Festival prize money totals $543,500.

Onur Ünlü’s The Extremely Tragic Story of Celal Tan and His Family was named Best Film with a purse of 350,000 Turkish Lira ($ 190,222) - at this year’s International Golden Boll Film Festival in Turkey’s fourth largest city Adana.

The nine-day event ended at the weekend in an open-air ceremony before 2,000 people with a total of almost 1 million Turkish Lira ($543,500) in prize-money being handed out in the festival’s three competition sections.

43 local productions had been submitted to screen in this year’s national Feature Film Competition, with 14 titles making it to the final selection, including seven world premieres and four Turkish premieres.

Ünlü’s story about a retired constitutional law professor and his entangled family relationships also picked up the award for Best Screenplay as well as a special jury award created especially this year to recognise the ensemble performance of the film’s cast.

However, the largest number of prizes were given to Özcan Alper’s second feature Future Lasts Forever which picked up awards for best actor, best cinematography, best music as well as the SIYAD Turkish Film Critic Association’s Prize and the Yilmaz Güney Award in memory of the late internationally renowned filmmaker who came from Adana.

The co-production with France’s Arizona Film and Germany’s Unafilm had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month.

Accepting the Yilmaz Güney Award from the filmmaker’s widow Fatoş, Alper declared: “I believe this award is the most beautiful and most meaningful of all the awards. I just hope I can continue to make films that Yilmaz Güney would support.”

Meanwhile, the Competition Jury headed by filmmaker Derviş Zaim and including actor Taner Birsel (most recently seen in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time In Anatolia) and screenwriter/actress Ebru Ceylan gave its Special Jury Award to the Turkish-German co-production of producer F. Serkan Acar’s directorial debut Love and Revolution as well as three nods for art direction, best promising young actress and best promising young actor (ex aequo with The Body).

Ironically, Acar and his Cologne-based co-producer Kadir Sözen of Filmfabrik had been the producers of Özcan Alper’s debut feature Autumn which was seen by 150,000 cinema-goers in Turkey.

Moreover, four awards – best director, best actress, best supporting actress and best sound design - were taken home by Cemil Ağacıkoğlu’s feature debut September, and Ruhi Karadağ’s Simurg about real-life political prisoners who undetook death fasts to protest against prison conditions was voted by the festival audience as the winner of this year’s Audience Award.

Speaking about this year’s competition lineup, jury president Derviş Zaim said: “Turkey is the process of facing up to the past and this is something we have witnessed to an impressive degree during this festival. I think it is important to comment that on this topic the jury found the films Hidden Lives, Simurg and Home to be particularly poignant.“

Meanwhile, Hüseyin Karabey, director of the feature film My Marlon and Brando, won one of the prizes in the Mediterranean Short Film Competition for his animation No Darkness Can Make Us Forget about Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist killed by a Muslim nationalist in Istanbul in 2007. The film’s soundtrack features Dink’s wife’s speech at the funeral which became a manifesto of peace and tolerance between Muslims and Christians.

Highlights at this year’s edition of the Golden Boll festival included the Turkish premiere of the Cannes Grand Prix winner Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, a retrospective of films by the jury president Derviş Zaim, and special screenings of films by Yilmaz Güney – from 1970’s Hope to1978’s The Herd – as well as the presentation of the restored version of the Lütfi Akad’s 1966 classic The Law Of Borders which featured Güney as an actor.

International guests travelling to Adana included Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla, Cannes Film Festival’s Rita Goegebeur, Thessaloniki Film Festival programmer Dimitri Kerkinos, FIPRESCI’s secretary general Klaus Eder, filmmakers Hawa Essuman (Soul Boy), Li Ruijun (Old Donkey), and Bahij Hojeij (Ring Of Fire) producer Thom Palmen, and Taiwanese producer/festival programmer Steven Tu (The Fourth Portrait).

In addition, the festival provided the backdrop for a four-day international conference on Turkish cinema which addressed such issues as film censorship systems, the impact of Eurimages on Turkish cinema, legal problems and solutions as well as film analyses of recent Turkish productions such as Losers’ Club, Majority and Gira and a special session on the cinema of Yilmaz Güney.

Güney also featured prominently in Adana’s Cinema Museum which opened on Friday with a ceremony attended by Adana Governor Huseyin Avni Cos, the Municipality Deputy Mayor Zihni Aldirmaz, and Güney’s widow Fatoş Güney.

The museum, whose archives include Güney’s prison letters, also pays tribute to other filmmakers and artists hailing from Adana such as DoP Abidin Dino, author Orhan Kemal, actors Sener Sen and Salih Güney, and director Ali Özgentürk who was one of the three recipients of the Golden Boll’s Honorary Awards this year and showed his latest feature Love Me as a world premiere in the National Competition.

At the festival’s closing event, Aldirmaz said that he would like the Cinema Museum to become a leading institution dedicated to the history of Turkish cinema and cinema in Adana from the beginnings to the present day.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Ministry for Culture and Tourism announced during the festival that more than 11 million Turkish Liras had been allocated to film projects at its latest funding session.

Over 5 million Turkish Liras has been paid out to new feature projects by such directors as  Derviş Zaim (The Fish), Erden Kiral (The Bird) and Zeki Demirkubuz (Those On Their Feet), while other funds were awarded as postproduction support for seven projects including Ferenc Török’s Istanbul and Ali Özgentürk’s Unseen. (ends)