Winners of the 18th Izmir Short Film Festival announced

The week-long International Izmir Short Film Festival closed this weekend with a spectacular awards ceremony held at the historic Havagazı Fabrikası. Local and international guests packed into this 150-year-old French-built former gas factory, which has been restored as a stunning cultural centre, to hear the winners announced on Saturday, 11 November, with Iranian film Animal (pictured above) taking the main prize.

The award ceremony was hosted by actor Hakan Bilgin (best known for his Çakallarla Dans film series, and his role in hit TV comedy Zeyrek İle Çeyrek). The winning films were drawn from international and national categories that spanned fiction, documentary, animation and experimental shorts.

This year’s Festival had received a record-breaking number of submissions: 1,500 films from 72 countries, which were whittled down by the jury to 400 entries originating from 42 countries. Their screenings, along with workshops and Q&As with filmmakers, took place across Izmir – Turkey’s third largest city located on the Aegean coast.

Hungarian filmmaker András Muhi and Turkish screenwriter and director Handan İpekçi led the international and national juries, who were tasked with determining the winners of this year’s Golden Cat Awards. Here are their verdicts.

Host Hakan Bilgin (far-left) poses with one of the winners from the 18th Izmir Short Film Festival



  • Winner of the Golden Cat Award – Best Film: Animal. Directors: Bahram and Bahman Ark (15min, Iran)
  • Runner Up: Limbo. Director Konstantina Kotzamani (29min, France)
  • Second Runner Up: 8 Minutes. Directors: Giorgi Gogichaishvili and Davit Abramishvili (13min, Georgia)


  • Winner of the Golden Cat Award – Best Film: Toprak. Director: Onur Yağız (11min)
  • Runner Up: Kapan (The Trap). Director: Korhan Günay (8min)
  • Second Runner Up: Bir İş Görüşmesi (Story of a Job Interview). Director: Alkım Özmen (15min)


Scene from Yüzme Öğreniyorum (Learning How to Swim), which won Izmir Short Film Festival National fiction Migros Youth Award



The festival also awarded the following:

  • Winner of the Golden Cat Award for the Best Documentary: Uzaktaki Kadın (Away From Her). Director: Özgür Demirci (14min)
  • Winner of the Golden Cat Award for the Best Animation: Vadi (The Valley). Directors: Can Erkan, Salih Toprak (10min)
  • Winner of the Golden Cat Award for the Best Experimental Short Film: Elli Altı (Fifty Six). Director: Dilara Şahin (8min)
  • National fiction Best Editing: Toprak. Director: Onur Yağız (11min)
  • National fiction Best Cinematography: Beyoğlu Sineması (Beyoglu Cinema), Director: Ömer Ferhat Özmen (15min)
  • National fiction Best Newcomer: Orhan Öztokat for his role in Mümkün Hayatların En Güzeli (Prettiest of All Possible Lives). Director: Derin Biricik (17min); and Miray Sahin for her role in Tel (Wire). Director: Berkay Hasbay (15min)
  • National fiction Migros Youth Award – voted by university students: Yüzme Öğreniyorum (Learning How to Swim). Director: Serpil Altın (12min)