The 38th Istanbul Film Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), announced the winners of the official awards at the ceremony held at Rahmi M. Koç Museum on Tuesday evening, 16 April. 52 films vied in national and international competitions at this year’s festival.

Hosted by writer and TV programmer Yekta Kopan, the 38th Istanbul Film Festival’s Award Ceremony saw presentations of the official awards of the International and National competitions, Human Rights in Cinema, National Documentary and National Short Film competitions, as well as the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize, and FIPRESCI Awards. The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the 2019 Festival, where 175 feature-length and 11 short films were showcased alongside panels and concerts; screenings will resume for another day.

International Competition

The International Competition Jury was presided by one of Britain’s most original and creative independent filmmakers, Lynne Ramsay, and comprised award-winning Canadian filmmaker Philippe Lesage, award-winning actress Damla Sönmez, one of Ireland’s most celebrated and respected new round of actors, Moe Dunford, and director of the Berlinale European Film Market, Matthijs Wouter Knol.

In this year’s International Competition, 12 films from 10 countries were evaluated to receive the grand prize of the festival, the Golden Tulip. The International Competition Golden Tulip Award, presented in memory of Şakir Eczacıbaşı, comes with monetary prizes granted by the Eczacıbaşı Group–the director of the best film receives 10,000 Euros, granting 50,000 TL to its distributor in Turkey. The Special Jury Prize corresponds to 5,000 Euros.

The Golden Tulip in the International Competition, in memory of Şakir Eczacıbaşı, was awarded “for its delicacy, beauty, emotional impact and skill, beautiful portrayal of a young girl struggling to find her place in the world, waiting for the moment that her life will finally shine” to Bolsae / House of Hummingbird directed by Bora Kim. The winner was announced by Lynne Ramsay, followed by the presentation of the monetary prize by the CEO of Eczacıbaşı Group Atalay Gümrah.

The winner of the International Competition Special Jury Prize was announced by Damla Sönmez. The award was given to Talking About Trees directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari, quoting the film “Sometimes the failures are so great that hope has to grow. Times when ‘talking about trees is almost a crime because it implies silence about so many horrors!’”

Human Rights in Cinema Competition

The Human Rights in Cinema award is being presented only at the Istanbul Film Festival since 13 years. The award comprises a 5,000 Euros monetary prize endorsed by the co-production fund Eurimages. The Jury is comprised of director Florin Şerban; actress, director and theatre writer Nihal Koldaş; and director, video artist and filmmaker Adrian Figueroa.

The Human Rights in Cinema Award was given to Diciembres / Decembers directed by Enrique Castro Ríos “for its capacity of being poetic and thought-provoking at the same time.”

The jury also awarded a Special Mention to #Female Pleasure directed by Barbara Miller.

National Competition

Nine films that were completed in the 2018-19 season vied for the Golden Tulip in the National Competition of the festival–together with the Out of Competition titles, 10 fiction features had their world premieres and one film had its Turkey premiere. The jury evaluating the films in the National Competition for the 38th Istanbul Film Festival was headed by director, writer, and scriptwriter Ümit Ünal. Fellow jury members include actress Derya Alabora, actor Alican Yücesoy, cinematographer Andreas Sinanos, and writer and scriptwriter Gaye Boralıoğlu.

The National Competition Jury distributed awards in 9 categories: Golden Tulip Best Film, Special Prize of the Jury, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematographer, Best Editing, and Best Original Music.

The Golden Tulip for Best Film in the National Competition was awarded to Kız Kardeşler / A Tale of Three Sisters, directed by Emin Alper. Supported by a 150.000 TL monetary prize, the award was presented by jury president, filmmaker Ümit Ünal.

The Special Jury Prize in memory of Onat Kutlar was given to Yuva directed by Emre Yeksan. The award was presented by director Philippe Lesage. The Special Jury Prize is supported with a 50,000 TL monetary award.

The jury decided to award a Special Mention to Aden / Eden, directed by Barış Atay.

Emin Alper won the Best Director Award for his film Kız Kardeşler / A Tale of Three Sisters. The award was announced by last year’s winner Tayfun Pirselimoğlu, and Tuğrul Ağırbaş, the General Manager of Anadolu Efes Turkey, presented the award. The Golden Tulip for Best Director is supported by the Turkish Cinema Theme Sponsor Anadolu Efes with 50,000 TL.

Cemre Ebüzziya, Ece Yüksel and Helin Kandemir won the Best Actress Award for their roles in Kız Kardeşler / A Tale of Three Sisters. The award was presented by actor Alican Yücesoy. The winner of the Best Actress award receives 10,000 TL.

The Best Actor Award was given to Kutay Sandıkçı for his role in Yuva. The award was presented by actress Derya Alabora. The Best Actor Award is supported with a 10,000 TL monetary award.

The Best Screenplay Award in the National Competition was given to Serhat Karaaslan for the film Görülmüştür / Passed by Censor. Writer and screenwriter Gaye Boralıoğlu presented the award.

Best Cinematographer Award in the National Competition was given to Jakub Giza for the film Yuva. Cinematographer Andreas Sinanos presented the award.

The Best Editing Award in the National Competition was given to Ali Aga for his work in the film Görülmüştür / Passed by Censor. The award was presented by Matthijs Wouter Knol.

The Best Original Music Award in the National Competition went to Giorgos and Nikos Papaioannou for the film Kız Kardeşler / A Tale of Three Sisters. The award was presented by actor Moe Dunford.

National Short Film Competition

The National Short Film Competition is spearheaded with the objectives of encouraging short film making, supporting the development in this field, and bringing together the audience and outstanding short films. The jury, composed of last year’s winner, director Umut Subaşı, actress Esme Madra, and actor Halil Babür, chose the Best Short Film among 11 films to receive the monetary award of 5,000 TL granted by Anadolu Efes.

Avarya directed by Gökalp Gönen won the Best Short Film Award for “its powerful atmosphere and the original characters it has created.”

National Documentary Competition

This year, 11 films competed in the National Documentary Competition launched by the Istanbul Film Festival in order to support documentary film-makers and documentary film production in Turkey. The National Documentary Competition Jury consisted of director and producer Melek Ulagay Taylan, documentary filmmaker Diana Näcke, and director Didem Pekün. The Best Documentary Award in the National Documentary Competition is supported by a monetary award of 10,000 TL.

The Best Documentary Award was given to Tanrı Göçmen Çocukları Sever Mi Anne? / Do You Think God Loves Immigrant Kids, Mom? directed by Rena Lusin Bitmez for being “a skilful depiction of the hardships of displacement told through an unobtrusive point of view. The film portrays the microcosmos of society by a focus on children and their parents with warmth, respect, and a hopeful outlook into the future.” The award was given by documentarist Melek Ulagay Taylan.

The jury decided to extend a Special Mention to Baştan Başa / Heads and Tails directed by Aylin Kuryel and Fırat Yücel for being “a humorous portrait of a tradition that has layered social and political resonances across the Middle East.” The award was given by Diana Näcke and Didem Pekün.

Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize

The Istanbul Film Festival presents the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize in memoriam director and producer Seyfi Teoman, who passed away in 2012. This year, the jury of the prize was composed of the program manager and co-curator of the Berlinale Forum Anna Hoffmann, director Banu Sıvacı, and actress Elit İşcan.

Six debut fiction feature films by filmmakers from Turkey and screened in the festival’s “Turkish Cinema” section were nominated for the prize.

Nebula / Dead Horse Nebula directed by Tarık Aktaş won the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize supported with a monetary award of 30,000 TL granted by CMYLMZ Fikirsanat. The jury declared: “Today is the birthday of esteemed director Seyfi Teoman to whom this award is dedicated and in whose memory we are giving this award. May he rest in peace. As we deliberated to select the best debut film prize-winner, we especially considered the films’ courage to have utilised the limitless possibilities of cinema as they are constructing the time, space, and story in their particular universes. As members of the jury, we reiterate our wish to encounter many more strong female characters in our cinema.”


The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) presented three awards. The FIPRESCI Jury was headed by Victoria Smirnova from Russia, and includes Margarita Chapatte from Spain, Nada Azhari Gillon from France, Angelo Mitchievici from Romania, Okan Arpaç and Ruggero Calich from Turkey.

Nada Azhari Gillon, Angelo Mitchievici, and Okan Arpaç evaluated the National Competition and National Short Film Competition films, whereas Victoria Smirnova, Margarita Chapatte, and Ruggero Calich evaluated the International Competition films.

The winners of the FIPRESCI Awards were:

Talking About Trees directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari in the International Competition; “for the very elegant and bitter story of the last Don Quixotes of cinema.”

Kız Kardeşler / A Tale of Three Sisters directed by Emin Alper in the National Competition, “for the human complexity of the story, for the balance between drama and humour, for strong cinematic language.”

Gümüş / The Gentle Sadness of Things directed by Deniz Telek in the National Short Film Competition “for showing the depths of human condition in the context of family relationships as a cultural and emotional heritage.”

The awards were announced by Victoria Smirnova and Angelo Mitchievici.