Ambassador Kaan Esener at Turkish Film Festival Opening

Turkish Film Festival Opening Reception

The JAi Film Channel team attended the opening reception of the 4th annual Turkish Film Festival at Cinema Nouveau in Brooklyn, Pretoria. Our field reporter Simone Martin caught up with Turkish ambassador Kaan Esener to get his take on the evening’s festivities.

Mr. Esener has been based in South Africa since September 2012. He graduated from the university of Ankara in 1988 with a degree in Political Science and from there joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Esener has also served as ambassador to other African countries such as Botswana and Swaziland. Esener stressed the importance of improving relations between Turkey and South Africa in both the filmic and cultural sense. Esener explained the necessity of the promotion of Turkish cinema as it depicts the politics, culture and general way of living of Turkish society. Turkish cinema is instrumental in highlighting the similarities and differences between nations. When asked about the status of the Turkish film industry Esener articulated that Turkish-made films have grown to become strong competitors on the international front, in particular Turkish soap-operas which are hugely favoured in places such as the Middle east and Latin America. Turkish films offer audiences a different perspective and alternate form of entertainment as oppose to the big Hollywood blockbusters that are so popular worldwide. Variety in film is what adds to a film goer’s cinematic taste and appeal. The film that was viewed by Esener and the Gusto team is called Kurtulus Son Durak (Last Stop: Salvation) (2012) which explores the theme of domestic violence yet it is presented in a comedic fashion.

Aside from the film viewed, there was one documentary exhibited at the festival is Turkish Passport (2011) and it is close to Esener’s heart as it tells the true story of Turkish diplomats assisting jewish children escaping Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Esener says that such a story serves as an inspiration to today’s generation. It definitely should inspire as compassion shown to your fellow man should be second nature.

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