Amity Honorary Award 2021

4. International Amity Short Film Festival

SELDA ALKOR ÖDÜL

AN AMBASSADOR OF ELEGANCE: SELDA ALKOR

The 1960s are called the “golden age” for Turkish cinema. On the one hand, the star system, leaning on its audience, was managing Yeşilçam economically, and on the other hand, it was busy creating stars that would give life to the tales flowing from the curtains of dream castles. The central woman characters in these fairy tales were naive, charming, and impressive, and the boys were handsome and flirtatious. While the Anatolian operators determined the production conditions in Turkish cinema, Yeşilçam recruited star candidates from the theater or casino stages or the artist competitions held one after the other by cinema magazines such as Yıldız, Artist, Perde, and Ses. The contribution of the “cover star” competitions, especially by Ses, to Turkish cinema was an undeniable fact. Selda Alkor is before us today as a gift from Ses magazine to Turkish cinema…

When the question of who are the female stars of our cinema today, how many names come to mind among the hundreds of actors who have contributed to the cinema throughout the history of Turkish cinema? Do these names come to our minds because we are attracted to them and fascinated by their acting? Or were they etched into our minds as stars because of their on-screen look, stance, or attributes associated with the normality in their private lives? The answer to these questions was, of course, in the audience. Everyone had a star and accepted that star in all aspects… Here Selda Alkor was one of the star actresses who had these answers in her physique. Coincidence had gotten her into the cover star contest of Ses magazine. Her family didn’t know. Because of this, she would stop participating and go to the magazine’s office and ask for her photos back. But it didn’t take long for her to be convinced to stay, after which she would be selected as the ‘cover star’ of 1965.

Selda Alkor made her debut in front of the camera with the adventure movie ‘Saturday is Yours Sunday is Mine .’ She shared the lead roles with Tanju Gürsu. She was inexperienced. She didn’t know how to stand in front of the camera, how to get her light, but she was careful; she was learning. One after the other, movies such as ‘Before the Ice Thaw,’ ‘Flower Girl’ and ‘One Day in a Year’ put her among the stars came and went. When the calendars showed 1966, Selda Alkor broke a record by playing the leading roles in 22 films of all genres in a fast pace of work. Throughout these movies, she assumed the identities of being innocent, submissive to her destiny, not trying to control the flow of events, becoming the subject of being loved rather than loving. Being inexperienced, young, and alone in an unfamiliar environment had both negative and positive effects on her with the sense of courage brought on by loneliness, and she soon became one of the sought-after names of Yeşilçam. This shows that someone has not determined her success in cinema; on the contrary, she has drawn her path with the courage of being alone.

Selda Alkor’s aloneness may seem like a misfortune next to some stars who have appeared in the most successful films and have relied on the names that can steer the market. But she doesn’t care at all. Not being supported by someone may not bring her the movies she dreamt of, but it does not prevent her from continuing her path without compromising. Selda Alkor started singing in 1967, taking the stage at the Gar Casino. She trusted her voice. She took singing lessons from Ruhi Su for a while and sang folk songs on stage. She even recorded a 45-track record with songs called ‘Mr. Poor / Tomorrow Will Be A New Day.’ Until 1970, Selda Alkor played the leading roles in films such as ‘Heartless,’ ‘Murderers Also Cry,’ ‘For Children,’ ‘Day of Execution,’ ‘Mercy,’ ‘Ottoman Bully,’ ‘Plums Blossom,’ ‘Slander,’ ‘First and Last,’ ‘Wound,’ and ‘Poor Girl Leyla,’ which brought record revenues at the box office. And the same year, she said goodbye to Yeşilçam—where she struggled alone—with her 62nd  movie, ‘The Song of the Braves.’

After being away from the film sets for 13 years, Selda Alkor appeared again in front of the camera with the television series ‘Eagles Fly High.’ Years later, Yeşilçam’s elegant, innocent, mistreated young girl would fulfill her longing for her audience through television screen by playing an authoritative, motherly, tough but honest woman. Therefore, it was necessary to attribute her success in “Queen Bee” character to Selda Alkor’s mastery gained from all the experiences she left behind. Selda Alkor won great acclaim with her new “queen bee” character in another  TV series, ‘Asmalı Konak’ in 2003. Selda Alkor, who later took part in high-rated TV series such as ‘Çemberimde Gül Oya’ and ‘Behind Bars,’ continues her active acting career.

Our applause goes to Selda Alkor…

 

Ali Can Sekmeç

November 15, 2021 Beyoğlu

 

 

ENGİN AYÇA ÖDÜL

A CINEMA INTELLECTUAL: ENGİN AYÇA

There are such directors in Turkish cinema that you cannot describe them all at once by putting them in the known, pre-defined or exemplified patterns of the accepted directorial lines. They are different; they are innovative… You discover the secrets of creating a movie with them. You unequivocally acknowledge the abilities they offer at 24 frames per second. They are scholarly but unpretentious. Engin Ayça is one of those directors. Uncompromisingly displaying the intellectual face, attitude, and sometimes political stance of Turkish cinema throughout his long cinema career—has reached today from the end of the 1960s, Engin Ayça has a heart that beats only for cinema despite some disappointments he has experienced…

After his education at Galatasaray High School, he went to Italy, taking his cinema passion with him. He studied filmmaking at the Instituto Superiore Dell Opinione Publica and Centro Sperimentale Di Cinematografia schools in Rome. When he returned to Turkey, he became one of the few filmmakers educated abroad. The Turkish cinema market of those days could not embrace a young filmmaker who had just returned from Italy because Engin Ayça was an idealistic and innovative director candidate. However, Turkish cinema continued to exist as a folk cinema rather than an artistic one, with an increasing number of productions every year. Engin Ayça was determined to stay out of this system. In 1969, he directed his first documentary film, “Bloody Sunday,” with Ahmet Soner and Kuzgun Acar.

Starting in 1970, Engin Ayça worked at Istanbul University Photo Film Center for four years. Then, in 1973, he said: “Making films is a moral issue: to be honest or dishonest in the face of the truth before the audience, to lie or not to lie, to exhibit, put, show whose side you are on or not.” Thus, he started publishing a cinema magazine called “Seventh Art” with Nezih Coş and Atilla Dorsay. He was after examining, identifying, and discussing the dimensions, problems, and function of a forward-looking cinema in Turkey. He tried to put the relationship between society and cinema on the proper ground, developed principles, put forward an inquisitive and intervening stance by purposely inflaming the debates about the meaning of art through the magazine “Seventh Art,” published 24 issues between 1973-1975.

Engin Ayça’s path crossed with Yılmaz Güney in 1974. Evaluating the offer he received from Güney, he worked as an assistant director in the movie “Friend,” which was shot in the same year. After that, cinematography and magazine publishing began to evolve into directing. The consensus he established with Yılmaz Güney would save Turkish cinema if given the opportunity. But he never found this opportunity. Engin Ayça, who entered TRT as a director in 1974, looked at Turkish cinema from afar while directing many television documentaries and programs until 1987. Despite everything, he was not able to help his desire to make a movie.

In 1987, he managed to sit in the director’s chair with the movie “Rag Doll;” he also wrote the script. He described the relationship between a woman who lives alone with her little daughter in an Aegean town while waiting for her jailed husband and an artisan who comes into their lives, laying the groundwork for detective events in a plain and straightforward cinematic language as possible. The film won the ‘second-best film’ and ‘best script’ awards at the 1st International Ankara Film Festival.

In his second film, “Was Cold and  Drizzling,” which he shot from his script called “Uti” in 1990 with famous actors, he told the impossible love of Turkish classical music soloist Leyla and uti Cemal, without giving in to the demands of commercial cinema, and over time transformed other variable elements of the time by using serene, naive and a symbolic way. In particular, he elaborated on the emotional turmoil experienced by the soloist after the death of the uti, pulling people back to the past and recollection.

Engin Ayça, who directed a four-part series called ‘Water Flies’ in 2000, founded a production company called Yunus Film in 2007 and sat on the director’s chair for the third time with the movie “Suna,” of which he also wrote the script. In all three of his films, he expressed his troubles without raising his voice or falling into stereotypes by keeping his interpretation and intelligibility hidden in the details and succeeded in creating a natural, plain, and different style and cinematic language.

Engin Ayça, who approaches Turkish cinema with an intellectual perspective and presents this to his audience in his films, continues his career with documentary works today.

Our applause goes to Engin Ayça için…

 

Ali Can Sekmeç

November 15, 2021 Beyoğlu

 

 

 

 

 

İzleyeceğiniz filmlerin herhangi bir şekilde; bir karesinin, bir kısmının ya da tümünün ses ve görüntülerinin kopyalanması, kayda alınması, ve herhangi bir mecrada yayınlanması Fikir ve Sanat Eserleri Kanunu 71/1 maddesine göre suçtur!