Tradition meets Turkey at local film festival

Yoi is one of several Turkish films being shown on campus this semester as part of the Turkish Film Festival

Yoi is one of several Turkish films being shown on campus this semester as part of the Turkish Film Festival

More a half a century and 400-plus movies after the first movie in the Harrison and June Kash International Film Society, the series, founded in 1962, is still going strong. This fall semester marks the 53rd film series, and its focus connects with this years’ country of study: Turkey.

Although Turkey might be better known for its political drama rather than dramatic movies, Dr. Harrison Kash and Dr. William Kumbier have managed to put together a series of popular, modern films.

“It can either be really easy or really hard [to find films for the series], and I knew nothing about Turkish films,” said Kumbier, professor of English and philosophy, who headed the film selection process. “It involves a lot of research; I had to go to my sources and read a lot of articles.”

He has put together a series with a little bit of every genre: comedies, a couple of political dramas and a few reflective, serious dramas. Kumbier takes the fact that the audience is mostly college students into consideration, but tries to find films for people with different tastes.

“The films are very modern,”  he said. “They were all filmed within the last 20 years. These were knockout films in Turkey.”

One of the films that he is most excited to show is called Yol. It is about some of the political troubles Turkey has had in the recent past. Kumbier said one of the things about the film that makes it interesting is that the director of Yol was in jail and had to arrange for it to be filmed in secret.

“It is a powerful movie,” he said.

Another film Kumbier says evokes much different emotions is The Edge of Heaven.

“It’s the one that got me the most,” he said. “It’s sensitive and mysterious.”

The people involved with the International Film Festival hope to see a lot of students coming out to enjoy this free event, but they note that students are sometimes wary of attending the films because they are not in English.

“Don’t let the subtitles scare you,” Kumbier said. “It will be a different movie experience and style that you’ve never seen before.”