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The 13th edition of Sofia MENAR will be online with a focus on Turkish cinema

The 13th edition of the Sofia MENAR Film Festival from the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa will be held from January 15 to January 31 online on one of the largest Bulgarian video content platforms.

The festival will offer 30 feature films and 12 short films, with a special focus on Turkish cinema.

Among the highlights in the section with Turkish productions is “Gypsy Romance” by director Oguzhan Yildiz awarded the Best Film Award at the Istanbul and Antakya Festivals.

“Gypsy Romance” by director Oguzhan Yildiz (Photo: Sofia MENAR)

The film tells the story of Alijan, who lives in the gypsy neighborhood of Istanbul and everyone knows him as a Roma. The violin is the whole world of Alijan. He earns his living as a musician in a gypsy boss’s nightclub, and on his free evenings he plays on the shores of the Bosphorus. He remembers everything by ear, because he has never studied and does not even know the notes. One evening a teacher from the music academy hears the gentle sounds of his violin along the shore and invites him to the academy.

Even if Alijan’s life has always been a gypsy romance, today it is about to become a classical symphony. The new environment offers him security and friends, but it is also full of enemies, because the world is ready for the musician Roma, but not everyone is ready to accept Roma Alijan.

“Omar and We” by directors Marina Gorbach and Mohamet Bahadar (Photo: Sofia MENAR)

The most awarded film in the selection is “Omar and We” by directors Marina Gorbach and Mohamet Bahadar. With over 20 awards from international festivals, including Best Film from the Arlington IFF, Best Film from the Istanbul IFF, Best Film and Director Award from the Kayseri IFF, Director’s Award and Best Actor Award (Jem Bender) from the Kazan IFF, Jury Prize and Screenplay Award from the Malatya IFF, Best Actor Award (Jem Bender) from the Antakya IFF…

The film follows the vicissitudes of former military Ismet, who finds it difficult to find common ground with others. His son left for the United States, despite his father’s disagreement. Soon Ismet’s wife decides to follow her son. And Ismet faces a new challenge after Omar and Marie, two refugees who unexpectedly settle down next to his house, make him rethink his prejudices and views.

Among the other offers from Turkish cinema is Murat Cherry’s beautiful and contemplative film “I Dreamed a Dream” for 8-year-old Tariq, who goes to live in the countryside with his grandparents. There the boy lives in harmony with nature, but it is difficult to get along with local children.

“Letters of Destiny” by Elif Akarsu Polat and Chigdem Bozali (Photo: Sofia MENAR)

Its premiere at the 13th Sofia MENAR There will also be the debut of Elif Akarsu Polat and Chigdem Bozali “Letters of Destiny”.

The film tells the story of Zaynep and Yusuf, who have been together every day since they were little and their childhood is like that. She is his world, and he is hers. One day Yusuf leaves for the big city and never returns. Zaynep loses her best friend and first love. Little by little, from a young girl in love, she turns into a lonely mature woman.

In search of love, she finds a strange hobby. Through a column in the newspaper, he began to write to prisoners, with the thought that he was sharing with strangers. One of them was sentenced to life. She is calm that she will never meet him, but letter after letter, she begins to feel closer to him and waits for his letters with trepidation.

Among the documentary proposals of the festival is the large-scale project “Faces and Steps” by Salih Yozderia, shot in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, with exceptional shots of millions of believers who went on a solemn pilgrimage.

Sofia MENAR Film Festival is organized by “Shame” and introduces the Bulgarian audience to the culture and traditions of the Islamic world.

The program of Sofia MENAR Film Festival presents the best of feature, documentary and short films in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, and traditionally includes specially selected thematic events related to the countries of the region and the customs of ethnic groups. who inhabit their lands. The festival was founded in 2009.