Tayfun Pirselimoglu, Eskil Vogt win Golden Tulips at İFF

Turkish director Tayfun Pirselimoglu and Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt became the proud winners of the Golden Tulip awards for Best Film at this year’s Istanbul International Film Festival (İFF) on Saturday evening as the 33rd edition of the event prepared to wrap up with a final day of screenings on Sunday.

Pirselimoglu won the Golden Tulip for his latest effort “Ben O Degilim” (I Am Not Him) in the festival’s national feature film competition while Vogt’s “Blind” was named the winner of the international feature film competition at the awards ceremony, held at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall in Harbiye.

The evening ceremony, hosted by actress Tülin Özen and broadcast live on the news channel CNN Türk, began with the presentation of two special honors: Veteran film critic, author, translator and film historian Giovanni Scognamillo was presented with an appreciation plaque to both mark his 85th birthday and honor his contributions to the history of Turkish cinema, while French film producer and distributor Marin Karmitz, the founder of the production company and movie theater chain MK2, was given the festival’s Cinema Honor.

The festival’s international feature competition jury, headed this year by the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”), chose to confer the Jury’s Special Prize on Polish directors Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze for their effort “Papusza” (Doll).

In the national competition, Pirselimoglu also grabbed the best screenplay award with “Ben O Degilim,” a doppelganger drama starring Ercan Kesal.

The national feature competition jury, chaired this year by Turkish-Cypriot director Derviş Zaim (“Somersault in a Coffin”), gave the best director prize to Onur Ünlü for his newest crime-comedy “İtirazım Var” (Let’s Sin), which had its nationwide theatrical release on Friday.

Among the 10 films in the national competition, director Kazım Öz’s “Bir Varmış Bir Yokmuş” (Once Upon A Time), won the Jury’s Special Prize. Vahide Perçin took home the best actress honor for her performance in director Levent Semerci’s second feature “Ayhan Hanım” while the best actor trophy went to Serkan Keskin for his portrayal of the extraordinary imam in the leading role of Ünlü’s “İtirazım Var.”

The festival’s Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE), a prize that honors films that have human rights as a central theme, and only given at the Istanbul Film Festival, went to Rithy Panh’s “The Missing Picture,” the first Cambodian film to be nominated for an Academy Award.

The award’s jury said in its statement that they gave the FACE prize to Panh’s film “because remembering the past warns us against humanitarian tragedies that are the inevitable outcomes of totalitarian and despotic regimes.”

The People’s Choice awards, sponsored by the Radikal daily, went to French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s “Tom à la ferme” (Tom at the Farm) in the international competition and Hüseyin Karabey’s “Sesime Gel” (Come to My Voice) in the national competition.

The ceremony ended with a screening of Norwegian director Vogt’s “Blind,” a drama that has also won awards at this year’s Berlin and Sundance film festivals.