!f Istanbul's 2016 awards have been announced! The jury of the ninth annual !f Inspired International Competition split the prize between "Hidden" director Ali Kemal Çınar from Turkey and "Kaili Blues" director Bi Gan from China, while the Film Critics Association of Turkey (SİYAD) Award also went to Ali Kemal Çınar.
The winner of the Love & Change Competition was "Lost and Beautiful" from Italy, and the Special Jury Mention was given to Berke Baş and Melis Birder's "Bağlar" from Turkey. Meanwhile, the Shorts from Turkey Audience Award was given to "Azad" directed by Yakup Tekintangaç.
Actress Nergis Öztürk hosted the ceremony where the !f Inspired Competition and Love & Change awards and the Shorts from Turkey Audience Award were given out.
"!nspired" directors hail from China and Turkey
This year's !nspired jury deciding on the recipient of the 10,000USD award and comprising actress and director Desiree Akhavan; MoMA film curator Joshua Siegel; actress Dounia Sichov; writer, director and producer Mark Peranson and scriptwriter and actor Mert Fırat selected "Kaili Blues" director Bi Gan from China and "Hidden" director Ali Kemal Çınar from Turkey "the year's most inspiring director(s)".
Çınar's Kurdish-language feature thus became the first film from Turkey to win the !nspired Award.
Reading out their decision on behalf of the jury, actors Dounia Sichov and Mert Fırat said: "The prize will be shared between two films that draw upon the past to make sense of the present and chart an unknown future. Films that are formally daring in their use of poetry and folklore and in their playful confusions of identity and time. We don't recall ever encountering films quite like these in Chinese and Kurdish cinema, and so we've decided to award the prize to both 'Kaili Blues' and 'Hidden'."
Most creative intervention: "Lost and Beautiful"
For the festival's Love & Change competition, which celebrates activism in cinema, a jury of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis, producer Phillipa Kowarsky and artist Şener Özmen selected Italian director Pietro Marcello's film blending fiction, magical realism, poetry and documentary, "Lost and Beautiful" as "the year's most creative intervention". The award comes with a 10.000USD cash prize.
Reading the statement on behalf of the jury, Adam Curtis said: "Pietro Marcello's film is a beautiful and romantic work of art. But it is also a powerful political film that makes you look again at how human beings exercise power over each other and the rest of the world. It is a stunning achievement."
Special Jury Award goes to "Bağlar"!
The ceremony also saw Turkey's entry "Bağlar", a documentary that tracks the fate of a basketball team in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, presented with the Special Jury Mention.
The jury said: "The documentary 'Bağlar' tackles the Kurdish youth's passion for basketball living in the Bağlar district of Diyarbakır-a city which has expanded as a result of forced migration-over their coach Gökhan Yıldırım's diligent spirit. However it is essentially a powerful display of the harsh and destructive aspects of the slip-of-the-tongue inherent in the spiral of sports-politics in that region."
Çınar also SİYAD's choice
The Film Critics Association of Turkey (SİYAD) jury composed of Gözde Onaran, Münir Emre Göker and Vecdi Sayar for the !f Inspired Competition also awarded "Hidden" director Ali Kemal Çınar.
They said: "Our award goes to Ali Kemal Çınar's film Hidden for offering a fresh breath through its humorous approach to gender roles."
Short fans pick "Azad"
The results of the Audience Award in the Shorts from Turkey section were also announced. In the section comprising seventeen shorts, Yakup Tekintangaç's "Azad", streamed online by 82 thousand viewers in three days during !f Istanbul's special screening last December was selected as the best short film, while Gülistan Acet's short "The Sin" placed second, and Süheyla Schwenk's "Meral, My Girl" placed third. Tekintangaç won the opportunity to attend a festival abroad as !f Istanbul's guest.