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The 38th Istanbul Film Festival Kicks Off On 5 April

April 8, 2019 Events / Whats On No Comments Email Email

Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Istanbul Film Festival’s 38th edition will host 467 screenings of 186 films by 187 directors from 45 countries, as well as Q&As and festival talks with guest filmmakers, concerts, and other special events until 17 April.

The festival kicked off with the Opening Gala on Thursday evening, 4 April at UNIQ Istanbul, which brought the stars and distinguished figures of the cinema of Turkey together, as well as international guests such as French actors of the opening film Edmond, Thomas Solivérès and Lucie Boujenah.

Presented by Cem Davran, the Opening Gala saw the presentation of the Cinema Awards as well as the gratitude plaques to the representatives of the supporting institutions and organisations.

The representatives of the festival’s theme sponsors with the highest contribution Anadolu Efes, Yapı Kredi, and special screening sponsor Zurich Sigorta were presented gratitude plaques by İKSV General Director Görgün Taner. At the opening ceremony, the founding sponsor Eczacıbaşı Group and the hotel sponsor The Marmara Collection were also presented gratitude plaques. Special gratitude was extended to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey General Directorate of Cinema, supporting institutions of the festival, and the patrons who made weekday screenings available to students at 2 TL, for their generous support.

Festival competitions begin on 10 April

The Opening Gala continued with the introduction of the festival competitions and juries. A total of
52 films will be competing in the International Competition, Human Rights in Cinema, National Competition, the National Documentary and the National Short Film competitions. Six debut feature fiction films from the Cinema of Turkey (National Competition and “Out of Competition”) section will also be eligible for the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize; presented in memoriam director and producer Seyfi Teoman and supported by CMYLMZ Fikirsanat. The winners will be announced at the 38th Istanbul Film Festival Award Ceremony to be held on Tuesday, 16 April.

Festival’s Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award

The Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award was given to Jak Şalom, a champion of the collective film memory and film culture for decades, one of the founding members of the Turkish Cinematheque Association from 1965 to 1972, the project designer and director of the ongoing Cinematheque/Film House project within the Kadıköy Municipality. Jak Şalom received the award from the co-founder and former director of the Istanbul Film Festival, Hülya Uçansu.

Festival’s Cinema Honorary Awards

The first Cinema Honorary Award was presented to Göksel Arsoy, the “Golden Boy” of Turkish Cinema, one of the first actors that come to mind when the subject is Yeşilçam, who produced and starred in more than 100 films, and who made the first aviation-themed film of Turkish cinema. Göksel Arsoy was presented his award by Cinema Honorary Award-winner actress Suzan Avcı.

The second Cinema Honorary Award was presented to Selda Alkor, the irreplaceable actress of strong female characters in Turkish Cinema known for portraying women who walk tall in life like herself, who starred in close to 100 films, and many TV series. Selda Alkor received his Cinema Honorary Award from celebrated actress Nurgül Yeşilçay.

The Lifetime Achievement Award of the festival was presented to Şerif Gören, who started his career in Yeşilçam as an editor in 1962 and worked as assistant director in hundreds of films. With his first film Endişe / Anxiety he won 6 awards including Best Film and Best Director. As director, he introduced many innovations to our cinema through his use of special effects despite the technical difficulties of the era. He is the director of Yol, which brought the “Palme d’Or” to Turkish Cinema. He has directed numerous other films which won 11 international and 23 national awards. As a near-history filmmaker, Gören is best known for depicting the transformation of Turkish nation due to social or economic reasons, cultural conflicts, and the clash between nature and humankind. Şerif Gören received his Lifetime Achievement Award from well-known actor Kadir İnanır.

Festival kicked off with Edmond

Following the opening gala, the festival kicked off with the screening of Edmond, the latest film of Alexis Michalik, the young genius, dramaturge, actor, and playwright known as “the prince of French theatre”. Michalik adapted and directed the film version of his blockbuster play of the same name which won numerous Molière awards. Brisk, ingenious, riveting with top-notch acting and direction Edmond centres around a young playwright who finds fame early on just like Michalik himself. Set in Paris in 1897 during the Belle Epoque, the film tells the creation story of his much beloved play Cyrano de Bergerac, which Edmond Rostand penned when he was experiencing a writer’s block. Lead stars Thomas Solivérès and Lucie Boujenah attended the opening ceremony of the festival.

A 12-day feast for film lovers

The Istanbul Film Festival presents a rich programme between 5 and 16 April in its 38th edition that ranges from the latest productions of world cinema to cult films, to the latest titles from Turkey and classics alike, new discoveries, masterpieces, and hidden gems. The festival hosts a total of 186 films by 187 directors from 45 countries, there will be Q&As and festival talks with guest filmmakers, concerts, exhibitions, and other special events. The 38th Istanbul Film Festival films will be screened at eight movie theatres: Atlas and Beyoğlu movie theatres, as well as Pera Museum Auditorium in the Beyoğlu district, Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı (two halls), Cinemaximum Zorlu Center in Gayrettepe, Rexx and Kadıköy movie theatres in Kadıköy.

Festival Daily

Film lovers can check the festival daily on to see the announcements and news of the events and screenings that will take place during the festival, as well as interviews of the festival reporters with the guest directors. The festival audience will also see on the website that all films in the festival programme are labelled with tags in categories to ensure a smoother and easier selection while making their itineraries for the Istanbul Film Festival.

You can follow all updates, further information on the films, events, and guests, as well as tips on the programme of the Istanbul Film Festival on our social media accounts.


The İKSV Mobil app, sponsored by the Loodos Tech, has been redesigned for a better experience. You can create your own profile with newly added features and add your favourite events to your favourites and calendar. You can add the movies you want to watch within the Istanbul Film Festival to your calendar and make your own programme via the İKSV Mobil app. You can also access all information pertaining to the festival on İKSV Mobil app, downloadable on AppStore and Google Play.

Supporters of the 38th Istanbul Film Festival

The 38th Istanbul Film Festival is held with the support of more than 20 institutions. The festival is organised by the generous support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey General Directorate of Cinema. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Beşiktaş Municipality, Beyoğlu Municipality and Kadıköy Municipality continue their publicity support for the festival.

Here are the theme sponsors:

  • Anadolu Efes National Competition and Cinema of Turkey
  • Yapı Kredi “Cinemania”
  • Selpak “No More Flowers”
  • Nescafé Gold                                       “Young Masters”

The Istanbul Film Festival continues to reintroduce the distinguished works of the Turkish cinema on the silver screen in its “Turkish Classics Revisited” section, which was launched ten years ago under the sponsorship of the Zurich Sigorta. Technology Sponsor of the 38th Istanbul Film Festival is Dell Technologies.

The patrons who made weekday screenings available to students at 2 TL are Biletix, Vestel, bluechip, TAV Airports, Eti Alaska Frigo, Mehmet Gün, Feyzi Erçin, Murat Aşkın, Çiğdem Deniz Özyerli, Renan Özyerli, Gönül Çoker, Efsa Kuraner, Hüseyin Şemdinoğlu, Rukiye Devres Ünver, Filiz Çakıcı, Fatma Banu Togay ve Yıldız Akvardar.

The Istanbul Film Festival continues its collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Istanbul, German Films, and Kino 2017, as well as numerous cultural institutes and foreign missions, including US Embassy in Ankara, Institut Français Istanbul, Unifrance, Korean Cultural Center, Dimitrie Cantemir Romanian Cultural Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul, Danish Culture, Istanbul Hungarian Cultural Center, and diplomatic institutions–Embassy of Ireland in Ankara, Canadian Embassy, General Consulate of Sweden in Istanbul, General Consulate of the Czech Republic in Istanbul, General Consulate of Mexico in Istanbul.

The Leading Sponsor of all İKSV festivals is Eczacıbaşı Group, the Hotel Sponsor is The Marmara Collection. The Insurance Sponsor is Zurich Sigorta, the Official Carrier DHL Worldwide Express. The service sponsors are American Hospital, KOOP, Navitas, GFK, directComm and AGC Software.

Promotion campaign of the 38th Istanbul Film Festival is prepared by TBWA.

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