Now celebrating its 39th anniversary, the trailblazing Istanbul Film Festival has found a novel way to bring films and cinema lovers together during the pandemic, be it online or offline.

The 39th Istanbul Film Festival begins today, October 9, 2020, in theatres and online, in what it calls a “hybrid edition”, exclusive to Turkish audiences.

Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the festival will bring the newest examples of world cinema to Turkish residents as well as the best documentaries from Turkey. The latest films of esteemed international directors and new discoveries, totalling 40 films, will be featured in the packed programme.

Many films within the programme will be shown in theatres with the attendance of directors and crews. The festival will run until October 20, 2020, incorporating Filmekimi into its schedule.

In previous years, the film festival would traditionally take place in the first two weeks of April, while Filmekimi would meet audiences for a week in October. This year, the pandemic has forced a change to normal proceedings. Launching a digital platform, “the largest, most established, and most influential film festival in Turkey” held online screenings in May, June and July.

The National Competition Films will be screened solely online at, while the National Documentary Competition and Filmekimi Galas will be screened at Cinemaximum Nisantasi City’s and Kadikoy Cinema, as well as online.

Twenty seven films from the National Competition, National Documentary Competition and Filmekimi Galas will be screened online at between October 9 and October 24. Every night, the films can be screened at 9 PM and each will remain available for five days. Like previous online screenings, viewers will lose access 30 hours after pressing play. 

Because of Covid-19 precautions, there will be no ticket sales at cinema booths, and theatre screenings will be sold online at There will only be three screenings a day at Cinemaximum Nisantasi City’s and Kadikoy Cinema - this in order to allow for proper disinfection and hygiene measures. The screenings are scheduled for 1 PM, 5 PM and 9 PM.

Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg returns with Another Round, starring Mads Mikkelsen.
Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg returns with Another Round, starring Mads Mikkelsen. (Courtesy of IKSV)

The International Competition

In the International Competition section of the 39th Istanbul Film Festival, 12 films are competing for the International Golden Tulip Award under the “New Perspectives in Cinema” theme. These films are only available online.

The winning film’s director will receive 10,000 euros ($11,760), while the distributor of the film in Turkey will receive 50,000 TL ($6300). Another 5,000 euros ($5,880) will go to the director of the film that wins the Jury Special Prize.

For the 39th Istanbul Film Festival, the head of the jury is director Tayfun Pirselimoglu, while the members of the jury are actor Hazar Erguclu, director Burak Cevik, cinema historian and programmer Jasmin Vasic and distributor Anthony Bobeau.

The National Documentary Competition

Istanbul Film Festival’s National Documentary Competition, that aims to support documentary cinema and documentary filmmakers, will hand out 10,000 TL to the best film. The jury for the National Documentary Competition comprises director Ruken Tekes, producer-director Yasin Ali Turkeri, and director-artist Ezgi Kilincaslan.

Filmekimi becomes part of the Istanbul Film Festival

More mainstream films that have a wider audience will make their premiere for Turkish audiences for the first time at Filmekimi Galas. All will be offered in theatres while some will also be offered online.

Ticket prices

For online screenings, single tickets cost 11 TL (less than $2). For International Competition package tickets (12 films), the cost is 100 TL (about $13). For National Documentary Competition package tickets (10 films), the cost is 90 TL (about $11.50). Tickets are at

For offline screenings at film theatres, tickets are at Biletix. All 1 PM screenings are 30 TL -about $4- (20 TL for students - about $2.50-). All 5 PM and 9 PM screenings are 40 TL -about $5- (25 TL for students -a little over $3-).

Thumbnail photo: Veteran actress Tilda Swinton is in Pedro Almodovar’s latest offering, the Human Voice. Headline photo: Francois Ozon’s new film, Summer of 85, will be screened in the Filmekimi Galas section. (Photos courtesy of IKSV)

Source: TRT World