We initiated our festival in 2017 and carried out the first edition, inspired by Fethi Gemuhluoğlu’s the “On Amity” speech in which he summarized the amiability in Anatolia, in 2018. The festival attracted significant attention in its first year, receiving 800 applications from 82 countries. In its second year, we organized the festival in memory of Aşık Veysel, who corroborated the perception of Anatolian amiability with his music. We could not have any public promotions due to budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, our festival again attracted considerable attention, receiving 750 applications from 62 countries. We are grateful to the short film directors, who followed us and showed interest, and to our stakeholders and supporters, who understood our point regarding amity and gave their support.
Undoubtedly, our poets and poet-singers are the ones who developed, spread, and universalized the Anatolian amity. As the festival management, we organize this year’s festival in the memory of a great Anatolian poet/poet-singer/thinker. With this, our most celebrated poets, poet-singers, and thinkers, who immortalize the Anatolian amity with their art and prose, will inspire the world of cinema and be introduced to the world with a new perspective.
We will organize this year’s festival in the memory of Yunus Emre, who is commemorated as the cornerstone of the Turkish language, and accepted as the founder of Turkish poetry. He continues to be relevant through his literature and poetry in the Islamization of Anatolia, any many of his poems we know by heart. Today, Yunus Emre is accepted as the poet in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe as the poet who brought the poetry to the highest level with his understanding of amity and brotherhood. The cornerstone of Turkey, the Turkish language and Turkish poetry, Yunus Emre’s poetry is still hosting the most extensive facilities for the much-needed friendship and brotherhood in the modern world. Commemorating, remembering and reflecting his poetry into the field of visual arts through the Amity Festival will carry both our individual and human society to a better future.
In today’s age of consumption and polarization, in which capitalism increases its brutality, friendship and loyalty are despised, and people are becoming more and more hostile. Despite this irreparable collapse, we wish to initiate short and feature film production with the theme of friendship and be a channel for those films in delivering them to the audience through the festival. To put it more clearly: The festival, which set out to re-understand, think the concept of friendship and multiplying its reflection in our lives by using one of the most effective forms of contemporary arts—cinema, we would like to create awareness and growth about friendship—the only legacy of humanity, with various conferences, talks, workshops, competitions, film screenings, and the reflection of a friendly country.
Reaching young people all over Turkey and making them think on “friendship” with the support of the “awards will be given” and inviting them to make films on that subject;
Preparing the ground for young people to meet more closely with the most common and useful art of modern times—cinema, and encouraging them to make the films of their dreams.
Introducing the Anatolian geography and its core—the friendship theme, to all the friendly people or abroad through international participation;
Instilling awareness about friendship in people from all fields by organizing conferences, seminars, poetry talks along with film screenings;
Broadcasting the films that will apply to Competition and Forthy Years of Gratitude section, special compilations that will reflect the logic and culture of amity to the art world and the countries Turkey has international relations;
Building a bridge of amity with those who learn Turkish and interested in Turkish culture and traditions through short films, promoting Turkish cinema and Turkish directors through screenings that will be carried by Yunus Emre Institute centers in foreign countries.
WHAT ARE THE REMNANTS OF AMITY FILM FESTIVAL?
Announcement and Applications
Collaborations and partnerships with national and international film platforms were made to announce the International Amity Short Film Festival. Walkway boards, billboards, vinyl prints, city displays were used. Intensive work was carried out with social media posts, printed materials (brochures, catalogs, posters, etc.) the festival promotional film and video made by our influential friends in the sector and with friends of the festival in the media. Film submissions were received by the bilingual festival website and the international Filmfreeway platform. As a result of this compelling and voluntary work, 1500 applications were submitted from 100 different countries from India to the Philippines, Iran to the USA, Brazil to Syria, France to Algeria, Sweden to Ghana, and from Russia to Kyrgyzstan.
Conferences, Panels, and Talks
It was the inspiration for our activities in the first edition of our festival. The “Fethi Gemuhluoğlu’s Friendship Philosophy Panel” was held at Istanbul University Faculty of Communication.
In 2018 and 2019, two-panel discussions on friendship and cinema were held in Salt Galata with the international audience’s participation. Moderated by our festival president Faysal Soysal, the panels included famous local and foreign directors such as Kamal Tabrizi, Najwa Najjar, Yüksel Aksu, Reis Çelik, Nima Javedi, and Ado Hasanovic.
A talk on “Friendship in Cinema” was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the participation of Jury President Yüksel Aksu, Director of Photography Mirsad Herovic, and Faysal Soysal. “The International Importance of Amity” was held with Ali Gemuhluoğlu and Mehmet Lütfi Şen.
Thirty-four film talks were held at our festival centers with the directors of the finalist films.
Short Film and Post-Production Workshops
Young undergraduate and graduate students from various Turkish universities participated in a film workshop in collaboration with the Bahçeşehir University. Professionals from different fields of cinema met with young people to provide training during the workshop. After the workshop, students, in light of the education they received and under instructors’ supervision, shot a friendship-themed collective short film, in which they put forward their approach. The festival held a special screening for the film.
2nd International Amity Short Film Festival organized a post-production workshop with the collaboration of one of the oldest film studios of Turkey, the Fono Film. Selected participants observed the post-production process in a professional studio under the Editing-Sound Design-Color Design-DCP-VFX titles. And they benefited from the experiences of industry professionals.
During the festival, a variety of meetings were held with national and international short film collectives. Collaborations were established with short film groups.
Director Yüksel Aksu serves as the Jury Chairman of the 1st International Amity Short Film Festival. Director Tevfik Başer, Palestinian scriptwriter and director Najwa Najjar, Iranian director Kamal Tabrizi and Turkish actress Sezin Akbaşoğulları were among the jury members.
The Chairman of the 2nd International Amity Short Film Festival was Reis Çelik. The other jury members were Javea Nima from Iran, Ado Hasanovic from Bosnia-Herzegovina, famous actress Feyyaz Duman, and award-winning director Vuslat Saracoglu from Turkey.
In the first edition of the festival, films under four categories—International Competition, Panorama, Forty Years of Gratitude, and Special Screening—were screened in five different venues, including festival center Beyoğlu Cinema, Kadıköy Cinema, Salt Galata, Bahçeşehir University and Istanbul University. The second edition’s screenings were held in Beyoğlu Fitaş, ZKSM and SALT Galata.
Festival Opening, Closing, and Gala
In the first year of the festival, Opening and Closing activities were held at Beyoğlu Cinema, which is used as festival center. The Gala and Award Ceremony, held in the Cemal Reşit Rey concert hall, attracted considerable attention with the participation of 750 people from both the art world and politics and moviegoers. In the second year of the festival, Opening and Closing activities were held at Beyoğlu Fitaş Cinema, which is used as festival center. The Gala and Award Ceremony held in the Grand Pera Hall attracted considerable attention with the participation of guests from the arts and politics and moviegoers.
After the festival, a series of events were held in Bosnia with the “Friendly Country” theme to increase the international recognition of the festival. Award-winning festival films and an exclusive selection met the audience with a two-day long program in Sarajevo. Also, two-panels discussions with international speakers on ancient relationships, friendship, and the language of cinema between the two countries were held.
Reflections on Media
News about the 1st and 2nd International Amity Short Film Festivals reached 25,000 people, Thanks to the stories in the print and visual media the press coverage exceeded 200,000 in total. Nearly 10,000 people attended the screenings, talks, and workshops.
3RD INTERNATIONAL AMITY SHORT FILM FESTIVAL – IN THE MEMORY OF YUNUS EMRE
WHAT WILL BE DONE?
Announcements and Applications
The 3rd International Amity Short Film Festival, in cooperation with national and international film platforms, will be launched with outdoor advertisements, printed materials, publicity films and videos, shot and shared by the festival’s influential friends and the festival’s friends in media after and intense work. The festival will accept the applications for films for competition and non-competition sections, make calls and publish presentations through the bilingual official website and Filmfreeway platform. It will also engage in promotional activities in each country for special screenings that are planned to be held in 30 countries where a Yunus Emre Institute is located.
Conferences, Panels, and Talks
During the festival, national and international cinema, friendship, and Yunus Emre themed lectures, panel discussions, and talks will be held at the universities, festival venues, SALT Galata, and in a “Friendly Country,” determined by the festival committee.
As in previous festival editions, the 3rd International Amity Short Film Festival plans to organize workshops in Turkey and the “Friendly Country” t support young filmmakers. For the second Post-Production Workshop, new participants will observe the post-production process in a professional studio under the Editing-Sound Design-Color Design-DCP-VFX titles and benefit from the experiences of industry professionals. The Film Set Workshop, which will be held for the first time this year, an ongoing film set will be opened to workshop participants. In a 2-day long workshop, the young filmmakers will gain experience in real stages of making a film by seeing the process on site.
As in both editions of our festival, the 3rd edition will hold talks and establish collaborations with many national and international short film collectives. Especially for 30 global screenings, discussions will be held with film platforms in relevant countries.
As in the first two editions of the festival, this festival will also publish a specially designed festival catalog and a Turkish-English book with Yunus Emre’s friendship-themed poems.
The chairman of the jury will be from Turkey, and other jury members will be distinguished industry professionals from Turkey and abroad.
Festival Screening Venues
The festival center, where the competition films will be screened, will be a theater in Beyoğlu as in previous years.
As in previous editions, Panorama, Forty Years of Gratitude, and Special Screenings will meet the audience in major theaters in the European and Anatolian sides. The festival plans to have screenings in many countries as well.
In normal conditions of epidemic, the directors of the finalist films will be invited to Istanbul, and our voluntary students will be their hosts. After the film screenings, talks will be held with the directors. Conferences and lectures will be held on the friendship theme in cinema and experiences about film production.
Festival Opening, Closing, and Gala
Opening, Closing, and Gala events will be held in İstanbul’s primary cultural venues. As in the first two years, the festival aims to end the festival in Turkey with a crowded, friendly, and dynamic ceremony with the national and international guests’ participation.
Friendly Country Screenings
The 3rd International Amity Short Film Festival plans to organize special selection screenings in foreign countries either after the festival or simultaneously. Hosting a program with international talks and workshops in another country is the festival’s goal.