The fifth edition of Taste of Anatolia – Films from Turkey starts on Saturday, 4 November. The week-long festival, which this year spreads its weeks to venues in Cambridge, London, Norwich and Aylesbury, will screen a total of 54 movies, which includes 42 UK premieres.
The independent Taste of Anatolia – Films from Turkey (TOA) is the UK’s only remaining Turkish film festival, making it a vital platform for new cinema from Turkiye. Launched by film charity Balik Arts in Cambridge in 2018, TOA expanded to London last year, and has added two new locations for the 2023 festival, allowing even more people across the UK to enjoy films from Turkiye.
Adopting a hybrid model since the coronavirus pandemic, TOA again offers a mixture of in-person and online screenings. Digital broadcasts will be through Balik Arts TV – the charity’s own online platform.
The 2023 festival programme encompasses feature-length films, shorts, and documentaries, with the selection covering both prominent and upcoming directors from Turkiye focusing on themes such as the environment, natural disasters, refugees, ethnic minority voices, LGBTQI+ communities and youth perspectives.
Özcan Alper’s Black Night (pictured top), which has won multiple awards at both Turkish and international festivals, will screen at Dalston’s Rio Cinema in London on Sunday 5 November.
Another award-winner, In the Blind Spot, screens at the Rio on 8 November, while RVSP (Please Respond) shows on 7 November. Completing the London run of TOA screenings is a film about how Onat Kutlar brought the world of art house cinema to Turkiye in founding a cinematheque in Istanbul, Days of Fire, Love and Anarchy, which will screen on 9 November.
The Old Divinity School in Cambridge will be screening a variety of great new movies:
- KAF KAF, an award-winning documentary bearing witness to the survivors of the Varto earthquake and their personal journeys as they carry the earthquake’s tragic scars throughout their lives.
- This is Not Me tells the story about the internal conflicts of three gay men from conservative rural families in traditional heterosexual marriages.
- Once Upon a Time in the Future: 2121 shows how the birth of a child heralds change for one family at the end of the 21st century when the earth becomes uninhabitable.
One of TOA 2023’s headline movies is Snow and the Bear, an award-winning Turkish production and the first feature-length film by Selcen Ergun. The film centres around Aslı, a recently appointed nurse to a small distant town, who finds herself surrounded by power relationships, secrets, and doubts when a man goes missing.
Snow and the Bear travels to Cambridge’s Old Divinity School on 5 November following screenings at prestigious festivals such as Toronto, San Francisco, Sydney, and Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. Merve Dizdar, who won this year’s Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, and Sibel Kekilli, who shot to fame as Shae in the HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’, are among those starring.
Shorts are a great way to discover new talent and this year’s festival includes ‘A Bundle of Fun- Best of TOA Shorts’. This curated group of films have been selected for being both funny and making us ponder at the same time.
For the first time at TOA, there will be a section called ‘Beyond Anatolia’, showcasing a selection of Turkish co-productions that were filmed outside of Turkiye.
Being the only festival screening films from Turkiye in the UK, TOA “enthusiastically welcomes back audiences with screenings in diverse venues in Cambridge, London, Norwich and Aylesbury.”
In Cambridge, TOA films will be showing at Cambridge University colleges, while London screenings will be principally at Rio Cinema Dalston, North London Community Centre and Refugee Workers Cultural Association (Gik-Der). TOA screening venues also include the University of East Anglia in Norwich and Aylesbury Youth Action in Buckinghamshire.
This year’s TOA 2023 festival pass costs just £10 for the waged and £5 for concessions. The pass allows you to watch all online screenings and all films being shown at the venues mentioned above.
Passes can be purchased from Balık Arts’ online platform www.balikartstv.com. For screenings at the Rio Cinema, tickets are available directly from the cinema in person or online.
Many of the programme’s featured movies will be available online, but not all. For full details of screenings, visit the Balik Arts TV website and click on View Booklet on the Home Page.
Alternatively, follow the TOA social media accounts: