The Vancouver Turkish Film Festival ran from November 17th to 20th in 2022. It featured an opening gala reception, film screenings and a panel discussion.
Films at the festival are in Turkish, but with English subtitles, so they can be enjoyed by everyone. The films are for audiences who are ages 19 and older. Events like the opening gala and panel discussion are all in English.
In 2022 the ninth annual edition of the festival was presented by the Turkish Canadian Society and SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs. Exact dates for the 2023 festival are still to be confirmed.
For the event’s official website, visit vtff.ca.
The Ninth Annual Vancouver Turkish Film Festival
The Vancouver Turkish Film Festival has been running for nine years. At the festival in 2022 there was an opening gala reception and film screening at the VIFF Centre (which was formerly known as the Vancity Theatre). There were also film screenings and a panel discussion at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
When and Where
In 2022 festival events took place on the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of November 17th, 19th and 20th.
On the Thursday, the Opening Gala Reception took place at the VIFF Centre at 1181 Seymour Street. There was also a film screening that night. Incidentally, the VIFF Centre is also home to the Vancouver International Film Festival (which is why it has the VIFF name).
On the Saturday and Sunday of November 19th and 20th there were both feature and short film screenings at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. That venue’s address is 149 West Hastings Street (which is just a few blocks from Gastown).
Below are more details about the happenings on each day of the festival.
Thursday Night Opening Gala Reception
On November 17th there was the Opening Gala Reception and Film Screening. This took place at the Vancity Theatre (or VIFF Centre) and started at 6:00 pm. The gala was a fancy affair and included a bar, a toast and Turkish food.
At the opening reception event there was also the screening of the film Love, Deutschmarks and Death by Cem Kaya. It’s an “essay documentary” which means it is like a documentary, but combines fact with fiction. The film looks at the cultural and musical history of Turkish “guest workers” in Germany since the early 1960s. Touching on the themes of racism and xenophobia, the film marked the 60th anniversary of Germany’s recruitment of workers from Turkey.
The film was followed by a live Q&A session with the director, Cem Kaya.
Catering for the cocktail reception was with the company Lokanta Vancouver and tickets started at about $55. The gala began at 6:00 pm and the film started at 8:30 pm.
For the festival’s official website, visit vtff.ca.
Saturday Panel Discussion
A discussion panel event happened on Saturday, November 19th, at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Its title was “OnScreen and UnSeen: Representation and Identities In Flux.” This was a free event and ran from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm.
For the past number of years, the Vancouver Turkish Film Festival has hosted panel discussions on political discourse related to its films. 2022 was no exception. That year the discussion was about how personal and cultural identities are represented in film and how quickly they change because of digital platforms in our globalized and hypermediated world.
The same as in previous years, the panelists in 2022 came from diverse backgrounds and presented a variety of views. They included experts from the Turkish, European and Canadian film industries. The moderator was a professor at Simon Fraser University.
The panel discussion was a free event open to the public. Due to space limitations, advanced registration was recommended.
Saturday & Sunday Film Screenings
A number of films were shown on the Saturday and Sunday of November 19th and 20th. They included Zuhal, The List of Those Who Love Me, Burning Days, Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush, You Me Lenin and Snow & the Bear.
You could also get a Festival Pass for around $50 which was good for all the films on November 19th and 20th. Admission to the Opening Gala Reception on the 17th, however, was not included with the Festival Pass.
See below for details about the various feature films that were shown.
Films on Saturday, November 19th, 2022
Films on the Saturday included Zuhal (at 12:00 pm), The List of Those Who Love Me (at 4:30 pm) and Burning Days (at 7:00 pm). The above-mentioned Panel Discussion also took place on the Saturday (at 2:00 pm). Events on this day took place at the SFU Woodwards Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at 149 West Hastings Street.
Zuhal (at 12:00 pm)
This 2021 88-minute film is about a woman (Zuhal), the mysterious meowing of a cat in her apartment building that only she can hear, and the evolving relationship between the woman and her neighbours. The same as with all the other films at the festival, Zuhal is in Turkish with English subtitles and it’s suitable for adults ages 19+.
The List of Those Who Love Me (at 4:30 pm)
This 90-minute drama is about a drug dealer, Yılmaz, whose customers include artists, actors and other celebrities in an upscale district in the Turkish city of Istanbul. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the protagonist to procure his drug supply because of the police. His clients are his friends and he is desperate for their love and acceptance. Consequently, he takes increasingly greater risks, much to his peril.
This films is also in Turkish with English subtitles and suitable for just adults ages 19+.
Burning Days (at 7:00 pm)
This 2022 film is about a young prosecutor, Emre, who is new to a small town suffering from a water crisis and political scandals. This film runs for two hours and ten minutes in Turkish with English subtitles.
For tickets and the festival’s official website, visit vtff.ca.
Films on Sunday, November 20th, 2022
Films on the Sunday included a series of short films (at 11:45 pm), Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George Bush (at 2:30 pm), You Me Lenin (at 5:00 pm) and Snow & the Bear (at 7:00 pm). The same as the films the day before, that day’s shows all happened at the SFU Woodwards Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at 149 West Hastings Street.
Short Films (at 11:45 am)
In addition to the various feature films, VIFF also presented a selection of eight short films that had been previously been screened at prestigious film festivals in Turkey. The short films included a variety of genres, styles and subject matter including social, political, LGBTQ+ and ethnic issues.
Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush (2:30 pm)
This 2022 film is about the true story of a Turkish woman living in Germany and her fight to get her son released from America’s notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The story follows her and her human rights lawyer from her home in Bremen, Germany, all the way to the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The lawyer is serious and patient. The woman is impatient, temperamental and humorous.
This two-hour film is in Turkish, German and English, but with English subtitles. The same as the other films, it’s for adults ages 19+.
You Me Lenin (5:00 pm)
This 86-minute 2021 film begins with a wooden statue of Russian communist leader Lenin washing up on the shore of a Turkish fishing town by the Black Sea. The film follows the arrival, display and mysterious disappearance of the statue, and the subsequent investigations by the police and government officials. Expect a bit of black humour and lots of eccentric town folks in the story.
Snow & the Bear (7:00 pm)
This last film of the season takes place in the middle of winter. The story is about a young nurse named Asl in a small, remote town where it is believed that bears have been preying on livestock. A person has also gone missing!
The same as with the other films, the language in this one is also Turkish but with English subtitles.
To learn more about the festival and its films visit the Vancouver Turkish Film Festival website.
Other similar events that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver International Film Festival (in mid-autumn)
- South African Film Festival (in spring)
- DOXA Documentary Film Festival (in spring)
- Vancouver Horror Show Film Festival (in October or November)
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Turkish Festival
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- History & Culture in Vancouver
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities
- Vancouver’s November Calendar of Events