Suat Köçer
Festival Director
The film festivals are important not only for screening the films from different lands, but also for bringing the leading film professionals together. While contributing to solving the ongoing issues of Turkish cinema, the festivals take an active role in the development of national film industry as well. And as one of Turkish cinema’s popular events, Malatya International Film Festival brings the cinema enthusiasts together in one of Anatolia’s ancient cities, Malatya.

As of this year, the festival will be held by the Municipality of Malatya, and continue its journey with a new team and a new perspective. The festival’s rich program includes many notable films of Turkish cinema and world cinema. All foreign films in the program will make their Turkish premieres, while 2017’s most critically acclaimed Turkish films will compete for the Crystal Apricot in the National Feature Film Competition.

Along with the festival’s existing sections, Malatya Film Platform will launch this year, and 12 film projects will compete for two different awards. A family-themed project will be awarded with 100,000 TRY prize money as Ertem Eğilmez Family Films Support Award, while another project will receive the TRT Production Support Award. I believe that these two awards will contribute a great deal to Turkish film industry. In addition to hosting many prominent cinema figures and two competitions, Malatya Film Platform will also host a major cinema event that will include workshops, talk sessions, panels and events.

In order to attract more Malatya residents to the festival, another innovation is in store this year:  Rural Film Screenings, which will spread the festival joy over Malatya’s four districts.  Special film screenings will also be held as part of the first edition of Festival Is Here,  which is dedicated to children with Down syndrome, along with children’s home residents, the children at the hospitals, nursing home residents, cinema enthusiasts with disabilities, and the war refugees in Turkey.

As part of the event “Towards the Festival”, the first edition of the Indigenousness Concept Symposium was held on 22nd and 23rd of September, at which the history of Turkish cinema was discussed within the context of indigenousness/localism. Starting this year, the festival will continue with an indigenous perspective, and has already prioritized the main concerns discussed at the symposium. With the aim of documenting the important issues of current times, the festival will also undertake the production of a documentary every year. And the documentary “Turkey is My Country, Too” directed by the Azerbaijani filmmaker Elchin Musaoglu, which reflects the epic resistance of our people on July 15th through the the eyes of the Azerbaijani people, has become the first example of this endeavour.

In addition to the prominent cinema figures who will be presented with the honor award at the festival, the rising stars of Turkish cinema and television will also attend the events during the festival. A rich festival program with talk sessions, panels, special screenings and many other events awaits the cinema enthusiasts. I would like to thank Mr. Ahmet Çakır, Mayor of Malatya, who truly embraces the festival and enables its continuity;  the festival team that made this event happen; all cinema enthusiasts, institutions that helped us along the way, and particularly our sponsors who made this year’s festival possible. Wish everyone a great time at the festival.