Turkish-German director in the Cannes limelight
18 May 2005, HAMBURG - While Golden Palm winner Wim Wenders is always a popular figure at the renown Cannes Film Festival, the spotlight at the 58th annual event is focussed on another German filmmaker, Fatih Akin.
18 May 2005
HAMBURG - While Golden Palm winner Wim Wenders is always a popular figure at the renown Cannes Film Festival, the spotlight at the 58th annual event is focussed on another German filmmaker, Fatih Akin.
Wenders has high hopes for his latest movie, a drama called 'Don't Come Knocking,' which was the only exclusively German production entered in the competition, along with three other German co-productions.
The famed German director-producer won the Golden Palm in 1984 for 'Paris Texas,' a drama filmed in the United States, and is keeping his fingers crossed for a repeat.
But Akin's out-of-competition musical documentary, 'Crossing the Bridge - The Sound of Istanbul,' along the lines of Wenders' portrait of Cuban musicians, 'Buena Vista Social Club,' was widely acclaimed after its world premiere at Cannes, resulting in wide- spread media coverage.
Adding to that, Akin has received additional coverage as a member of the world's most prestigious festival jury, quite an honour for a filmmaker only 31 years old.
Doubtless his selection was influenced by the success of his 2003 film 'Head On' ('Gegen Die Wand'), a surprise winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin's International Film Festival last year.
'Crossing the Bridge' is the third project completed by Akin's own production company Corazone International and is co-produced with Intervista Digital Media.
Akin conceived the idea of making a music documentary during the filming of 'Head On'. To supply authentic Turkish atmosphere for the movie, whose plot revolved around the problems of Turkish families in Germany and the problems facing Islamic women, Akin and his crew shot some 150 hours of the music scene in Istanbul, involving traditional Turkish folk music along with foreign influences from the west and east.
Seven months in the cutting room resulted in a 87 minute documentary, whose title reflects the oft-stated cliché that Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia.
Akin told the trade publication Film Echo that he regarded his invitation to join the festival's jury as his own workshop.
"Through my experience gained at the Berlinale, I became a better filmmaker. I hope that I will gain further maturity through Cannes."
Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg of middle-class Turkish parents, his mother a teacher and his father a worker. He began learning his trade by majoring in visual communications at Hamburg's Academy of Fine Arts in 1994.
In 1995, he wrote and directed his first movie, 'Sensin - You're the One!', which took an award at Hamburg's International Short Film Festival.
Besides 'Head On', other credits include his first full-length feature, 'Short Sharp Shock', which won the Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Director.
A follow-up project to 'Head On' featuring actress Hannah Schygulla is in the production pipeline, as the second segment of Akin's planned trilogy, 'Love, Death, and Devil.'
Subject: German news