International Istanbul Film Festival

The Istanbul Film Festival (Turkish: İstanbul Film Festivali) is the first and oldest international film festival in Turkey, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. It is held every year in April in movie theaters in Istanbul, Turkey. As mentioned in its regulations, the festival aims to encourage the development of cinema in Turkey and to promote films of quality in the Turkish cinema market.[1]

Istanbul Film Festival
Istanbulfilmfestlogo 2008ss.jpg
40th Istanbul Film Festival.jpg
40th edition poster
LocationIstanbul, Turkey
Most recent2022
Hosted byIstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Current: 41st Istanbul Film Festival

The 40th edition of the festival was held from April 1 to June 29, 2021 in hybrid format.[2]


The Istanbul International Film Festival was first organized in 1982, within the frame of the International Istanbul Festival as a "Film Week" consisting of six films.[3] The theme of the films participating in the Festival was limited to "Arts and Cinema", to keep the event within the context of the International Istanbul Festival. In 1983 the event was realized under the title of "Istanbul Filmdays", taking place throughout the Festival within a span of a month.

Beginning from 1984, the event gained an identity as a separate activity; it was shifted to the month of April. In 1985, two competitive sections, one being national and the other international, were included in the festival program. From 1987 on, "Cinema Honorary Awards" began to be presented.

In the following years, The Istanbul International Filmdays firmly established its position and took its place among the major film festivals of the world with the large number of films shown and the quality and versatility of its program.

At the beginning of 1989 the event was recognized as "a competitive specialized festival" by International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) and was accredited. Parallel to this development, "Istanbul Filmdays" was renamed as "Istanbul International Film Festival".

Beginning from 1996, "Lifetime Achievement Awards" along with "Cinema Honorary Awards" began to be presented to international cineastes, actors and actresses.

Istanbul International Film Festival 23rd edition logo

In 2006, celebrating its 25th year, the festival created a meeting platform for Turkish and European film professionals under the title "Meetings on the Bridge", aiming to bring European film institutions with Turkish directors and producers to discuss funding possibilities. Also in 2006, Azize Tan, the then Assistant Director of the festival replaced Hülya Uçansu as director.[4][5]

In 2007, the Council of Europe, in collaboration with Eurimages, started to present the Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE) to a film selected from the entries in the Human Rights and Cinema section of the festival. The Council of Europe and later Eurimages support for this award was discontinued in 2020.[6]

With its 28th edition in 2009, the festival began to give its Golden Tulip Award also as a result of its National Competition.[7]

Azize Tan was replaced by the Assistant Director of the festival, Kerem Ayan, in 2015.[8]

Since the beginning of the Festival, a total of 2,065,000 spectators have attended the screenings of 2,330 films from 72 different countries (2005 figures). The festival boasted an audience of 170,000 in 2007, breaking its own record.[9]


In 1988, government inspectors forced the withdrawal of 5 of 160 films that are to be screened at the festival. Jean-Jacques Beineix's Betty Blue and Vedreba (The Plea) by Tengiz Abuladze were among these five works. Vedreba was being blocked on the grounds that it was "anti-Islamic" and cuts from the other four films were demanded because of erotic scenes.[10]

Upon the notification by the censorship board that certain films on the program were to be banned, the then president of the Golden Tulip Jury, Elia Kazan, organised a protest march with the participation of Turkish filmmakers. The Turkish Ministry of Culture subsequently issued a decree holding all international film festivals exempt from censorship.[4]


The selection and programming of the festival films is conducted by the selection committee and the advisory board. The program consists of an international competition open only to feature and animated films on art and artists or literary adaptations, a national competition, non-competitive, informative sections on specific themes which can include documentaries, shorts and feature films.

The 2008 program which includes 200 films comprises the following sections:

  • International Competition
  • Turkish Cinema 2007-8
    • National Competition
    • Out of Competition
    • Documentaries
  • Festival Awards Screenings
  • Special Screening: Turkish Classics Revisited
  • Human Rights in Cinema
  • Galas
  • Challenging the Years
  • From the World of Festivals
  • Young Masters
  • Documentary Time with NTV
  • American Independents
  • Mined Zone
  • Midnight Madness
  • Woman is Her Name
  • From the Caucasus to the Mediterranean
    • Medscreen Arab Film Promotion
  • Kids' Menu
  • The World of Animation: Alexander Petrov
  • '68 and its Heritage
  • Marc Caro: Lost in Illusions
  • In Memoriam
  • Nokia Nseries Short Film Competition

Awards listEdit

These awards are presented within the context of the festival:

  • Golden Tulip (for the best film in the international competition)
  • Best Turkish Film of the Year
  • Best Turkish Director of the Year
  • Special Prize of the Jury
  • Special Mention
  • Best Actor and Best Actress (national competition)
  • Honorary Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • FIPRESCI Prize (national -in memory of Onat Kutlar- and international competitions)
  • Human Rights in Cinema Award (previously Film Award of the Council of Europe)
  • People's Choice Award

Golden Tulip winnersEdit

Year Film Director Nationality
1985 1984 Michael Radford   United Kingdom
1986 Yesterday Radosław Piwowarski   Poland
1987 Guard Me, My Talisman (Khrani menya, moj talisman) Roman Balayan   Soviet Union
1988 Travelling Avant Jean-Charles Tacchella   France
1989 A Film with No Name (Za Sada Bez Dobrog Naslova) Srdjan Karanovic   Serbia
1990 Pomegranate and Cane (Nar O Nay) Saeed Ebrahimifar   Iran
1991 Farendj Sabine Prenczina   France
1992 Life on a String (Bian Zou Bian Chang) Chen Kaige   China
1993 Manila Paloma Blanca Daniele Segre   Italy
1994 The Blue Exile (Mavi Sürgün) Erden Kıral   Turkey
1995 The Silences of the Palace (Saimt el Qusur) Moufida Tlatli   Tunisia
1996 Little Sister (Zusje) Robert Jan Westdijk   Netherlands
1997 The King of Masks (Bian Lian) Wu Tian-ming   China
1998 Ayneh (The Mirror) Jafar Panahi   Iran
1999 El Viento se Llevó lo Qué (Gone with the Wind) Alejandro Agresti   Argentina
2000 Clouds of May (Mayıs Sıkıntısı) Nuri Bilge Ceylan   Turkey
2001 No Place to Go (Die Unberührbare) Oskar Roehler   Germany
2002 Magonia Ineke Smits   Netherlands
2003 Suddenly (Tan de repente) Diego Lerman   Argentina
2004 Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Bu San) Tsai Ming-liang   Taiwan
2005 La Femme de Gilles Frédéric Fonteyne   Belgium
Café Lumière Hou Hsiao-hsien   Taiwan
2006 A Cock and Bull Story Michael Winterbottom   United Kingdom
2007 Reprise Joachim Trier   Norway
2008 Egg (Yumurta) Semih Kaplanoğlu   Turkey
2009 Tony Manero Pablo Larraín   Chile
2010 The Misfortunates Felix Van Groeningen   Belgium
2011 Microphone Ahmad Abdalla   Egypt
2012 The Loneliest Planet Julia Loktev   Russia
  United States
2013 What Richard Did Lenny Abrahamson   Ireland
2014 Blind Eskil Vogt   Norway
2015 Cancelled
2016 Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas Rodrigo Plá   Mexico
2017 The Ornithologist João Pedro Rodrigues   Portugal
2018 Western Valeska Grisebach   Germany
2019 House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae / 벌새) Kim Bora   South Korea
2020 Atlantis (Atlantyda / Атлантида)[11][12][13] Valentyn Vasyanovych   Ukraine
2021 Madalena[14][15][16] Madiano Marcheti   Brazil
2022 Vortex Gaspar Noé   Argentina

Other awardsEdit

National Competition[17][18]Edit

Year Film Director
1985 Bir Yudum Sevgi (A Sip of Love) Atıf Yılmaz
1986 Züğürt Ağa (the Agha)
Amansız Yol (Desperate Road)
Adı Vasfiye (Her Name Is Vasfiye)
Nesli Çölgeçen
Ömer Kavur
Atıf Yılmaz
1987 Anayurt Oteli (Motherland Hotel) Ömer Kavur
1988 Biri ve Diğerleri (One and the Others) Tunç Başaran
1989 Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite (Uçurtmayı Vurmasınlar) Tunç Başaran
1990 Karartma Geceleri (Blackout Nights) Yusuf Kurçenli
1991 Camdan Kalp (A Heart of Glass) Fehmi Yaşar
1992 Gizli Yüz (Secret Face) Ömer Kavur
1993 İki Kadın (Two Women) Yavuz Özkan
1994 Bir Sonbahar Hikâyesi (An Autumn Story) Yavuz Özkan
1995 İz (Traces) Yeşim Ustaoğlu
1996 80. Adım (The 80th Step) Tomris Giritlioğlu
1997 Akrebin Yolculuğu (Journey of the Clock-hand) Ömer Kavur
1998 Masumiyet (Innocence) Zeki Demirkubuz
1999 Güneşe Yolculuk (Journey to the Sun) Yeşim Ustaoğlu
2000 Mayıs Sıkıntısı (Clouds of May) Nuri Bilge Ceylan
2001 Dar Alanda Kısa Paslaşmalar (Offside)
Herkes Kendi Evinde (Away From Home)
Serdar Akar
Semih Kaplanoğlu
2002 9 Ümit Ünal
2003 Uzak (Distant) Nuri Bilge Ceylan
2004 Karpuz Kabuğundan Gemiler Yapmak
(Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds)
Ahmet Uluçay
2005 Anlat İstanbul (Istanbul Tales) Ümit Ünal, Kudret Sabancı, Selim Demirdelen, Yücel Yolcu, Ömür Atay
2006 Beş Vakit (Times and Winds) Reha Erdem
2007 İklimler (Climates) Nuri Bilge Ceylan
2008 Summer Book (Tatil Kitabı) Seyfi Teoman
2009 Men on the Bridge (Köprüdekiler) Aslı Özge
2010 Vavien Yağmur Taylan, Durul Taylan
2011 Saç (Hair) Tayfun Pirselimoğlu
2012 Tepenin Ardı (Beyond the Hill) Emin Alper
2013 Thou Gild'st The Even (Sen Aydınlatırsın Geceyi) Onur Ünlü
2014 Ben O Değilim (I Am Not Him) Tayfun Pirselimoğlu
2015 Cancelled
2016 Toz Bezi (Dust Cloth) Ahu Öztürk
2017 Sarı Sıcak (Yellow Heat) Fikret Reyhan
2018 Borç (Debt) Vuslat Saraçoğlu
2019 Kız Kardeşler (A Tale of Three Sisters) Emin Alper
2020 Aşk, Büyü, vs (Love, Spells and All That)[19] Ümit Ünal
2021 Beni Sevenler Listesi (The List of Those Who Love Me)[20] Emre Erdoğdu

Famous visitorsEdit

Famous visitors since 1982 include:[4][21]

Actors and actresses


  1. ^ Istanbul Film Festival regulations Archived 2010-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved December 15, 2007
  2. ^ "40th International Istanbul Film Festival". Salom (in Korean). April 1, 2021. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Istanbul Film Festival history Archived 2007-10-26 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved December 15, 2007
  4. ^ a b c (eds.) Pinhas, Yusuf; Omaç, Nuray (2006). Anlar/Moments. 2. İstanbul: IKSV. ISBN 975-7363-53-7. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Bayrak, Kerem (April 19, 2006). "A Silver Year for Istanbul International Film Festival". indieWire. Archived from the original on April 26, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  6. ^ "Co-operation with Film Festivals and Markets".
  7. ^ "28th International Istanbul Film Festival Press Release 28. Uluslararası İstanbul Film Festivali - Genel Bülten (Turkish)" (Microsoft Word Document). İKSV. March 10, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "FESTIVALS: Istanbul Film Festival Appoints New Director -".
  9. ^ "27th International İstanbul Film Festival introduced through press conference". İKSV. 2008. Archived from the original on July 7, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2008.
  10. ^ "Istanbul Film Festival In Censorship Dispute". The New York Times. April 4, 1988. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  11. ^ 39. İstanbul Film Festivali. 2020
  12. ^ Atlantis. 2020
  13. ^ Ukrainian movie wins top honor at Istanbul Film Fest. 21.10.2020
  14. ^ "Istanbul Film Festival presents awards". Hürriyet Daily News. July 16, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "The awards of the 40th Istanbul Film Festival". Istanbul Film Festival. İKSV. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  16. ^ "MADALENA: O CRIME DA TRANSFOBIA NUMA ESTÉTICA SUFOCANTE E ILUMINADORA". C7nema. September 15, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  17. ^ Istanbul Film Festival awards Archived 2007-10-25 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2007-12-15
  18. ^ Awards of the 28th International Istanbul Film Festival Archived 2009-07-07 at the Portuguese Web Archive, retrieved 2009-07-23
  19. ^ "39th Istanbul Film Festival". Istanbul Film Festival. İKSV. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  20. ^ "The awards of the 40th Istanbul Film Festival". Istanbul Film Festival. İKSV. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  21. ^ (ed.) Pinhas, Yusuf (2009). Anlar/Moments. İstanbul: IKSV. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)

External linksEdit