Women directors win the top prizes at Istanbul Film Festival

37th International Istanbul Film Festival drew to a close last night with a ceremony held at Rahmi M. Koç Museum. The festival awarded films from the categories of International and National competitions, Human Rights in Cinema, National Documentary and National Short Film competitions, as well as the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize, FIPRESCI International, National, and International Short Film Awards.

International Competition Golden Tulip Award went to German director Valeska Grisebach’s film Western and Vuslat Saracoglu’s film Debt won the Golden Tulip in National Competition. Here is the full list of winners;

International Competition

  • Golden Tulip – Western (Valeska Grisebach)
  • Special Jury Prize – Cocote (Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias) 

Human Rights in Cinema Competition

  • Šerkšnas / Frost (Sharunas Bartas)

“We as the jury have had a great journey watching many films in the human rights section. Although it has been a very difficult task to award a single film in this category; we believe the film we have chosen, captures in great depth human complexity in war circumstances.”

National Competition

  • Golden Tulip – Borç / Debt (Vuslat Saraçoğlu)
  • Best Director – Tayfun Pirselimoğlu (Yol Kenarı / Sideway)
  • Special Jury Prize – In memory of Onat Kutlar: Kelebekler / Butterflies (Tolga Karaçelik)
  • Special Mention: Hewno Bêreng / Colorless Dream (Mehmet Ali Konar)
  • Best ScreenplayÜmit Ünal for Sofra Sırları / Serial Cook
  • Best ActressDemet Evgar in Sofra Sırları / Serial Cook
  • Best Actor ex aequo Tolga Tekin in Kelebekler / Butterflies & Tansu Biçer in Yol Kenarı / Sideway
  • Best CinematographerFlorent Herry for Kaçış / The Escape
  • Best Editing Osman Bayraktaroğlu for Sofra Sırları / Serial Cook
  • Best Original Music – Canset Özge Can for Güvercin / The Pigeon


National Short Film Competition

  • Best Short Film – Sana İnanmıyorum Ama Yerçekimi Var / I Don’t Believe In You But Then There Is Gravity (Umut Subaşı)

“For its challenging crosscutting of multiple narrative layers conveying the absurdities of daily life…”

  • Special Mention – Doğu Yakası / East Side (Harun Durmuş)

“For turning the all too familiar refugee crisis into an original and energetic display of directorial skills…”

National Documentary Competition

  • Best Documentary– Parçalar / Fragments (Rojda Akbayır)

“For achieving a universal and balanced narrative in conveying a personal and exceptionally fragile story in a geographical stage that witnesses recurring social tragedies…”

Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Award

  • Güvercin / The Pigeon (Banu Sıvacı)


  • International Competition The Rider (Chloé Zhao)

“For its touching portrayal of the fragility of masculinity within an aesthetic style which combines realistic storytelling with subtle visual poetry…”

  • National Competition Körfez / The Gulf (Emre Yeksan)

“For the disconcerting narrative approach to the malaise of today’s Turkey and for the originality of its mise-en-scène…”

  • National Short Film Competition Kötü Kız / Wicked Girl (Ayce Kartal)

“For the beautifully sophisticated and uplifting way the director turned unsettling childhood ghosts into an inspiration for his own strong cinematic voice…”

Kind People PR

Photo: IKSV