On the first day of the Sarajevo Talent Campus, participants had the chance to attend a lecture entitled "Tradition vs Modern: Ebb and Flow of Cinema between Center and Periphery" by Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu, who was awarded the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale for his film "Bal" (Honey).
Kaplanoglu started his talk by giving literature as an example of the struggle between modern and tradition. He explained that the most powerful liteature in Turkey dealing with such struggle started bursting after the thirties - i.e. right after the creation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 - with authors such as Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar who has been a model for future works of literature in Turkey. This conflict between modern and tradition still goes on today, says Kaplanoglu, between the culture in which we were born and the one we've been educated in. He adds that Orhan Pamuk, for instance, is an author who is in between these worlds.
Kaplanoglu says that he experiences this conflict every day and presents "Bal" as an example. Yusuf for instance, the main character of "Bal", is a poet who experiences things in a passionate way. Kaplanoglu has chosen a poet to be his main character because he comes himself from a culture full of poetry, as he explains. Because it takes so much effort in today's world to be a poet, Kaplanoglu has chosen to show his own struggle through the eyes of a poet, Yusuf in his film.
The basic questions one aks oneself within this struggle is "Who am I? What am I doing here? Why am I here?", but Kaplanoglu says that we tend to forget these questions in our life journeys. He adds that he believes we come to life with a feeling of loss, and that we come to the world with a certain knowledge that opens up to a spiritual or non material understanding. Our experiences are not only about this world and material things and Kaplanoglu says that art is the struggle to try to explain and feel what's beyond our material world. We were all born into a culture and caught into something different within the environment in which we live. But beyond all this, there is something we give to the world. Kaplanoglu's work represents this searching and exploration of the loss.
When Kaplanoglu first presented his trilogy at the Rotterdam film festival, producers told he was crazy and that it would be impossible to make three movies when even producing one can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, Kaplanoglu's Greek partner believed in the project. Following that, Kaplanoglu was in Cannes with two projects, found new partners and could work further on finalizing his trilogy made of : "Yumurta" (Egg), "Süt" (Milk) and "Bal" (Honey).
Kaplanoglu was 36 when he finalized his first movie, which means that he struggled for fifteen years to find producers and professionals interested in his project. In the end, he became himself a producer and learned to perform many other roles within the film industry. It took a long time for Kaplanoglu to achieve success with his films, but not all filmmakers need to experience the same process, says Kaplanoglu. Every artist, every filmmaker has its own story, its own path. Kaplanoglu ended his lecture in a very positive note reminding talent campus participants that no matter how long it can take, "never give up, believe in your project and work hard. Someone at some point will show interest in what you are doing. There are good people out there".
You can see the photo gallery of this lecture on the following webpage: http://www.sff.ba/image_gallery/show/id/249