My work in my newly started web series “Secret Portal” is more focused on creating awareness in people who don’t have the chance to travel the world, but who have the desire to see it from a different perspective and meaning. I try to bring meaning to traveling and meeting new people and seeing new places.
So the next and last film on the “Zahiristan-bul” trilogy series will be about one continous love story shot in different places and with differing cast in a world of Dante somewhere in and around Italy. I seek to depict in each film a different part of the Greater Mediterranean. The first two films were about the two extremities of the Mediterranean basin. My hometown Istanbul and some parts of Spain (Andalucia and Barcelona) and sailing the Mediterranean southwest of France.
I believe that by design cinema has a lot to offer in understanding the “other” by evoking our emotions which no other art form can really achieve to this extent. Therefore I want to utilize this medium in re-constructing a new world view where a new form of sensing life is at utmost need in today’s world of collapsing economies and old-fashioned ways of doing things. A new renaissance is at the door!
I am currently making my travel and shooting schedule for 2013 for this new project. As I shot the part taking place in Barcelona of my latest film “The Grenadines Road” where my local hosts were mostly Italians, I want to shoot the last film to this trilogy now in the “Land of Dante”.
I like to work in creative environments surrounded with visionary people who seek to come together and join forces with one single aim to break free from our perceived boundaries of the world as we know it and share this unique vision with similar visionary people to make the light bigger and bigger every day.
I like to develop certain templates that naturally come out in my journeys as to discover and illustrate them at my next port of call. By doing so I feel that my journeys reach the highest level of my understanding of freedom. Including varying cultures and ways of seeing things allows us to create a holistic view of an otherwise dying world view. If our shortsighted eye is not fed and even healed at times with different perspectives and points of view to the same subject, then it’s not a living organism anymore actually.
Coming from a city like Istanbul where you can get sunsets with differing sensations every time you look at the same vista of the other side (be it arriving there from Europe, or Asia) depending on your gained new perspective of that “other side” on your way home. I want to create the same sensation with an amalgamate of perspectives at one single story form that I created with other two fellow travellers who experienced a life changing phenomenon in their daily lives here in Istanbul which I also experienced during the first film of this trilogy in this city of no ends. I think transmitting this euphoric experience of being born in Istanbul has a lot to offer to humanity in days like this coming to the closure of an age and beginning of a new one.
Therefore I intend to shoot one part of this free-roving trilogy fusion feature film project series again in collaboration with local artists and travelers the same way I did in Spain last year, but this time I have a complete new story form consisting of 4 Signposts and 3 Journeys of whose shoot I plan to make within a time span of 8 months through various parts of this visionary world.
In this way, I want to map out a spiritual road the same way I did with Cervantes’ Don Quixote’s trail back in Spain and to Yunus (a Turkish poet and mystic).
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
I made this Teaser for the movie today!
I hope you like it, just click the above link!
This journey had really become a manifestation of some sort of spiritual resurrection for me, because if you take on the responsibility of being a director to shoot a journey like this even though you don’t have a crew traveling with you or the necessary means to start a project of this scale, then you must believe that miracles are always there for the taking by those who really believe in them.
And indeed, this film is a sheer miracle of sensing life where ever you may wake up to it. You are there to live it how you choose to live it at that point in time. I was to choose to live it as the Turkish director from Istanbul on tour in Spain and sailing the Mediterranean south of France.
Entering people’s lives as a traveling couchsurfer was my starting point in making short films with these people whose couches I slept on and whose dreams I shared there. Then I would edit these films back to back in a cohesive feature road movie. That’s how I chose the locations of “The Grenadines Road”: by following a spirit of common tastes and looking for similar visionary people out there with whom I happen to be dreaming the same dream — just wake up in it and realize that we are not as alone as we think we are.
Things start to take shape as you move on with your dreams in a determined response to what’s really happening to us in our daily lives.
In one chapter of the film I am in Barcelona with a mate from a Chinese junk which is on a multi-year journey through the Mediterranean. I later asked him to play the role of an urban hermit who hosts couchsurfers to find a way out of hıs hometown Barcelona. I was trying to showcase our limited perception of reality by documenting real characters and then casting them in the dramatic roles of their own archetypes.
In another chapter, I am climbing Mount Montserrat with a Spanish fireman who liked to spend his summers in forest fires.
And yet in another I am dead and resurrected as a torero in a cactus orchard in Granada on Good Friday.
All of these short stories were written and shot in quite a short period of time with the people who replied to our social media postings, some of whom were even ready to drive to the set with their own cars from cities nearby just to be a part of this unique experience. I wrote the scripts for the shorts mostly out of the need to give an answer to what I was experiencing there as a foreign eye, unable to transmit my perspective due to language barriers which Spanish or French people were so keen on protecting. I guess they had their reasons for protecting the spirit of their flamboyant languages. So I had a challenge to break down these language barriers and give these people a chance to feel the wholeness of life as it initially existed and was meant to be living in its abundance. A new mix of genres of cinema was the only answer! I had to find this hidden language of the Spirit which would surpass all language barriers. This was the story I was talking about in one of the three fictions shorts in this hybrid movie.
As for set design, in one short I used the actual remnants from a house party.
In another I used some dragonflies which kept coming to me in various places sitting dead and dried in front of me on the pavement.
As for the costumes, we made our own costumes, like the torero costume with three spears in the back, made with fabric we found in a second hand vintage store and which was embroidered by a very talented local costume designer. Some times there were art collectives who opened their doors and let us shoot some scenes in their locale, or use it as our production office for the time being. We had interns from local film schools and camera crews were assembled by friends of friends whom I became acquainted with during a chat in a tree house or at a warm breakfast table in a hostel.
Some of the best location scouting was done during daily city tours with some Chinese travelers who wanted to scout the area with me and find hidden landscapes.
All in all, this film has been a sheer miracle to show that films are made as long as relationships allow it, and not merely because you have enough funds upfront to shoot it. Just to have some quality time together where you really listen to each other either on a mountain road by day’s end or on your daily watch at dawn on a Chinese junk somewhere in open sea was enough to turn those memorable moments into real life events once you make a film together with these people whom you just met and whom you probably won’t see again in a long time, but will remember each other for the rest of your lives.
The world is out there for us to prove that we exist in it in a meaningful way as a little flock maybe, as someone put it, and that we didn’t come here to suffer because of our misinterpretation of it.
So make it your own and have something to tell people about how the world really looks like from here in its abundance of new life — that’s what movies are all about!
The stories of these films are all dependent on just what bridges you burn in your life to avoid going back to what’s unreal, and to resurrect ın your dreams, which become your new reality.
“The Grenadines Road” is a movie that emerged out of the need for contact with people whose language I was not able to speak, but who were speaking to me in my dreams.
It’s a story of some stranded travelers in Spain all seeking for and starting a new life as they meet a resurrected torero somewhere on the road to getting “there”.
The movie is structured in multiple chapters depicting the metaphoric voyage of the travelers. In one chapter, an urban monk who is hosting couchsurfers shows them the way to get on the road via the symbolic burial of a dragonfly into the sea.
In another, the director is climbing Mount Montserrat with a Spanish fireman in search for truths one finds once on top of the mountain. In another, a torero dies like a bull with three spears in his back and is resurrected on Good Friday in search for a new life.
All these little stories, fiction or non-fiction, have a similar theme: we all are seeking true love but the road to get there is inevitably blocked by our inability to see the big picture.
I wanted to discover those aspects, which are actually hidden within the discoveries that we think we’ve already discovered. I wanted to give back what life offered me as default in this great big hometown of mine in an abundance of many facets of lives originating from somewhere around the globe and which were so thickly condensed in one single spot, Istanbul, which I had to find again in meaning, in order to make it really mine.
After all, leaving Istanbul is so difficult; if one fails once given the chance to break through the walls of illusion, this greatest hologram in the world imprisons one into.
Cinema was the only answer. So I traveled to Spain, a country where, as the legend goes, was home of a man of noble birth who went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.
The home of Don Quixote, the man who took the responsibility of making the truths of the ancient legends his own, which he read and read before he got on the road. He was missing one thing though: he couldn’t touch and bring about change and healing to the people he met on that road.
This is to say, I shot this film to bring about a healing on our perception of the world so that it brings a forward momentum from where we are stuck now as being alienated as “the other.”
The road is the best place where you meet “the others” apart from the crowds of mixed multitudes. This film is an answer to this need of ages old missing contact of these both ends of the Mediterranean.
We are living in a greater Mediterranean Sea that contains the miracle of grand perspective, if you can draw a thorough-line between the stories from both extremities of it. To find that hidden road was my challenge.
Being from Istanbul gives one the privilege of existing as a citizen of the world beyond your ethnicity and your cultural boundaries and forces you to take on the responsibility of being born into this inter-zone.
This heritage requires a full devotion and determination of applying this inborn out worldly nature to your daily life. Thus once you fulfill the dreams you dream in Istanbul, you may find yourself in quite a different place like Spain or anywhere else in the world depending on your interpretation of it. No wonder that Napoleon once said: “If the world was one nation, Istanbul would be its capital!”
Being an Istanbulite is very much like being a constant traveler but without having to cover long distances across the globe. Why is that? Because it is the only city in the world which sits on two continents and on two realities. Thus, to be born there and live there is to have an inborn sensation of what it is to sit next to infinity, which is also found within yourself. It is to look out at a whole new continent across the Bosporus day in and day out and even to traverse back and forth over the borders of your perceived reality. Thus, I am constantly on the road with my films, leaving one reality behind and stepping into another unknown one as I start thinking about what to shoot next. So I am living in a constant Diaspora in this world even in my own hometown! Literally Istanbul belongs nowhere but the heavens. It’s a world apart!
My last trip was in and around Spain where I wanted to make friends with the characters I had previously written in Istanbul which would appear in my upcoming feature film script. I also wanted to gain new perspectives about them and to meet his potential co-filmmakers and future actors on the road. Soon I realized that this recherché/field trip was going to take longer than I initially planned. So I changed the direction and decided to start a new project while traveling with friends I had recently met along the road. As I got to know my protagonist more, I decided to shoot a musical road movie. Thus it turned into a Cloud Atlas-eque feature length musical road movie in the end.
This blog is a diary about the constant daily miracles which make my films possible!
By miracles I mean the things we don’t usually comprehend during our daily rush of things that we have to carry on with, or the things which happen to us, but due to our short-sight or incapacity of adapting their interpretations to our daily lives they usually lose their effect of immediate impact to our surroundings. Thus we end up living a meaningless life as we take as a given that we are.
I am a seasoned filmmaker with 20 years of experience. I make films starting with my thesis project about alienated people in their homelands. The ones who were unable to find meaning of their life as being the microcosmic example of almost the whole humankind living on this planet without deliberating upon why! You need to shake off the old ways of thinking that are holding you back. Once you realize you can do things in an entirely new way, you can re-write the rulebook. Find ways you are stuck in mental ruts and give them the boot.
This blog is therefore there to unravel the invisible, the abstract within the visible. And today’s internet represents very well the ether which is not visible but which has become a certain vehicle to find out about how we can escape our mundane daily lives strictly stuck in the flesh, doesn’t’ it!
By definition, films are made as long as the relationships allow them. And the relationship I am talking about here is our relationship with the ether from where we actually get the ideas and new point of views through metaphors. They exist between ordinary events showing us the interconnectedness of all the things around us.
That’s why the things that I am going to share here are the mere interpretations of “the things” or “events” which may seem ordinary or not so out of the box at first sight, as the people around you try to make you believe that they are meaningless, but if you look at them from the viewpoint of the “eternal now,” they have quite different implications in the context of pre-eternity and eternity condensed to “now”! That’s where the eye-opener films come into the picture made by those few people on earth who happen to seek only these hidden links that we all actually have to look for in the first place.
For this reason I am even making this blog in English which is not my mother tongue and which may sound a bit awkward at times but which is I think how that person would talk to you whom you may also meet some day on a distant shore somewhere on the ocean side of a far continent, wouldn’t he/she? And the other reason I make this way is: if you believe that there is another reality beyond what we are born into, then English as a second language comes in handy I think to just start a dialogue! I am not going to bug you my crippling Spanish or out of practice German for the sake of my first post for now! 🙂
You may be a novice filmmaker and want to develop your filmmaking skills with hands-on experience on filmmaking starting from conceptualizing to the final shoot and editing, and even beyond all the way down to its gala, or you may also be a talented actor who wants to make a bold start with an off-the-beaten path film project in the international avant-garde film festival circles, then this blog is for you. Once it’s released, get to see also “The Grenadines Road”, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2723318/ my latest feature which has come out in the same vein. https://www.facebook.com/landofgrenadines
In my last project I was able to balance the density of wisdom of my hometown Istanbul (an amalgamate of a myriad of ancient cities one on top of each other, namely Byzantine, Konstantinopolis and Chalcedony – the so-called “Land of the Blind”) where you as a visionary filmmaker literally have no place to speak this knowledge out but your films or scripts, as it is the end of one world and yet the beginning of another, namely it’s just a bridge to pass you onto the other side. A bridge between our 5 senses and what’s beyond them, the sixth sense which doesn’t exist on this world, but it still does have its effects on this one! In getting into contact with the wholeness this city offers with its geographical location and history, you have to find out on your own what doesn’t exist yet there, namely “the hidden city within” or “the hidden self with us” so to speak.
When you cross the Bosporus, you start internalizing those notions which you only heard about up until then and start creating something beyond the material when you reach the other side. This transformation of ideas and the self can work both ways, from East to West or from West to East.
There you leave behind what was taught to you up until then, you become the coach of yourself. There you no longer need to take things for the self, there you take on the responsibility to act now as the bridge between these two worlds. There you suddenly disappear from one world by attaining the consciousness of logos that is to say that you become one with the whole universe and create a hook between the two ends of the world – the known and the unknown – which as a result empowers you to turn evil into good and the curse into blessing.
At that stage you start hearing a new call. A stage where no one really touches you anymore in a sense to hinder you from doing things. There you become untouchable. You actually pass beyond the limitations of cultures and nostalgia and heresy. Taking on the responsibility of studying the meaning of this road, you are also facing off the death&resurrection, taking this wisdom into your lives where you don’t need to prove your love of a certain kind of fish, for example, to anyone. The spiritual things have no way of proving them right.
You have passed the stage then of doing things just to show off. Like cleaning up some space just to satisfy our need to pretend as a clean person, whereas our inner self might be full of corruption, for instance. No, you don’t want to do that once you are out there in direct contact with the universe. You don’t do things there so that some people give you the paradise beyond your perception of some beliefs or ways of doing things right. There is no right or wrong there. There is just you who has become one with the universe! As the saying goes “you either become part of the universe or part of others’ herd.”
I don’t want to state that the light of the world is where I come from or where I am planning to travel next and I am just hanging out in those places to mix in with the vibe, no! Just in contrary, I want to protect my light as I sustain my mobility as a visionary according to where I deem most necessary to strike a balance with what I have found out lately and to meet those people who see this light in a way that they see the connections and are capable of drawing lines between the dots in that vast space of darkness in between them. There are less and less people out there who can draw or willing to draw these lines, as the connections which allow these lines to be drawn get more fainted every day in a decaying world where everything is instantly converted to a high degree of materialism.
My last trip was to Spain where I spent 9 months to map out the extent of the Greater Mediterranean for my upcoming film project “El Cosmico.” As I said before I am a filmmaker from Istanbul, the city where you can find all the answers to all your questions you wondered about all your life, but you can’t bring them to full fruition there. It’s a city which both sets you free from your bonds and also sends you away to your own journey. When you discover Istanbul, you most likely find yourself in some quite other place then you were before both mentally and physically.
This is a blog that I am making to find kindred spirits who may be like me stuck somewhere around the world and looking for a way to unleash their ties from their past and break free, but don’t know how. I offer my expertise of filmmaking with over 20 years of experience in the industry, if you really want to become a genuine person which is something else than what the world teaches us to become one, you know. You may find it somewhere in Spain or on a boat on a multi-year journey across the oceans or even sitting in your cubicle stuck in a mega city or a little town where you may even become a traveller of time and space without even moving anywhere.
I have been making films mostly with people who haven’t been all necessarily in the industry for career-sake, but I rather enjoyed doing these films by reforming the blueprint of making cinema as there are so many places about which no films are made yet to reform our ideas about filmmaking with the indigenous people there. Istanbul being just one of them which I am still finding out.
I mostly travel with the characters I write for long periods of time until I define them completely. There has been times that I decided not to make a film about them once I reached the core of the characters I wrote and shot through some short films fiction or non-fiction which usually come out as a video diary of sorts during theses journeys – that I shoot while I am traveling with them in spirit of the characters during recherche.
Don’t just ask ‘So, what do you do?’ Instead, go for something far more revealing. You could meet people who share your point of view in some really amazing ways somewhere in the world now and the internet might be just the beginning of that great journey — but you’ve got to ask all the right questions. And I ask you now, “you say I don’t like tea in the breakfast, I want coffee, but why would you make then movies in the same manner wherever you go in he world. Break through your own habits of doing things and enjoy the abundance of life and make real heartfelt contacts with people who are most likely passively looking for someone to change their habit of looking at things surrounding them from a finite viewpoint, thus creating more and more of a crust around them.
How about creating a completely new genre of cinema and breaking through these shells which are all made due to our own lack of practicing the way of meaning and due to our own way of seeing the whole creation as a system that punishes people where there are illusionary limits to doing things. Could that be your own lack of making these necessary contacts with the right people? And as a result of this you may be creating these limits that you set upon yourself. You can be totally lost in your own head and still have a productive day, when you are on the road. And if you are on a shoot there, imagining your next move could be one of your hidden talents. Go ahead, string fantasy and reality together into a silky braid. Your instincts will lead you to like-minded people, when you are out there. Go wherever your gut tells you to go. Fun people will be waiting there for you. Besides being able to predict how people are all going to react to you, your instincts will tell you how to prevent anything bad from hurting the people you love. This will be a time of great connectedness between you and the people you care. Get on your own Grenadines road!