The Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival is the only women's film festival in Turkey. At the same time it is the only women's film festival in the world that hosts a FIPRESCI jury. Ever since it was founded in 1998 the festival's aim is not only to screen movies directed by women but also to promote and support networks of women in the film industry and to honor the achievements of the female cinema community. Hence the ceremonial opening of the 17th edition of the festival in 2014 also included the bestowal of several awards, among them the Bilge Olgaç Achievement Award for producer Zeynep Özbatur Atakan whose latest film Winter Sleep (Kis Uykusu) received the Palm D'Or in Cannes only two weeks later. Two days into the festival a big roundtable on "Women in cinema and gender" brought festival guests of different branches together. FIPRESCI president Alin Tasçiyan lead the heated discussion on the struggles of female filmmaking and the prospects of women's film festivals.
The program of the 17th Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival was composed of 15 sections, screening more than 100 films from all over the world including feature and short films as well as documentaries. The FIPRESCI prize was awarded within the international section "Each Has A Different Color", which included twelve films from various countries including Indonesia, Finland, and Kazakhstan. Alongside this program the festival presented a selection of Turkish movies and a focus on Greek cinema.
Apart from its film-loving spirit the festival stood out for its emphasis on solidarity. The first three movies of the first three days of the event were open to the public without any entrance fee. During the whole festival people bought additional tickets and deposited them at the box office for financially disadvantaged cinephiles who could pick them up to get a free entry. In its final days the festival's solidarity proved to be especially strong when the mining accident in Soma killed more than 300 people and put the whole country into grief and political uproar. Without hesitating the organizers cancelled the final award ceremony to show their sympathy with the victims and their families. Instead of a ceremonial finale of the festival, organizers and a few remaining guests got together to give two awards. The Young Witch Award was given to Ayris Alptekin for her lead acting in The Blue Wave (Mavi Dalga). The FIPRESCI prize went to My Dog Killer (Môj pes Killer) by Mira Fornay. As festival chairwoman Halime Güner kindly asked of her small audience there was no applause. (Sophie Charlotte Rieger)
Ankara – Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival: