Last month, the long-running London Turkish Film Festival announced it was turning to crowd-funding to help keep it going. So far the campaign has raised just under £1,500. As we enter the last week of the fundraising campaign, we give our readers ten good reasons to support this important festival.
1) LTFF programming puts spotlight on “world class filmmakers”
Festival director Vedide Kaymak prides herself on keeping the festival’s programming independent of sponsors and governments, to ensure the quality never dips. It’s why the festival is so highly regarded by the UK’s film critics and national media. The Guardian wrote this about LTFF: “[The festival] brings together major movies from world class filmmakers and outstanding work from the new generation of directors, writers and actors.”
2) Showcasing Turkish cinema in Britain since 1993
An established date in the UK’s social calendar, LTFF is the second oldest foreign film festival in the country, helping to attract a legion of foreign fans to Turkish cinema. Film publication Empire Magazine said: “Few events have done more to consistently raise the profile of national cinema than the London Turkish Film Festival”.
3) A wonderful community meet-up
As Britain’s Turkish community moves out of its traditional North London home to all parts of the city and country, the annual LTFF offers a great opportunity for old friends and family to come together. Whether random or planned, these reacquaintances through our mutual love of Turkish film and culture are one of the warmest elements of this fantastic festival.
4) Chance to meet the stars of Turkish film
Never has it been easier to see your favourite Turkish movie stars up close than at LTFF. Each year the festival flies in major acting names, both old and new, for screenings and workshops, including heartthrobs such as Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Farah Zeynep Abdullah, and screen legends Kadir İnanır and Türkan Şoray, who will happily chat with the audience and pose for selfies.
5) A vital platform for independent filmmakers from Turkey
Independent voices and filmmaking is a vital part of any healthy society. As censorship becomes an increasing problem in Turkey, new and established filmmakers are receiving less financial support and opportunities to screen their films. Festivals like the London Turkish Film Festival (LTFF) take on added importance in these times.
6) Promoting Turkish film in Britain all year round
LTFF doesn’t limit its work to just two weeks of the year. Through its innovative Digital Film Distribution prize and its more recent invention, the soon-to-be-launched online film portal Film Turkey, the festival’s parent company Turkish Films International is able to promote Turkish films in the UK all year round.
7) Recognising the legends of Turkish Cinema
Every year, new stars are born in film, but LTFF makes a point of recognising those whose contributions have helped define Turkish cinema. Past recipients of its Lifetime Achievement Award include Şener Şen, Hülya Koçyiğit, Aytaç Arman, and Serra Yılmaz.
8) Supporting emerging talent
Having scraped and pulled in every favour imaginable, the next hardest thing for an unknown filmmaker is to get their films screened. LTFF is always ready to showcase new talent. Check out the future stars of Turkish cinema in the festival’s Shorts section, and the blossoming fortunes of acclaimed directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Reha Erdem, Fatih Akin, Ferzan Özpetek, and Derviş Zaim, who were championed by LTFF early in their careers.
9) Promoting Turkey and North Cyprus
Over the years, LTFF has screened over 850 films, comprising both contemporary and classic features, documentaries and shorts. These varied films include thrillers, music documentaries, slapstick Turkish comedy, and even horror. While many have universal themes, their settings and stories are often unique to Turkey and North Cyprus; they offer a priceless insight into our achievements, struggles and key personalities, both historic and current, while also showcasing our cultural richness and diversity, and the stunning landscapes from our ethnic homelands.
10) Standing out in Britain
As one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Britain, LTFF is a fantastic reminder to the rest of the country of our distinct identity, heritage and contribution. It would be a real shame if the half-a-million strong community let this vital platform die due to a lack of funding, especially when so many newer and smaller communities are launching their own film festivals.
If you love Turkish cinema or simply want to protect Turkish heritage and culture in Britain, then please make a pledge asap. It’s simple to do: go on the crowd-funding page, look at all the options: each level of pledge, which starts at £8 and goes up to £5,000, offers a different reward to the donor. Every pound really counts!
To make your pledge, visit Crowdfunder.co.uk.