Directorial duo Cagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti’s drama Sibel and Tolga Karacelik’s quirky road movie Butterflies were among the top winners at the Adana International Film Festival (Sept 22-30) over the weekend.
Sibel – revolving around an ostracised, mute young woman living in a mountain village whose life is transformed when she helps an injured fugitive in hiding - won the festival’s Golden Boll for best film in the national competition focused on Turkish cinema.
Damla Sönmez won best actress for her performance as the titular Sibel, while Emin Gürsoy clinched best supporting actor for his performance as the fugitive.
It is the second time Sönmez has been feted at Adana. She previously won the best actress Golden Boll in 2014 for her performance in Across The Sea as an expat lawyer who returns home from the US to close old wounds before giving birth to her first child.
The other big winner in the national competition was Tolga Karaçelik’s Butterflies, about three mixed up siblings who bond during a trip to their home village at the request of an estranged father.
The film, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance where it clinched the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, was feted with the Golden Boll for best director as well as the festival’s audience award and best screenplay prize.
Mahmut Fazil Coskun’s dark comedy The Announcement won the festival’s second prize, the Yilmaz Guney award.
The prize, created in the memory of the Palme d’Or-winning, dissident director who hailed from the city of Adana, is usually awarded to first or second features, but unusually this year went to a third film.
The film also clinched the best cinematography award for Krum Rodriguez as well as a separate best director prize awarded by the directors’ guild jury.
Based on real-life events surrounding a 1963 coup d’état, The Announcement originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September where it won a special jury prize in the Horizons section.
Coskun previously won Adana’s Golden Boll for best film in 2013 with his debut feature Yozgat Blues.
International competition jury protests lack of women
The Announcement also competed in Adana’s international competition where it won the Special Jury Award.
South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s mystery drama Burning won the best film prize in the international competition for its, ” treatment of issues of class struggle in masterful narrative and aesthetic terms.”
Radu Jude’s satirical work I Don’t Care If We Go Down in History As Barbarians, exploring Romanian anti-Semitism during World War Two, garnered a special mention award.
“The three films that we found most impactful and artistically interesting are all also deeply political,” the jury, presided over by Polish-Dutch film director Urszula Antoniak, said in a joint statement.
“They are entertaining, engaging films. They describe, analyse, and question the world we live in. This is a function of cinema that is particularly important at this historical moment, and we commend these filmmakers for their courage, integrity, and insight.”
The nine titles screening in the international competition also included Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White, Olivier Assayas’ Non-Fiction and Ethan Hawke’s Blaze.
In their same joint statement, the jury said it was honoured to be at the festival but expressed “surprise” and “disappointment” that not a single film by a female director had been selected for the international competition.
“Given the talented pool of female filmmakers in Turkey and around the world, the international competition of such an important festival didn’t include a single film by a woman director. We wanted to bring this fact to your attention,” they said.
The full list of winners
Best film: Sibel
Best director: Tolga Karaçelik (Butterflies)
Yılmaz Güney Award: The Announcement (Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun)
Adana Audience Award: Butterflies
Special Jury Award: Insiders (Hüseyin Karabey)
Best Screenplay Award: Butterflies (Tolga Karaçelik)
Best Actress Award: Damla Sönmez (Sibel)
Best Actor Awards: Caner Şahin and Yiğit Ege Writer (Brothers)
Best Music Award: Mehmet Güreli (Four-cornered Triangle)
Best Director of Photography Award: Krum Rodriguez (The Announcement)
Best Art Director Award: Tuba Erdem (Four-cornered Triangle)
Best Editing Award: Naim Kanat (The Pigeon Thieves)
Best Actress Award in the Supporting Role: Gizem Erman Soysaldı (Insiders)
Best Actor Award in Supporting Role: Emin Gürsoy (Sibel)
Türkan Şoray Hope Young Woman Award: Gözde Mutluer (Brothers)
Hope Young Actor Award: Seyit Nizam Yılmaz (The Pigeon Thieves)
SİYAD Best Film Award: Banu Sıvacı (The Pigeon)
FİLMYÖN Best Director Award: Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun (The Announcement)
Best film: Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
Special Jury Award: The Announcement (Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun)
Special Mention: I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History as Barbarians (Radu Jude)