Winners receive awards from the first Golden Island International Film Festival


On Thursday night, winning filmmakers in the Cypriot strand of the very first Golden Island International Film Festival (GIIFF) were presented with their awards at the Closing Gala held at Le Chateau Lambousa in Kyrenia, North Cyprus. Following selection by jury, the directors of the Best Documentary and Best Short Film screened at GIIFF 2014, along with the two Best Newcomers were each presented their prize of €2,000 by Creditwest Bank, the Festival’s main sponsor. The Festival closed with the screening of the winning films along with a film created by young British and Cypriot filmmakers who worked together as part of the Erasmus Plus project during the Festival.DSC_0019

GIIFF director Yeşim Güzelpınar started her speech with comments made to her by Oscar award-winning producer and director Peter Fudakowski, who was in Cyprus for the GIIFF screening of his latest film Secret Sharer. Fudakowski said: “Cyprus deserves to be recognised with its beautiful landscape, cultural heritage, and potential for economic growth and tourism.”

Güzelpınar continued, “When we decided to set up the festival we set certain targets. We wanted to open the doors for Northern Cyprus to the worldwide film industry, bring some great films to audiences here, provide [ethnic] minorities with screenings from their homeland, and to play a role in inspiring Cypriot directors…to produce new quality work and attract the attention of international film festivals.”

As part of its commitment to supporting local filmmakers, GIIFF held a competition for shorts and documentaries in the Cyprus strand. Overseen by two separate juries, prizes of €2,000 were awarded to the Best Film and Best Newcomer in each category. The following winners were presented their prizes by Creditwest Bank’s CEO Dr. Süleyman Erol and Executive Vice-President Mazher Zaheer:DSC_0007

  •  BEST GIIFF 2014 DOCUMENTARY: Borderless!, directed by Ahmet Albakri
  •  BEST GIIFF 2014 SHORT FILM: Brink, directed by Fardad Mottarjemi Khodadad and Kürşat Sekmen
  •  BEST GIIFF 2014 NEWCOMER: Evolution directed by Arınç Arısoy
  •  BEST GIIFF 2014 NEWCOMER: The Olive Tree at The Border, directed by Sholeh Zahraei and Kamil Saldun

The Closing Gala also screened the collaborative works of young Cypriot and Film Beyond Borders/ Erasmus Plus project participants, where they shot, edited and presented a 20-minute film they had made in Cyprus. The initiative was funded by Erasmus Plus, which enabled 25 people from Britain to travel to North Cyprus to take part in the project and to gain valuable work experience as volunteers at GIIFF.

Over 65 features, documentaries and shorts were screened in eight venues across North Cyprus and the UN Buffer Zone, along with director-led Q & A’s throughout the week-long inaugural Golden Island International Film Festival, which closed on 13 November. Among the films selected for this year’s GIIFF programme were several that have been put forward for the 2015 Oscar Academy Awards, including Nihat Seven’s Uzun Yol (Long Road), nominated by BAFTA, with documentary Plot for Peace another contender for next year’s Oscars.DSC_0010

While drawing attention to the high-calibre of films selected for GIIFF 2014, Güzelpınar also thanked the Festival’s sponsors, organising team and filmmakers. She ended her speech by stating, “During our first year we experienced many amazing things, but also some difficulties and problems. As the GIIFF team, we have learnt from our experience and we will work on creating an even better Festival for next year. We firmly believe that through cinema, you can realise your dreams.”

About the Golden Island International Film Festival,
The film festival is organised jointly by UK-based Balik Arts and the Golden Island Culture and Arts Association in Cyprus and its two patrons are Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece OBE and actor Tamer Hassan. GIIFF is backed by a number of partners: the Independent Film Trust, Raindance Film Festival, the University of East Anglia (Film Dept), the Home for Co-operation (Cyprus), Movies that Matter, the Turkish Cypriot Community Association (UK), Detmold International Short Film Festival, Datça International Short Film Festival and Youth Power (Cyprus). The festival’s main sponsor is Creditwest Bank and is co-sponsored byGirne American University. Its official media partners are BRTK and Cyprus newspaper and communication sponsor is North Cyprus Turkcell.

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