The gala event that GIFF has organized to honor Tukey began with a 3-minute promotional trailer about the country. Once the video ended, our hosts for the night, renowned actors Verónica Lánger and Joaquín Cosío took the microphone. Together they presented our special guests from Turkey and then gave the microphone to Ahmet Boyacioglu (not even the hosts were sure they got his name right), Director of the Ankara Film Association. As soon as he went up, the first thing he asked was who directed the promotional video we had just seen. Boyacioglu invited Sarah Hoch, director of GIFF, to answer the question. The images were done by a British filmmaker who was hired by the Tukish government to promote the country.
Translated by Sarah Hoch, Mr. Boyacioglu expressed how much he has enjoyed his stay in Mexico and said that of all the places he has visited (his wife is a witness that he travels a lot), Mexico is one of the few places he has felt like home. He begged the audience to visit Turkey, since he has visited Mexico three times, it’s our turn to go visit Turkey. As soon as this game with the audience was done, he invited filmmaker Kaan Müjdeci to present his film. The director spoke in Turkish, translated by Mr. Boyacioglu and Sarah Hoch. He thanked the festival for the opportunity to be there and joked that after the games that were played during the introduction, people might be depressed with the movie, since it’s a drama.
About the movie, it’s about Aslan, an 11-year-old boy who witnesses a dog fight and then decides to adopt Sivas, a sheepdog who loses the fight and is left for dead. Aslan uses the dog to try and impress his classmates and Ayse, the girl he has a crush on, but soon his brother and daughter will put Sivas into more dogfights to see just how far he can go. It’s a difficult movie to watch, since Aslan is not the most pleasant of protagonists (which is normal for his age) and the violence shown during the dogfights proves too intense for dog lovers (which, judging by the audience’s reactions, many of them are) but the movie is very effective and the story feels very specific to the place we’re visiting.
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