About ATCP

We are people from Turkey and Armenia whose common ground is cinema. We love cinema. Not only do we love cinema, we also believe in the power of cinema to heal, reconcile and make peace. We believe that cinema can help us say things we were not able to for decades, and help us get to know one another. Not only do we believe, we also act on it!

Meetings of 2008

April 2008 – The first meeting
The Golden Apricot and Anadolu Kültür... We have been corresponding for months. We haven’t seen each other, but anticipating to put faces into names. We work on the programs, send them to one another, make changes, and send them once again. We have called for participants for the upcoming meetings both in Istanbul and Yerevan. We have received around 20 applications from Istanbul, and a similar amount from Yerevan. Unfortunately, we have enough funding to invite 12 people from Yerevan to Istanbul. This means that we need to limit the number of participants from Istanbul to 12 as well.

With the pleasant spring weather greeting us, the 24 of us close ourselves for four days in the old tobacco storage building, Tütün Deposu in Tophane. Our topic is ambitious: How cinema deals with history. Our topic might be ambitious but the group is upbeat and cheerful. There is definitely cheer, but the first two days are marked with the slightest tension. Everybody thinks twice before speaking, hesitating when commenting on films...

Nurdan Arca and Melek Ulagay Taylan, who were the names initiating the relationships leading up to this, are with us from the very first moment. We have included many filmmakers from Turkey into our program, thanks to having the meeting in Istanbul. We watch Beynelmilel (International) together. Director and writer Sırrı Süreyya Önder pays a visit, talking about the film and on being an opposing voice in Turkey. Later, we watch Hacivat Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü?(Who Killed the Shadows?). Director, writer, producer Ezel Akay and cinematographer Hayk Kirakosyan share their experiences on working together. Scriptwriter Meral Okay talks about historical films, and how to avoid the trappings of clichés. Film critic Alin Taşçıyan manages to spare time for the meeting from the busy program of the Istanbul International Film Festival. Directors, writers and producers Derviş Zaim and Panikos Chrissanthou talk about Akamas (Parallel Lines). There is so much to learn from the experiences of making a film on two societies in Cyprus.

We watch examples from the masters of Armenian cinema. We try to spot the Soviet influence in the early films of Peleshian, hoping to find closeness in the distant.

We listen to one another relentlessly, we watch, we talk, but the most important of all, we meet with one another, we touch each other. At the end of the fourth day, we head for dinner with a question hanging over our heads: How do we take this one step further? When Armenian and Turkish songs intermingle, the tension of the first day seems centuries away. We sing and dance to the shared tunes of these lands. We dream of making films together. We know that we have started off very well. We also know that we need to work real hard to continue with what we have started.

April 2008 Istanbul Workshop participants:
Zeynep Güzel, Arin İnan Arslan, Müjde Arslan, Perihan Taş, Senem Tüzen, Ali Betil, Sibil Çekmen, Lusin Dink, Artsvi Bakhchinyan, Hrach Bayadyan, Nika Shek, Ara Mnatsakanyan, Diana Kardumyan, Tigran Xmalian, Tigran Paskevichyan, Ruzan Zakaryan, Ara Khanjyan, Hasmik Hovhanissyan, Vardan Hakobyan, Susanna Harutyunyan.

December 2008 – The second meeting
The filmmakers from Turkey head to Yerevan for the return visit. Yerevan welcomes 10 people from Turkey and 10 from Armenia. Technically, this might not be the second meeting as some of us came together during summer in what could be called a pirate meeting. Many people from the April Workshop were present in the 5th Golden Apricot Yereven International Film Festival. Arin İnan Aslan was in the festival to present his project to Directors Across Borders Co-production Forum. Müjde Arslan and Zeynep Güzel were also there. Senem Tüzen and Sibil Çekmen had come to attend Atom Egoyan’s workshop. Alin Taşçıyan was a member of the FIPRESCI jury, while Istanbul International Film Festival Director Azize Tan was in the Feature Competition jury. Quite a crowd from Turkey was in Yerevan. We might not have held a meeting but during the course of that week, we had the chance to meet many others, and touch one another further.

The December meeting takes place in Yerevan. We watch films and continue to get to know one another in the freezing weather. You might be inclined to ask, how many times are you going to get to know one another? We still continue getting to know one another after three years...

In Yerevan, we meet with not only filmmakers but literary figures as well. We tell them our ideas, and in turn, they advise us on how to make use of literature. Of course, we watch films as well. One of the masters of Armenian cinema, Harutyun Khachatryan screens his Border for the young filmmakers from Armenia and Turkey. One month after our meeting, Border made his world premiere in the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and about a year later, competed in the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. Experienced names joining the meeting from Turkey are Ezel Akay and Nurdan Arca. We repeat the delightful evening we had shared in Istanbul here, but with a film screening this time. We watch Neredesin Firuze? (Where’s Firuze?), while we eat. The incredibly unique sense of humor of the film gets to everyone in the group, even to those who are watching the film for the second time...

Of course, it is not all fun and entertainment. The second meeting allows us to talk about the possibility of making films together. One group ponders over what could be done on Gomidas, another talks about the possibility of broadcasting Armenian films on Turkish TV channels, and vice versa.

The 20 of us pay a visit to the Sergei Parajanov Museum. We delight over meeting a true arts eccentric, even if it is in his absence...

The second meeting ends on a positive note, as quite a success once again. We reminisce the visit with a lot of music, a lot of dance, a lot of literature, and heaps of getting to know one another...

The next visit is to take place in Istanbul!

A Blurry Pastel Painting
After This Day
The Oud Maker