB UK. Doors open 7pm, Films start 7:30pm. Entry is free!

25 July 2013 – Both ‘landescapes’ and ‘Meztli’ have been selected for the Shqip International Short Film Festival in Kosovo! After having a great experience there last year with ‘Leave’, having both films I produced selected again is great!

1 July 2013 – It’s a Wrap! Congrats to the cast and crew of ‘Kuyu’.

2 June 2013 – I’m a part of a short film which begins production today! The title of the film is ‘Kuyu’, which translates to ‘Well’. The production is taking place in Cyprus and I’m the AD! The film is directed by Ömer Yetkinel of InMotion Productions.

9 March 2013 – ‘landescapes’ will be screened at the Ankara Int. Film Festival on 20 March at 2pm!

1 March 2013 – Another film I produced in 2012 is now complete! ‘Meztli’, directed by Astrid Salas, is an experimental piece that I am really intrigued to share with festivals this year!

27 February 2013 – ‘landescapes’ has been selected for the Ankara International Film Festival in Turkey! The festival will take place between 14-24 March! http://www.filmfestankara.org.tr/?page=index

26 February 2013 – ‘landescapes’ screening tonight at Rio Cinema!

14 February 2013 – Congrats to Elissa Ayoub for getting accepted in to the European Independent Film Festival! I was also one of the editors on the film! http://www.ecufilmfestival.com/?page_id=17344&lang=en

12 February 2013 – Come and watch our short film ‘landescapes’ on Tuesday 26 February at Rio Cinema in Dalston! Starting at 18.30! http://www.ltff.co.uk/feature_films/landescapes.php

2 February 2013 – Had a great screening of ‘Leave’ at Vibe Gallery yesterday, wasn’t expecting a crowd of nearly 100 to turn up! Many thanks to Vibe Shorts!

1 February 2013 – ‘Bird’ will be shown in the Scottish part of the Travelling Film Festival Rennes! Congrats to Ali Bayne once again! http://www.clairobscur.info/Actualites-367-395-0-1.html

16 January 2013 – ‘landescapes’, produced by myself and directed by Damla Kirkali has received its first acceptance at a film festival! Our short film has been selected for the 18th London Turkish Film Festival which will take place between 21 February and 3 March! http://www.ltff.co.uk

10 January 2013 – ‘Leave’ will be screened in Bermondsey as part of the monthly indie short film night hosted by Vibe Gallery on 1 February! https://www.facebook.com/VibeShorts

2014

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9-11 October 2014 – I had a chance to experience some tense pitching at the Baltic pitching forum and also saw some great shorts at the Vilnius International Short Film Festival.

5-9 October 2014 – I attended the InScript workshop “Too short to die”, which is a training workshop for writer and directors. The workshop took place in Druskininkai, Lithuania.

15 September 2014 – Another screening for ‘Leave’ at the Golden Island International Film Festival in Cyprus which will take place in November!

2 September 2014 – Have been selected to workshop my script ‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend) in Lithuania next month! Maybe, just maybe it will evolve in to a version which is actually shootable in Cyprus this time! http://www.inscript.lt/workshop/

5 August 2014 – During my trip to New York, I visited the Quickstop where ‘Clerks’ was shot! And also managed to do some background extra work in Season 4 of Comic Book Men!

28 June 2014 – Completed the first draft of my new script ‘The Girl with Wings’! Such a great feeling to be working on a brand new story!

2015

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10 December 2015 – We have picture lock on ‘Weekend’! Next step is colour correction and sound design!

17 October 2015 – A further five minutes chopped away. ‘Weekend’ is approaching!

20 September 2015 – So the real first cut is done and the film is just below 30 mins. A real joy to see it all come together finally.

18 July 2015 – First assembly of the film turns out to be 42 minutes! This will be a challenge indeed!

12 July 2015 – After 7 very long days, it’s a wrap on my film ‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend)! Thanks to an amazing and dedicated cast and crew!

5 June 2015 – So after months of writing and re-writing, the script I have been working on for 5 years is finally ready to become a reality! In a month we start shooting ‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend) in Cyprus!

Other

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MILOS ‘STAR WARS’ PROMO, CYPRUS – 2016. CO-DIRECTOR.

GREEK FLASHMOB AT SOUTHBANK, LONDON – 2012. CAMERAMAN.

THE MAKING OF ‘BALAD AL THABAB’ – 2012.

ABDALLAH AL ROWAISHED ‘BALAD AL THABAB’ – 2012. 1ST AD.

EMRE PEHLIVAN ‘SENINLE BIR OMUR’ – 2010. ASST.DIRECTOR & EDITOR.

KESHRHYME ‘GOZLER SENDEYKEN’ – 2010. ASST.DIRECTOR.

Shorts

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HAFTASONU(WEEKEND) – CYPRUS, 2016. WRITER & DIRECTOR.

Following his father’s death, Hasan returns to Cyprus after many years. As he spends time in his childhood village with his grieving mother and childhood girlfriend, the inner struggle with his identity and the challenge of being in a traditionalist community resurfaces. The pressure to attend the funeral pushes Hasan to confront his past and to search for reconciliation, not only with his family and home but also with himself. Click here to watch a trailer for the film.

6th International Short Film Festival of Cyprus – Honorary Distinction for Best Actor Izel Seylani
14th Mediterranean Short Film Festival of Tangier (Morocco)
4th FerFilm International Film Festival (Kosovo)

BRÓÐIR(BROTHER) – ICELAND, 2016. ASSISTANT EDITOR.

In a remote village in Northern Iceland, two teenage brothers try to make sense of their lives and their relationship with one other.

Reykjavik International Film Festival

BEKLEYIS(AWAITING) – CYPRUS, 2016. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR.

A short film that explores the effects of conflict and war on a Turkish and Greek Cypriot child.

LEAVE – UNITED KINGDOM, 2012. WRITER & DIRECTOR.

This is the story of Maria, a young woman who has accepted her lifestyle of abusement and domination by Juan. A shared moment with a small child breaks the thick wall embedded around Maria’s soul, leading her towards an opportunity for freedom. Click here to watch an extract.

Cyprus International Film Festival – Special Mention for Best Short Film
Ljubljana International Short Film Festival (Slovenia)
Fastnet Short Film Festival (Ireland)
Shqip International Short Film Festival (Kosovo)
Deep Fried Film Festival (Scotland)
Salento International Film Festival (Italy)
Cornwall Film Festival (United Kingdom)
Vibe Shorts, London (United Kingdom)
La Mosca screening, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
Golden Island International Film Festival (Cyprus)

BIRD – SCOTLAND, 2012. ASSOCIATE PRODUCER.

Adolescence is the only period in which we learn anything…

BAFTA New Talent Award – Best Actor nomination for Lauren Grace Wilson (United Kingdom)
Raindance Film Festival – Best UK Short nomination (United Kingdom)
Encounters Short Film & Animation Film Festival (United Kingdom)
Glasgow International Film Festival (United Kingdom)
Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (United Kingdom)
Flatpack Film Festival (United Kingdom)
Travelling Film Festival, Rennes (France)

MALI – LEBANON, 2012. EDITOR.

Mali revolves around the life of Mali, a Sri-Lankan domestic worker, locked within the household of her Lebanese employer in Lebanon.

Cannes Short Film Corner (France)
The European Independent Film Festival (France)
Pentedattilo International Short Film Festival (Italy)
Leiden International Short Film Experience (The Netherlands)
International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration & Equality (Indonesia)
Festival du monde Arabe du Court metrage (Morocco)

LANDESCAPES – UNITED KINGDOM, 2013. ASST. DIRECTOR & PRODUCER.

A young couple living in London try to maintain their relationship amongst the pressure of their families, unemployment and alienation. Peter wishes to marry Ayse in order to stop living in the shadow of his mother. Meanwhile Ayse struggles to come to terms with her existence as an outsider within the society. The two look for a way to escape their conflicts, unaware of each other.

Shqip International Short Film Festival (Kosovo) – Best Actress for Mengu Turk
Ankara International Film Festival (Turkey)
London Turkish Film Festival (United Kingdom)

MEZTLI – MEXICO, 2013. PRODUCER.

In Aztec times, the daughter of the Moon was born in what is now Mexico City on Lake Texcoco (also know as The Lake of the Moon). Abandoned and left behind in a chaotic surreal scenario, Meztli (the daughter of the Moon) starts a cycle of five phases, where her identity will be transformed by unusual encounters that will shape her future.

SHOWREEL 2010-2012.

storytelling and connecting

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18/10/15 – Autumn has arrived. Its golden aura, surrounding most of us with a feeling of being down and miserable. Not me. I never have been a season person, not one of those “I need the sun” addicts. I guess 16 years of Cyprus does that to a person. I’ve had my fair share, so I can deal with moody weather for the rest of my life.

Title screen

Title screen

What I’m trying to say is that, weather never has dictated my mood. Working three days a week and the other four being devoted to myself is what makes me feel good! Part-time bitches!

You see, I’m at the stage of editing my film. Just watching the progress of it getting shorter yet more concise, and therefore becoming a more coherent and watchable piece of work, is a gratifying experience. Only three months ago, I had just completed the production of ‘Weekend’. A small cast and crew worked endlessly to film my script to the best of their capabilities. It’s a very weird feeling to return back to normalcy after such an extreme schedule of concentration and long hours of production. But it’s done, it’s really really done.

still from 'Weekend'

still from ‘Weekend’

‘Weekend’ is a film that uses the cypriot landscape not just for aesthetics. It’s a land of tradition but also a land of ever-going change. Therefore I believe that international audiences, if given the opportunity, will feel certain familiar aspects to their own lives as well. But in the end, who knows if anyone will really connect with the story or appreciate the nuances that we hope they, the audience will get? Or maybe, there isn’t anything to get? Art is subjective, some will find meaning where others will find a blank canvas. Some will interpret a blank canvas according to their own life experience and fill it with philosophical and psychological subtext. I can only hope to reach hearts and minds that are willing to go along with me on this journey. Liking or disliking is secondary compared to connecting; once you connect, a discussion can be held on the film itself. That’s what I hope to achieve.

still from 'Weekend'

still from ‘Weekend’

‘Weekend’ coming to life – Part two

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14 shot1

14. EXT.HASAN’S HOUSE-BACK GARDEN.DAY

FATMA(60) is kneeled down, watering the vegetables with a
hose pipe. She turns her head as she realises someone is
standing behind her and sees Hasan looking at her. Fatma,
slightly hunched, stands up and wipes her wet hands on her
clothes before walking towards Hasan.14 shot2

14 shot3
FATMA
Welcome, my son.

Fatma holds Hasan’s cheeks and kisses them, then embraces him.

FATMA
You really came.

HASAN
I did mother.

*storyboards courtesy of Alasdair Bayne, storyboard artist on ‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend)

‘Weekend’ coming to life

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10 shot1
10. EXT.HASAN’S HOUSE.DAY

The car parks in front of the house. They both get out.
Hasan grabs his bag from the boot. They hug.

IRFAN
I’ll see you tomorrow then.

Hasan nods. Irfan gets in the car and drives off. Hasan
turns his head to the house in front of him. A white
walled bungalow with visible signs of restoration made
over the years with a small garden and patio at the front.
On the side, there is a small dirt path of the driveway
leading to the garage. Hasan lifts the squeaky handle of
the gate and enters.

10 shot2

11. EXT.HASAN’S HOUSE-PATIO.DAY

An old WOODEN CHAIR is on the concrete part of the patio.
Hasan looks at it, then walks past it towards the open
front door.

11

*storyboards courtesy of Alasdair Bayne, storyboard artist on ‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend)

Identifying the stain

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26/10/14 – I have to say, I was hesitant at first. I had already did my fair share of travelling in the past 9 months and took some unpaid time off from my day job so I wasn’t jumping with joy with excitement when I received the email saying I had been accepted to attend a screenwriting workshop in Lithuania. It took me some time but in the end, I decided to go. ‘Weekend’, my short film written to be shot in Cyprus had been selected on the basis of its synopsis. As it’s been my passion project since I conceived of it back in 2010 and following failed attempts to shoot in 2012 and 2013, I didn’t have much to lose. Well besides the tuition fee.

I was very happy with the script which I had written 10 drafts of, the most I have ever written for any script. All I wanted to attempt to change was taking out the role of the children. The narrative had elements of abuse which I knew were gonna be hard to achieve on a island like Cyprus. It’s still a sore subject that pre-production came to an abrupt stop due to parents not wanting their children to be a part of a project that talks about this kind of a sensitive subject.

My acreditation card

My acreditation card

So once I reached Lithuania and the small resort town of Druskininkai, it was hard to hear from the tutors that I would need to do a lot of more changes than just that – the core of the film would need a major overhaul. It took me a day or two before I got used to the idea that I would need to open my mind to the various feedback that I was getting. “Make it more personal” and “Write what you know” were the two points that were repeated many times. This can be hard especially when you are so passionate and protective of something you believe you know the best – your idea.

Druskininkai

Druskininkai

After day two, I managed to think of it as an alternative version and start writing a synopsis around this new universe. Same characters, similar structure but a more real and grounded approach. By the time I reached day five which was the final day, I had completely removed all the child roles and reshaped the core relationship of a father and son into something more relatable and definitely more Cypriot. It became the definitive version.

hanging out

hanging out

You see, I’ve never really made a proper film in Cyprus. Actually, I’ve only ever directed one short which I can kinda show to anyone else. But this one has always been very clear in my head. Not in the sense of narrative but in feeling and mood. I want to tell the story of the people of Cyprus. I want to talk about the generation gap, the different ideologies, the pressure of growing up and becoming an adult, not living in the shadow of someone and the plain fear of “where do I belong?”. Identity is the key word in this short script. “What does someone do if they can’t identify themselves in a familiar environment?”

Participants of the workshop

Participants of the workshop

During our lifetime, we see change all around us. Friends appear and disappear, family members come and go, some die. Sometimes we don’t realise the changes around us and sometimes we hope that things will change. But there are moments when you know that no matter what happens, nothing will change. Some stains can’t be removed. Hmm, maybe I should put that on the poster? 🙂

So I returned to London, inspired and ready to get back to writing. I thank all the great writers and directors, both the tutors Jan Fleischer and Angeli Macfarlane and the organisers of InScript for creating this environment. You gave me hope at the most perfect time.

T

Moving on with a load of memories

6/7/14 – The concept of returning back to familiarity has always fascinated me. Looking upon something which once ignited a certain feeling and remembering the visual, the smell, the texture and how it straight away brings you to a moment we experienced. It makes the past ever so more real – it proves it actually happened. Yet, nostalgia usually has a negative connotation in the sense that it evokes the limitations of humanity. We aren’t able to relive any moment in our lives a second time; each one is unique. As we grow older, those very special times in our lives become distant and hard to replicate.

Due to being half Cypriot, I have the compulsory ‘responsibility’ to complete my military service, serving my country as each male citizen has to do. All that bull aside, I’ve found myself again on the small island of Cyprus, which I lived between the age of 6 and 22.  As I stepped into my bedroom, what struck me was the unlived nature of its current state. All the walls had been painted, posters taken down, furniture moved around, a new lamp shade, a new clock and some new wallpaper. My room also has a very interesting cupboard which was the main reason I had chosen this room long ago when I was 6 – a walk in cupboard. A small playground of my own. It had stored all my notebooks from my school years, my various Nintendo consoles, boardgames, puzzles… Luckily they are still there, stored away or in neat piles. The walls are bare though, showing no evidence that they were once covered in stickers of the series Baywatch or World Cup ’94. No photo exists of the interior of this cupboard, only what lives on in my memory and the memory of the ones who once entered it. Although it may not seem significant at all for a stranger, for me it meant the world.

90s kid

90s kid

Memories mean everything for me. I have always been one who thinks about the past and hopes to be able to grasp it one more time. Even as I enter the final years of my 20’s, each dream at night takes me back to a combination of my friends who I used to play with at primary, secondary or high school as we try to avoid the many disaster scenarios my brain likes to conjure. So when I found a section in my bedroom that hadn’t been painted over, a piece of my childhood and puberty that still existed, a giant smile on my face appeared, followed by laughter. This was indeed the same room I grew up in but just like me, had become mature, more understanding of how the world works and more in peace with himself.

You see, I used to write under the window sill. A word or two every couple of months or each year. The window sill itself isn’t very long at all so I had to be very precise on what I decided to write. It wasn’t going to be expressing deep thoughts about the world and it was certainly not going to be any mathematical equations that could rival the String Theory. It was going to be exactly what a stupid teenager who was fighting every single hormone in his body to act like a grown up was going to write. Love, computer games and football. The difference with me was that I always (and I still do) add the date and sometimes the time on.

An entry in 2003 (day and month not visible due to fresh coat of paint) states excitedly that “I’m growing up!!!” By entering the exact date, in my mind I have a proof that this exact moment took place and it will exist forever within this marking. It’s a weird fixation I have with the past and the time passing – even when I play scrabble, I tend to note down the date and time above the players name. It’s kinda emotional, as I now have papers with the time and date of when I played with my granddad who has now passed away.

Rectify

Rectify

Another entry under the window sill entered on 7 June 2003 at 23:42 simply says “I’ve gotten my final school report and school is over sob sob”. My high school years were over and I would never be a kid in that sort of environment ever again. Ever since primary school, my friends wished to grow up whilst I preferred for time to stand still. Maybe that’s why I included dates and times everywhere, wrote under the window sill and was affected so much by my now new looking bedroom. All of that is my childhood which I will never get back and seeing them disappear also is a bit sad. But then again, growing up is maybe just that right? Moving on with a load of memories.

ps. For a more quality look on how time passes or being lost in time, Rectify is quite an interesting tv series on this subject.