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Turkish Director Wins Award At The Venice Film Festival

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 13 September 2016
Turkish film director, Reha Erdem, won the Special Jury Prize at the 73rdVenice Film Festival for his work, Koca Dünya (Big Big World). Erdem thanked the jury and stated that the film will make its debut in Turkey during the 23rd International Adana Film Festival, which will take place between September 17 and 25. Erdem is the third Turkish director to have received this particular prize at the world’s oldest film festival. In 2014, Kaan Müjdeci won the award for his film Sivas and in 2015, Emin Alper’s Abluka took home the prize for his work on the film Frenzy.

Koca Dünya revolves around the story of an orphaned brother and sister, Ali and Zuhal, who are later separated when Zuhal is adopted by a family. When Ali finds out that the family is planning to make Zuhal their second bride, he commits a crime to save her. Leaving the city behind, they escape to the woods where nature really comes alive in all its details and the pair must learn how to live again.

As an Istanbul native, Reha Erdem studied history at Boğaziçi University and graduated from the cinema department at Paris 8 University. His first feature-length film was shot in 1989 as a French-Turkish co-production under the title Oh Moon. After that Erdem continued to write and shoot films, specifically Run for Money (1999), Mommy, I’m Scared (2004), Times and Winds (2006), My Only Sunshine (2008) and Kosmos (2009). Erdem’s first work to receive a major award, Big Big World, was shot in 2016 and features actors Saygın Soysal, Hakan Çimenser, Ayta Sözeri, Murat Deniz, Melisa Akman and Ecem Uzun.

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Reha Erdem/Wikimedia Commons

This year the festival’s Golden Lion Award, the most prestigious prize, went to Filipino director Lav Diaz’s work on The Woman Who Left, a nearly four hour black-and-white film about the struggle of a wrongly convicted school teacher who must face the world after having been behind bars for 30 years. The Grand Jury Prize was given to Tom Ford’s thriller and second feature film Nocturnal Animals, which revolves around a gallery owner who is haunted by her ex-husband’s violent novel that is a little too personal, starring Rachel Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Actress Emma Stone also took home the Best Actress Award for her role in La La Land.