We all know about Kivanc Tatlitug’s Netflix project Bir Denizalti Hikayesi (A Submarine Story) which is anticipated to be released later this year, but he also has another interesting project in the hopper. It has been confirmed that Kivanc will also star in a movie, adapted from Kemal Varol’s novel Aşıklar Bayramı (Festival of Lovers) the winner of the 2020 Attila Ilhan Novel Award and the World Book Copyright Book of the Year in 2019.
The movie which will be produced by Nar Film is expected to begin filming in September on the outskirts of Istanbul. In Festival of Lovers, Kemal Varol tells of the difficult journey to Kars, of Heves Ali, a saz lover, and his lawyer son, Yusuf whom he had not seen for 25 years.
The movie will feature veteran actor Settar Tanrıöğen (Kuzgun) as father (Heves Ali) to Kivanc’s character (Yusuf), and will be directed by award-winning director Özcan Alper (Gelecek Uzun Surer).
Festival of Lovers
The novel Festival of Lovers on which the movie is based, is about fragile masculinities, internal conflicts and the reckonings of a touching father-son relationship. If the movie is anything like the book, we’re in for a real treat! Here is an excerpt and a synopsis of the book.
Exactly twenty-five years later, my father was waiting for me, kneeling in front of my door, with his aged three-string in one hand and his wooden suitcase in the other, like an embarrassed guest who appeared suddenly at night, or a former creditor who had come to clear his debt from time gone by.
“First of all, this is a novel about a father-son reckoning… A showdown in which resentment, anger, guilt and the desire to expel someone from your life clash with not being able to let them go. The hero of the novel, a lawyer, has the feeling that “Like every son, I was defeated by my father from the very beginning, no matter how I resisted”. There is also a broken love story haunting the man who is trying to solve his issues with his father. Or, two love stories?
The novel is also the story of a road trip. A road trip in the literal sense… We travel from Diyarbakir to Kars. Long distances, rest stops, police searches, controls, desolate country corners… hometown hospitals of the homeland…
And it is also a road trip through memory. A journey that extends to the nooks and crannies of the mind and the vestibules of consciousness. A trip to the enigmatic relationships of the saz lover father, anxiously awaited by his students and admirers in every mansion, and the women in his youth … That’s the real long road…
Its readers will sense that this journey has also visited Kemal Varol’s previous works. Asiklar Bayrami is a sorrowful song…”
About the author
Kemal Varol was born in Diyarbakır turkey in 1977. He began his literary career as a poet, publishing the poetry collections, Yas Yüzükleri, Kin Divanı, Temmuzun On Sekizi, and Bakiye. Later he published the short story collections Demiryolu Öyküleri and Memleket Garları, followed by his novels Jar (2011), Haw (2014) and Ucunda Ölüm Var (2016). His newest work is a short-story collection entitled Sahiden Hikâye. His novel Haw”(English: “Wûf”) received the Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize, the Bursa Contemporary Journalists’ Association 2015 Peace Prize, and the 2017 PEN/HEIM Translation Fund Grant. The same work was named the best novel of 2014 by Sabit Fikir magazine and among the top five novels of 2000–2015 by Milliyet Sanat Dergisi.
Here is Kemal’s description of his motivation as a writer:
I was born in 1977 in a small town that I have often chosen as a literary setting for my stories and novels. I am the youngest of eight children. My mother didn’t know any Turkish, but my father knew a bit. He worked repairing railroad lines, a job in which he wouldn’t need Turkish. My mother and father were both very literate in oral culture. My childhood was spent in a fairytale world with the help of the dozens of Kurdish stories they told and the dengbêj, a traditional musical storyteller that is unique to Kurdish culture. My dad was a good storyteller, and my older brothers were interested in literature. In this respect, you could say I was a lucky kid. Later I became acquainted with modern literature through my brothers’ guidance. Later I also discovered the town library. My whole childhood and adolescence were spent madly desiring to read everything I could find in that library. Though I always preferred novels, I wanted to start my writing career as a poet. All the way until my early thirties, I was known as a poet. After publishing three books of poetry, I felt that poems were not enough to write about what I wanted and I needed other literary forms. I’m a writer with things I want to say—both personally and socially. I never attributed any divine significance to one literary form over another. So, for me, it’s just about getting out what you need to say through writing. I was also always troubled by being an exophonic writer, that is, someone who writes in a language other than their native one. So, I made a life for myself out of writing.
About the director
Özcan Alper born in 1975, is a Turkish film director and screenwriter of Hemshin descent. He studied at Trabzon Lisesi and in 1992, he moved to Istanbul to study at Istanbul University Engineering Faculty in the Physics Department. He then moved to Istanbul University Literature Faculty where he studied History of Sciences and graduated in 2003.
Since 1996, Alper has been interested in films and has taken part in workshops organized by Mezopotamya Culture Center, the Nâzım Culture House (now renamed Nâzım Hikmet Culture Center). Beginning in 2000 he started assisting in films under the supervision of film director Yeşim Ustaoğlu.
After working as assistant director on the short film Toprak, he directed his first short film Momi and filmed the documentary Tokai City’de Melankoli ve Rapsodi in Japan. He filmed his second documentary entitled Bir Bilimadamıyla Zaman Enleminde Yolculuk shortly thereafter.
In 2008, Alper released his first long feature Sonbahar (Autumn) winning multiple awards as a newcomer. He followed that with another critically acclaimed film Gelecek Uzun Sürer (The Future Lasts Forever) that has also won awards.
About Settar Tanrıöğen (Heves Ali)
Settar Tanrıöğen was born July 15, 1962 in Denizli Turkey. You might remember him as the mysterious Dervis in Kuzgun or as the village elder in the Netflix series Ethos. Tanriogen is a saz (baglama) aficionado and has played the three stringed instrument since childhood. Scroll down to watch a clip of Tanriogen accompanying Neşet Ertaş with his baglama in Vavien.
A modern day dervish of sorts, Tanriogen is rarely in the tabloids because he has chosen to live far away from the limelight in his garden with his chickens.
About Nar Film
Nar Film was established in 2009. In the same year Nar Film incorporated Özcan Alper’s award-winning, first feature film Autumn which has screened all around the world in international film festivals. The company has produced various corporate documentaries, commercial films and long featured cinema films.
Later projects of Nar Film include The Future Lasts Forever and Memories of the Wind, both directed by Özcan Alper. Nar Film has also produced Saroyanland directed by Lusin Dink and My Father’s Wings directed by Kivanç Sezer. Nars film productions have been screened at, and awarded by, prestigious international festivals such as Locarno IFF, Toronto IFF and Karlovy Vary IFF.
Since 2015, Nar Film has been bringing together young and talented scriptwriters under its Narrative Writing Group who have been working on feature films and TV series projects.
The company continues to work on upcoming projects by Ozcan Alper, Lusin Dink and Kıvanç Sezer.
Nar Film has co-produced various projects with significant success in world-wide festivals since its establishment and continues its effort to bring visibility to Turkish cinema.