Monday, Dec 17, 2007
Fatih Akin is riding two horses as the Oscar race for best foreign-language feature rounds the far bend, heading to the Jan. 22 announcement of Academy Award nominations. For while Akin is director of "The Edge of Heaven," Germany's entry this year, he also is one of the producers of "Takva," Turkey's official submission.
Akin's dual allegiance is only fitting, of course, since he was born in Hamburg, Germany, to parents who emigrated from Turkey. His mixed heritage is reflected in his films.
"Heaven," which Strand will release stateside, revolves around three family pairings -- a Turkish father and son, a German mother and daughter and a Turkish mother and daughter -- whose lives interact as the story shuttles between the two countries. Structurally, it's a twisty movie, with plot lines that overlap, sometimes tracking back in time, and title cards that announce the impending deaths of central characters even before the audience is fully introduced to them.
But while the subject matter allows the director to continue to explore dueling cultures, the specifics of the plot did not come easily to him. In fact, after the international success of 2004's "Head-On," he admits to struggling with writer's block.
"The whole thing was a bit like a puzzle," Akin says of "Heaven." "I collected a lot of bricks, but I didn't know what to do with them. I think the first brick was meeting (iconic German actress) Hanna Schygulla at a film festival while I was touring with 'Head-On.' She expressed a desire to work with me, and I knew I wanted to work with her."
In "Heaven," Schygulla plays the German mother, who has difficulty understanding why her daughter has befriended a young Turkish woman.
About working out the screenplay, Akin says: "I'm a fan of the work of Guillermo Arriaga, the writer of '21 Grams' and 'Amores Perros.' I really like how these sort of stories are told. I wanted to try something different from my own work. It's not possible to tell this story in a chronological way. The film has a structure that is more like a book, like literature."
Akin's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. "Heaven" picked up an award for its screenplay at this year's Festival de Cannes and was honored for its screenplay this month at the European Film Awards.
Meanwhile, through his Hamburg-based production company Corazon International, Akin also is busy as a producer, having helped set up the financing for Ozer Kiziltan's "Takva," a Turkish film about a devout Islamic man who takes a job as a rent collector only to find his fundamentalism challenged as he ventures into the modern world. The film was written by Onder Cakar, a friend of Akin's who Akin frequently consults when he's working on the rough cuts of his own features. When Cakar showed him his screenplay, Akin volunteered to help with the production.
"I'm very comfortable as a producer," Akin says. "I trust the vision of the director, and so my company helps find money for them. When I produce, I express my ideas and might also offer ideas about editing, but I don't force anything on anyone."
While "Takva" focuses on conflict within the Muslim world, "Heaven" looks at the conflicts between Muslims and the West. Says Akin: "I think it's good for cinema. Whenever there is a clash or conflict, you have to put that on camera. And conflict makes for drama."
"Heaven" suggests that culture clash can result in mutual understanding, but, says Akin: "I don't try to create a certain tolerant culture. I'm not a missionary on these things. But my idea is that facing the death of a human being is the same no matter which color or nationality."
Saturday, Jun 23, 2012
The Second "Kazakhstan Montage of Cinemas: Film & Cultural Festival" launches at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles on Aug. 3 for a one-week celebration of Kazakh cinema and culture, including musicians.
The festival is a stellar opportunity for directors, producers, location scouts, and the general public to get an understanding and appreciation of this exotic locale without leaving home.
Sweeping from the Caspian Sea on its Russian border to the Altai Mountain range on the Chinese border, Kazakhstan has a rich nomadic history as well as a powerful current tapestry of cultures. Since gaining independence in 1991, the Central Asian Republic has embraced its remarkable filmmaking past that dates back to the 1930's, when Sergei Eisenstein made his classic Ivan the Terrible in this mystic land, and has even given rise to several "New Wave" movements.
Opening night on Aug. 3rd begins with a reception at 7 pm, and includes a program of live entertainment until 11 pm, at the DGA Theater.
Sponsored by Kazakh Geographic Society (KazGeo.kz ), helixfilmsinc.com , the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles, the festival includes Advisory Board Members Steven-Charles Jaffe (GHOST, K19), David Marconi (Screenwriter, ENEMY OF THE STATE), and Ambassador Erlan Idrissov.
Tickets cost $10 (including free parking) can be purchased from the festivals website. "Kazakhstan Montage of Cinemas: Film & Cultural Festival 2012" will be held Aug. 3 - 9 at the Directors Guild of America on 7920 Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California
For more information, please see www.kazakhfestival.com - KazakhFilmFestLA@gmail.com
Source : HelixFilmsInc.com
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The 65th Festival de Cannes drew to a close tonight with the closing awards ceremony hosted by Academy Award nominated actress Berenice Bejo.
The top prize was captured yet again by Michael Haneke for his portrait of an elderly couple Amour. This is the second time he has bested Jacques Audiard who was also in competition with De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone). Haneke becomes one of the few two-time Palme d'Or winners alongside Alf Sjoberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, Emir Kusturica, Shohei Imamura, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne and only the second after August to win with consecutive films his previous Palme d'Or was for his 2009 film Das weiße Band (The White Ribbon).
Matteo Garrone picked up his second Grand Prix for his film Reality. Previously, he had won in 2008 for Gomorrah.
The surprise winner for the Jury Prize was Ken Loach with The Angels' Share. He previously won the Palme d'Or in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Another previous Palme d'Or winner won Best Screenplay. Cristian Mungiu who made 4 luni, 3 săptămâni ?i 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) returned with După dealuri (Beyond the Hills), and it also shared the Best Actress for its stars Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur.
In spite of the heavy American representation in the selection, the only American film to win a prize was Benh Zeitlin's Un Certain Regard entry Beasts of the Southern Wild which won the Camera d'Or for first film. Last night, it had won the FIPRESCI international critics' prize.
Complete list of winners for the 65th Festival de Cannes
Amour, Michael Haneke (France-Germany-Austria)
Reality, Matteo Garrone (Italy-France)
The Angels' Share, Ken Loach (U.K.-France-Belgium-Italy)
Carlos Reygadas, Post tenebras lux (Light After Darkness) (Mexico-France-Germany-Netherlands)
Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, După dealuri (Beyond the Hills) (Romania-France-Belgium)
Mads Mikkelsen, Jagten (The Hunt) (Denmark-Sweden)
Cristian Mungiu, După dealuri (Beyond the Hills) (Romania-France-Belgium)
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (U.S.)
PALME D'OR FOR BEST SHORT FILM
SESSYZ-BE DENG (SILENCE), REZAN YE?YLBA?
Source : www.ensonhaber.com