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Go watch reality – 1001 Documentary Film Festival

November 2, 2010

Emma Philpott is a New Zealand journalist who cycled from London to Istanbul through very rural parts of Europe, hence she is determined to get a cultural fix while in Istanbul this winter. Her travel website is at She’ll be writing here while she’s in town to tell you what’s going on during the dreary.

We’ve done the hard work on your part. After scouring the 1001 Documentary Film Festival website for ticketing information, we held our hands up in frustration, took the metro to Sishane, walked into the nearest Film Festival venue (conveniently across the road from the Metro exit) and asked the sole staff member behind a stack of merchandise how much a ticket would cost.

The girl gave us an endearing ‘volunteering-for-a-film-festival’ smile and informed us there were no tickets. Entry to all showings are free. We’ll restrain from griping about putting essential information clearly on your promotional flyer and website, really we will.

The 1001 Documentary Film Festival started on 29th October and runs to 4th November. Documentary films have a reputation as the gawky older sister of the cinema world but if the world interests you remotely you’ll find something worth watching in the days ahead. The thick program lists 60+ films under seven themes of war, work, geography, migration, people and culture influenced art. With a huge number of countries on show, all films are made accessible with Turkish and English subtitles when required.

There is a strong showing from Turkish directors with 20 films in Turkish. Most of the films showcased at the festival have never been shown in Turkey before and its unlikely they’ll get picked up for wider distribution, because often documentaries just don’t.

You still have time to sit in front of a few films before the festival closes on Thursday. We thought the following Turkish films could be worth viewing:

Wind Carry My Voice – A Modern Story of Exile (Emre  Sarikus, 2010) About the 80,000 Istanbul street dogs who were dumped on a barren island on the Southern Marmara coast in the early 1900s.

While Everybody Else Sleeps (Erdem Murat Celkler, 2010) Follows two years in the life of an Istanbul cab driver who took photos of people working and living on the streets.

The Last Season: Shawaks (Kazim Oz, 2009) A director spent a year filming a nomadic community in eastern Turkey.

Three Seasons A Life Black Sea Highlands (Murat Erun, 2010) The story of a community living in the Black Sea highlands.

For a complete list of what is showing check out the pretty useful festival program here (link: )

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