The 16th !f İstanbul Independent Film Festival has announced its winners. Iran's Reza Dormishian's feature Lantouri won the !f Inspired award, designed to celebrate films that take cinema in new directions. Meanwhile, the Syrian/Danish co-production The War Show won the activism themed Love & Change award, alongside a Special Mention for Egyptian Tamer El Said's In the Last Days of the City.
Organised in partnership with İş Bankası Maximum Card, !f Istanbul is dedicated to cutting edge contemporary cinema, with a special focus on new ways of storytelling, activism themed cinema and alternative content. Attended annually by some 80,000 viewers, this year it also hosted an inaugural Doc Lab, for documentary filmmakers from the region, as well as a special exhibition of VR titles.
Inspired Award Goes To Iran's Lantouri
The !f Inspired competition is designed to celebrate films that ‘take cinema in a new direction' whether through their storytelling approach or technique. This year nine films from around the world competed for the award and its 10.000USD cash prize.
A jury comprised of director Richie Mehta, cinematographer Florent Herry and actress Nesrin Cavadzade awarded Iran's Reza Dormishian for his film Lantouri, "for his ability to show the best and the worst of humanity both in behaviour and belief."
The jury also awarded Egyptian Tamer El Said's In the Last Days of the City a special mention, "for his ability to tell a poetic and beautiful story out of ugliness and loss".
Turkish Film Critics also choose Tamer El Said
A jury comprised of Barış Saydam, Janet Barış and Murat Tırpan on behalf of the Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD) also chose Tamer El Said's film, "For describing the story of a city, a country, a geography, while doing it achieving a poignant reality in capturing poetic influences".
Love&Change Award Goes to The War Show
Four years ago !f İstanbul launched a new competition designed to showcase activist themed films. The competition also carries a 10.000USD award. This year, seven films were in the running.
A jury comprised of Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, Turkish author Ece Temelkuran and director and producer Khalid Abdalla said: "The selection of films we watched as a jury for this section was incredibly powerful, and we would like to thank the festival for the diligence of its heart in programming around the theme of love and change. Seen together the seven films were a brave and arresting statement on the state of the world, and the reflection required while navigating through darkness to change it. To watch these films with love as a criterion and guide was in itself a provocation and reminder that transformations in the smallest details of love have ramifications of extraordinary breadth."
The War Show is directed by Danish Andreas Dalsgaard and Syrian Obaidah Zytoon and is a first person account of the harrowing events in Syria since the Arab Spring. The jury said: "We have chosen The War Show for this year's award. It is a love letter to friends, to a homeland, and a moment in time whose ruptures live with us all. In the face of cynicism, fatigue and suspicion, The War Show perseveres, laying bare its wounds to embody questions that step beyond easy answers. There is so much to balance in this film, and yet that difficulty becomes part of the film's strength. Emotionally and politically it maps the ground of one of the most complicated of terrains, while being open about innocence, about confusion, and about failures. We must search out the tenderest of seeds, it seems to say, if we are to sow another future."
Jury Special Mention for Rat Film
The jury also awarded a special mention to US filmmaker Theo Anthony for his Rat Film. The jury said: "The sophistication with which it smells out the real rats of structural violence is exemplary. Entertaining, surprising, deft, it excavates the world we wish to change and challenges us to question how we set traps for ourselves, and how delicately and precisely we must unpick them."
Shorts viewers select Pınar Yorgancıoğlu's film
The audience award for the best Turkish short, voted from among a selection of 27 shorts, went to Pınar Yorgancıoğlu's "Nebile Hanım'ın Solucandeliği" Second place went to Rûken Tekeş' short "Heverk (Çember)" and third to Pınar Öğünç for "Evbark".