The 12th !f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival will open on February 14 with an exciting film program including the Turkey premieres of films feted by the world’s most prestigious festivals such as Toronto, Venice, Cannes and Sundance.
Over the past 12 years, !f Istanbul has become synonymous with cutting-edge contemporary cinema and a thriving alternative entertainment culture boosted by its much-talked about !f parties and events. The parties have become so popular that they have spawned a mini-festival called !f Music, which will feature parties hosted by Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang, members of the legendary LCD Soundsystem, on Feb. 9. Hercules and Love Affair will also play subsequent dates.
The festival will run at the Istanbul Beyoğlu Cinemaximum Fitaş, İstinye Park Cinemaximum and Caddebostan Cinemaximum Budak theaters in Istanbul before moving to Ankara’s Cinemaximum CEPA and İzmir’s Cinemaximum Forum Bornova between Feb. 28 and March 3.
Tickets went on discounted pre-sale on Feb. 1.
The opening film of !f Istanbul will be Leos Carax’s much-anticipated film “Holy Motors.” Carax, the famed director of “The Lovers On The Bridge” and “Bad Blood,” will present “Holy Motors,” filmed after a 13-year hiatus. Starring Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes, “Holy Motors” is a roller-coaster ride that has bewitched viewers and named one of the year’s best films by numerous critics.
In addition to Carax, !f Istanbul will also host important contemporary filmmakers such as Berlinale Alfred Bauer Award winner “Tabu” director Miguel Gomes and Jose Rivera, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Motorcycle Diaries,” “Letters to Juliet” and “On The Road,” a 2013 festival title that was adapted from the cult novel of the same name.
In addition to these titles, many of the year’s most eagerly anticipated titles will make their Turkey premieres under !f Istanbul’s Galas section.
Among the films are Xavier Dolan’s “Laurence Anyways;” Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions;” “All The Light In The Sky;” Richard Linklater’s “Bernie;” Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg’s “Celeste & Jess Forever;” Hong Sang-soo’s “In Another Country;” Michael Winterbottom’s “Everyday;” Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha;” Lee Daniel’s “The Paperboy;” “Love Marilyn by Liz Garbus;” David Chase’s “Not Fade Away;” Sion Sono’s “The Land Of Hope;” Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret;” Martin McDonaugh’s “Seven Psychopaths;” Denis Côté’s “Vic+Flo Saw a Bear;” Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers;” Matteo Garone’s “Reality;” Robert B. Weide’s “Woody Allen, A Documentary;” and Reha Erdem’s “And from Turkey.”
!f Istanbul’s “Play” section, meanwhile, will bring together films that aim to open new ground and suspend exterior time. Deeply personal documentaries such as Sarah Polley’s acclaimed “Stories We Tell,” new cult classics such as Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio,” the latest animation hits such as Mamoru Hosada’s anime “Wolf Children,” and mindful explorations of the world we live in such as “Museum Hours,” are some of the many films on offer.
The “Love & Change” section will offer extraordinary films that ask viewers to take a different look at the world. The section also looks at recent events that have gripped the world’s imagination.
By now a festival staple, !f Istanbul’s “Rainbow” section this year includes “Bye Bye Blondie,” “Call Me Kuchu,” “Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean,” “Yossi” and the surprise Serbian box-office hit “Parade.”
“Dark & Edgy” is another new theme and includes fantastic films and thrillers that will likely be labeled cults in the future:
Contemporary Turkish Cinema in ‘Home’
!f Istanbul brings alternative voices together in its section Home. Several first films will have their world premieres at !f Istanbul: Doğu Akıncı’s “Mustafa’nın Yaşam Döngüsü” (The Life Chain of Mustafa); Deniz Tortum’s “Zayiat” (Casualties) and Ufuk Aksoy’s “Devremülk” (Timeshare). Experienced documentary director and academic Can Candan’s fascinating and inspiring new documentary is also premiering at !f Istanbul.
For three years now, !f Istanbul has held a local screenwriting lab module in partnership with the Sundance Institute, giving four writer-directors from Turkey a chance to work with Sundance advisors on their scripts. This year the Istanbul Lab module will be held in May.
U.S. director Russo Young will attend !f Istanbul to present her film “Nobody Walks” and also lead a workshop.
Meanwhile, the alternative and groundbreaking distribution and sharing project !f² is turning four this year, again in partnership with the online film website MUBI. Five films screened during !f Istanbul’s last three days will be simultaneously watched by 15,000 people in 31 different cities.
More info at !f Istanbul