On the first day of PASSPORT CONTROL 4 International Film and Photo Workshop, snow was falling in so large flakes, as if it was a movie set in Kars, East-Turkey.
In the co-production of MEDIAWAVE Foundation and Ankara Film Association twenty (mainly Hungarian) young filmmakers, photographers, musicians and dancers arrived in this area, which had not only an amusing history in the past, but an interesting situation in the present as well, with the aim of shooting films and taking photographs with their Turkish mates.
It’s worth locating Kars, the town which is 3000 kms far away from Hungary and which is hardly known by us, in place and in time, too. The town with memories from the mythological times, is situated at the slopes of the Southern part of Caucasus, near the Ararat at an altitude of 1750m above the sea-level. Nowadays it’s mainly populated by the Kurdish minority together with several Caucasian peoples. This territory with huge strategic importance is standing in the centre of the press’ attention because of the rebirth of the conflict between the Turkish and the Kurdish, which doesn’t generate in ethnical problems, but which is accelerated by political games between Turkey and the U.S.A.
Orhan Pamuk, winner of Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006, used the town as the setting for his novel "Snow". His novel had separate public opinions, and the novelist could only avoid getting behind bars by a world-wide protest. Town of Kars has an other importance - at least for us, Hungarians - since it was defended by two Hungarian generals (György Kmetty and Richárd Guyon) during the Crimean War – under the names of Ismail and Kursid pasha.
Our Hungarian filmmakers arrived in Kars with ready synopsis in their pockets. As soon they learnt a few things about the town and the circumstances, most of them changed their minds about their plans (if you’re interested in our participants and their film plans, click here) and rewrote them according to the reality they were welcome by in Kars. The newest generation of the Hungarian filmmakers were conducted by the world famous Ferenc Török with his helpful advice. Photographers were led by Péter Szabó, a freelance photographer, into the mysteries of photography in this unique place.
Members of the staff, crew, cast were Turkish, Kurdish people, and the „13th FESTIVAL OF EUROPEAN FILMS ON WHEELS” which took place parallel with the workshop, and which was organized by the Ankara Film Association. The Festival runs on its wheels from Ankara through Kars and Samsun to Sarajevo to spread Europen culture for six days in each city.
Briefly about the final result: 6 short fictions and experimentals were shot during the workshop on S8 (with the support of KODAK Hungary). Three additional short fictions, several documentaries and video clips were also made. The elaborating of the films and the editing are still in progress, hopefuly by the beginning of the next year, they will be ready.
A tiny selection out of the huge amount of pictures, photographs the photographers took can be found in the photo gallery of MEDIAWAVE. (If you are interested in the artistic, documentarist and atmosphere photos, click here.) You can read „Diary from Kars” at the same place, and soon you can watch the interviews with the participants and their werkfilms, trailers as well.
MEDIAWAVE Festival didn’t only realize PASSPORT CONTROL 4. workshop, but organized a screening of the film they made last year here and also took a Hungarian gipsy band and dancers with itself to the Festival. The musicians of Fláre Beás, from Devecser, Hungary with the dancers, Norbert Kovács ’Cimbi’ and Gábor Deésy ’Kacsa’ who accompanied them to Turkey, gave three formal and several informal concerts from the stages of the Festival through small Kurdish villages and Armenian ruins to tiny primary schools. They got a wide popularity in Turkey. One of the documentaries (not ready yet) shows us the world of Kars from their point of view. As one of the musicians observed, in Turkey they didn’t ever have to face discimination because of their Gipsy origins, just the opposite, as their situation in Hungary. They even were amazed by such hospitality, friendship, helpfulness they could find there.
One of the young filmmakers remarked it, that if only half of the reality was true out of what the team got as hospitality, friendship, love and help from our Turkish hosts, even then we had to reevaluate the old (and shabby) image of Hungarian hospitality.