Yunus Emre Institute is bringing the latest award-winning Turkish films to the historic Regent Street Cinema in downtown London for a second time after organizing the 1st Turkish Film Week back in January 2018. The opening ceremony of the 2nd London Turkish Film Week was held at Regent Street Cinema on March 22 with the attendance of journalists, academics, critics, actors and actresses, when Türk İşi Dondurma (Turkish Ice Cream), directed by Can Ulkay, made its European debut. 11 feature films, short films, and documentaries will be screened and interviews will be held during the film week between April 24 and 30, 2019.
The first panel discussion of the week was on the Turkish soaps and held SOAS University of London in the evening of April 25. Moderated by Dr. İdil Osman, from SOAS University of London, the panel was attended by famous actress Perihan Savaş, rising talent and actor Emre Kızılırmak, Esra Bilgiç Töre, known to the moviegoers as Halime Sultan of the Turkish soap "Diriliş Ertuğrul," and British broadcaster and journalist Lauren Booth.
İdil Osman started the panel by asking the reason for the increased popularity of Turkish soaps in recent years. Bilgiç Töre argued that Turkish soaps were successful in conveying their sincerity and realism to the audience while Kızılırmak suggested the developing technology and associated improvements in Turkish film-making sector can account for this success. At this point, Savaş draw attention to the success of Turkish soaps in correctly portraying the Turkish family and neighborhood culture, noting that art is the only way to promote our culture around the globe.
The panelists also expressed their views on the effect of popularity linked to soaps on the career of actors and actresses and the reason why certain soaps are more popular than others, and they were accompanied by Lauren Booth with her witty comments. Noting that she was a fan of "Diriliş Ertuğrul," Booth indicated that she was excited to see the rapid progress Turkish broadcasting was making.
Savaş stated that she would soon return to the cinema although soaps were more effective in reaching out to more people. She maintained that the soap-induced popularity was temporary while cinema actors and actresses were more permanent in the eyes of the audience.
Kızılırmak pointed out that he would use the fame from the soaps for his future work, hinting at the new projects he would undertake as a producer in near future.
Töre indicated that her four-year experience in "Diriliş Ertuğrul" was precious and she continued to receive training on acting. She noted that horse riding, wearing the period's clothes and doing research about the period were what she missed about the soap.
In the second part of the panel, the panelists answered questions from the audience.