23 October, 2023: The fifth edition of the UK’s only independent festival dedicated to films from Turkey, Taste of Anatolia – Films from Turkey (TOA), will commence on 4 November and run until 10 November 2023. TOA, which was launched in 2018 in Cambridge, and opened in 2022 in London, continues to expand by adding Norwich and Aylesbury venues to the festival’s programme, allowing even more people across the UK to enjoy new cinema from Turkey. For this week-long event; certain films will be screened both physically and online while some screenings will be solely physical or online. Online screenings will be accessible through Balik Arts Tv, the charity’s own film platform.
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 Turkey. This year’s festival also includes a portfolio of films that make one both laugh and ponder at the same time. The ‘Bundle of Fun- Best of TOA Shorts’ selection is especially curated for those who are new to the cinema of Turkey.
The event programme lists 54 star-studded movies this year, alongside hosting the UK premiere of 42 films. With feature-length films, shorts and documentaries, the selection covers both prominent and upcoming directors from Turkey focusing on themes such as the environment, natural disasters, refugees, ethnic minority voices, LGBTQI+ communities and youth perspectives.
"Özcan Alper’s Black Night, which received awards at both national and international festivals, will screen at Dalston’s Rio Cinema in London on 5 November. It will be joined by award-winning In the Blind Spot on 8 November while RVSP (Please Respond) shows on 7 November."
At the Old Divinity School in Cambridge on 5 November are: 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, telling the story and internal conflicts of three gay men from conservative rural families in traditional heterosexual marriages; and Once Upon a Time in the Future: 2121, showing 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 the Snow and the Bear, an award-winning Turkish production, and first feature-length film of Selcen Ergun. The film centres around Aslı, recently appointed as a nurse to a small, distant town, who finds herself surrounded by power relationships, secrets, and doubts when a man goes missing. The film 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 Cannes Film Festival, Sibel Kekilli, who came to global fame as Shae in the HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ are among those starring in the festival’s top picks.
Highlights from the festival’s physical screenings include:
· Black Night
· In the Blind Spot
· Snow and the Bear
· KAF KAF
· RVSP (Please Respond)
· Once Upon a Time in the Future: 2121
· Days of Fire, Love and Anarchy
· This is Not Me
Being the only festival screening films from Turkey 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. TOA screening venues for London are Rio Cinema in Dalston, North London Community Centre and Refugee Workers Cultural Association (Gik-Der). TOA’s carefully picked films will be showing at 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, and allows you to watch all online screenings and all films being shown at the venues mentioned above. Festival 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.
TOA is organised by film charity Balık Arts, as part of its aim to offer young people direct experience of all aspects of film making and film festival management. TOA also hosted ‘Reel Skills’ and ‘Film Beyond Borders’, transnational projects funded by Erasmus+ and led by Balık Arts in the UK. These projects brought together young people from Turkey, Italy and the UK to help run the TOA festival, and to attend event planning workshops. Sadly, Brexit now makes it impossible to run such youth projects.
About Taste of Anatolia – Films from Turkey
The festival was launched in 2018 to create a strong British public platform that promotes new cinema from Turkey. Reaching beyond the UK’s Turkish speaking community that is concentrated in London, this Cambridge-based film festival aims to diversify the scope of world cinema available to UK audiences and to promote a collective communal experience, which will also stimulate healthy debate and discussion between viewers. Part of TOA’s mission is to advance employment opportunities for young people with an interest in film and film events through training and volunteering opportunities in areas such as programming, marketing, fundraising, hospitality, and screenings.
• Instagram: @tasteofanatoliafilmfestival
• Twitter: twitter.com/TasteAnatolia
• Facebook: Taste of Anatolia – Films from Turkey About Balık Arts, www.balikarts.org.uk
Balık Arts is a British film charity established in 1999. Initially its work focused on helping young people from Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot communities to integrate into the UK. Over the past decade, its work has evolved to incorporate transnational exchanges and cultural projects for people of all backgrounds and ages, including: Actors for Change (Bodrum); Reel Skills (Bodrum/Cambridge); Film With A View (Datça); Music Beyond Borders (Istanbul/Cambridge); and Back to the Roots, Back
to Your Origins – a transnational film recycling project held in London, Berlin, Paris and Datça/Muğla. The first Film Beyond Borders project took place in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and UN Buffer Zone as part of the Golden Island International Film Festival in 2014. Its further incarnations led its activities to Bodrum, Trento and Cambridge.
About Balik Arts Tv, www.balikartstv.com
The aim of this film platform is to exhibit films, hold talks, facilitate interaction between the public and filmmakers, and also reach out to our audience in general. Programming is open to films from all around the world, without production year restriction. We particularly like involving young people in running the platform, as one of our founding principles is to encourage the creative minds of tomorrow.