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News - MEDIAWAVE Foundation

2007-11-07

DIARY FROM KARS - PASSPORT CONTROL 4. International Film, Photo and Music Workshop


Organised in Kars (East-Turkey) in the framework of the Festival of European Films on Wheels
8-16 November, 2007

You can read here the short daily diary of the workshop realised in the Eastern part of Turkey.

 

8 November, 2007 (Thursday)
GYŐR-VIENNA-ISTANBUL-ERZURUM-KARS

written by Jenő Hartyándi:
As the raw of cities shows we’ll hopefully face an advanturous trip. The members of the group approached the final goal in different ways. Tamás Király and Gravi travelled from Budapest by plane the day before. Virág, Laci Csuja and Gergő Somogyvári arrived by train in 37 hours. Emese joined them in Bucarest. Anna and Anastasia came by ship from Odessa to Istanbul. The Flare Beas Gipsy Music Band left Devecser to the Vienna airport and 7 of us set off from Győr.
Those who came from Budapest – Noémi, Feri Török, Péter Szabó, Dani Béres – spent a night in our house and we tried to get ready for the happenings of the following days with drinking some palinka (Hungarian brandy). After midnight we realised that we had only three ours to sleep and we went to bed in panic. After waking up sleepy we picked up Kacsa (Gábor Deésy) first in his village who filled my car with his size and his fresh smell of garlic thus giving the basic countryside feeling of the trip for those who hadn’t met him before. He started to talk about his palinka and his last year’s experiences in Kars. Before arriving the border, two tiny organisation problem came to light: Kacsa didn’t have his ID and he had his passport with Noemi in the other car. In the meantime it turned out that no members of the Flare Beas brought their IDs and they wanted to cross the border in Sopron. But they couldn’t make it so they headed to Hegyeshalom where we left their passports at the border and we kept our fingers crossed that they catch the plane in Vienna. They did it. We recored their arrival because the movements of the band in the strange world could be the topic of a possible film. What’s more none of them has flown before.
Soon everyone arrived the national airport of Istanbul and we all landed luckily in Erzurum at the airport of which we heard the well-known tunes suddenly. They were the good old friends of Kacsa and me playing authentic Kurdish folk music surprising the others who were amazed by the warm hosting of the East. I was the only one who wasn’t allowed to travel by the mini-bus with the others: I had to travel in Rasim’car. Here I add that it was not the first time for me in the East to be distinguished as a boss, but this time I appreciated it because being Rasim’s friend I had the fortune to travel in his Lada car for 200 kms in 50 degrees accompanied with a strong headache caused by my very high blood pressure, and Mehmet, a cameraman and a huge drum on the back seat.
We arrived and waited for a long time for the bus when Kacsa called me and asked where the hell I was as they had been already eating their dinner in the restaurant. It was too late to discover the city so instead we were talking about our plans for tomorrow in the hall.

 

 

9 November, 2007 (Friday)
KARS
written by Jenő Hartyándi
During breakfast everyone were tasting the unknown foods like cream soup, different cheese and semolina soufflé. Most of us liked them. At 10:00 we went to Namik Kemal’s house which is a cultural centre in a perfect restoration stlye which lacks the European approach of culture in the 50’s. So it was a cool place. In the meantime the members and tutors of the workshop strated to arrive. It was a strange discussion beacuse we didn’t know it previously who we would meet there and what to do with each other. For us we would need local people who know the places and the circumstances there and who could help us with the shootings. It turned out that there were tutors and students who came with film plans but there was only one from Kars.
It was partly a good news because the studenst started to communicate with each other very quickly about changing actors/actresses and how to realise their plans.
On the other hand it was a bit inconvenient because the ’local force’ was missing without who the shootings seemed to be hopeless. After lunch someone came to us and said that there were some local students and we could talk about the film plans. By that time a part of the company went to find locations for the films. But the Király-Gravi duo, Virág and Emese could talk about their requirements and in the meantime new people arrived. Then everythig went above the expectations and Feri came back with the news that they found good locations.
Emese had the idea that she would shoot the film about the symbol of the city, the goose, and she would like to go to a farm in the village. It was easy to arrange this problem and the day after she was promised to be taken there. We heard that there would be a wedding party at night and we could visit it if we want. Of course many of us were enthusiastic even if it coincided that opening ceremony of the festival. I myself chose the wedding party although I had fear concerning the ’urban-being’ of the event but we were lucky. The wedding was a traditional Kurdish party with a little urban taste and with regular order of habits. There was traditional live music which was surprising for me. I knew most of the dances due to my musician friends but I hadn’t seen so many people dancing those dances before. There were 100-150 people in the circle dances, men and women separately and then together. There are some similarities with our weddings like changing wedding rings, bride dance and giving money to the new couple. The difference is that there is no drinking and big dinner but music and dance are more important.
I talked to Basak (festival director) who told me that about 200 festival guests must have stayed in Istanbul and Ankara because the flights weren’t allowed to depart because of the big snow. In spite of this there was a full house at the opening ceremony where the Flare Beas Band played shortly the signal of the festival. I’ll write more about the festival later…
We catched the festival dinner where we ate a lot as it’s usual in the East and in the corner the Flare Beas started to play music which was very much appreciated by the other guests. On the way out they played Basak’s and the mayor’s favourite songs. I have known the mayor of Kars for four years who is a very nice person taking part not only at reresentative events… His example should be followed by the Hungarian mayors as well…
Then we went to the Bolero, the club of the festival. I couldn’t bear the noisy disco music and decided to escape with some people but at the entrance Basak stopped us and said that we must see the culture program. So I had the chance to see for the third time the Caucasus dance group who gave a very virtuose and spectacular show. And then my illness forced me to leave the place.

10 November, 2007 (Saturday)
KARS - KIZILOGLU
written by Jenő Hartyándi
At breakfast they told that at 10:00 a.m. they would screen the film of MEDIAWAVE, the „Dear Days”, which we made last year here in Kars. We must go because we have to answer the questions of the audience. We were surprised to hear this as it was that we leave to the village at 10:00. We must postpone the trip. In the House of Arts we had the chance to see the photo exhibition, EBRU. It is a very strong material! The photos were taken by Attila Durak, and they were taken in the Middle Asian, Turkish and South-European regions in a unique style. For the first sight they could be ethno photos but there is something extra in the pictures: the titles and the theme of the photos suggest an intention showing the unknown small ethnic groups of the world and the cultural diversity.
After the film we talked about the reasons why we made that film. We also mentioned that the Kurdish musicians in the film were real stars in Hungary while they were totally unknownn here so it would be good to pay attention to local values as well. So we provoked the audience a bit so that they say something. Someone asked why we visited only the Kurdish villages after all there were many nations living here. We said that we were kindly hosted there but we were happy to see other places if we were invited. Noone offered us an invitation. We mentioned that we were just about to go to a village to shoot something and we didn’t know which nation lived there. So here they handle this topic quite sensitively.
While waiting for the car, we went to a shop to buy some mineral water. I just mention this thing because there was a horseshoe on the treshold and it brings luck – just like at home.
Then we set off to the village and headed towards Ani, the ancient Armenian city in ruins but on the halfway we turned to an other direction. We saw a canyon with waterfall and a cow carcass which might have been torn by a wolf. We brought the skull with us. The snow became bigger and bigger while we were driving on a road which rather seemed to be a track of a car. I suppose there wasn’t a heavy traffic there… We had learnt that the village has a karapapak population. They are originally from Azerbaijan and settled here from the Northern parts of the Caucasus. They earn their living from agriculture and animal keeping.
We couldn’t start the shootings just ’in medias res’ as Emese thought (her idea was to come here because of the geese) – it’s not the way it is in the East - but we had to drink some tea and talk to the hosts. Fortunately we had a translater, Sevgi, with us, who speak Hungarian very well. She translates Örkény and Attila József into Turkish. Soon we didn’t have enough space in the room because the relatives and friends started to arrive one by one.
Emese sticked to her ideas and wanted to do her job ignoring that these village people were not actors and actresses. We tried to feel alright in the comfort of the East. They said that it was impossible to start killing the goose without eating anything. The lamb had just been ready! Then they strated to bring huge plates and pillows and we strated to eat the wonderful and tasty lamb, the bread similar to our langalló (pancake-like salty bread) and an other type of bread thin like the paper. I admit that we ate too much and we would remember the food for a long time. Then they cut the neck of the goose in the snow outside while more and more people arrived to watch the ’performance’. Of course it was a goose-killing for tourists. I doubt that they did everything as they usually did. Then we went to see the shed and Emese was scared as she thought they would kill a cow, too, and she gave me her camera. There was 20-25 cows inside. I could record some really nice pictures as the lights were really very beautiful. After that they showed us the process how they make that special tipe of ’thread-cheese’ we liked so much. Finally we recorded some funny situations with the goose but at that time it was really dark and we had to go back to Kars.
But by that time my physical condition became worse and worse due to the flue and the high blood pressure (180-200). The day before I ignored my new pills as they really did me bad. I could hardly move but somehow I went to the Bolero to see the first concert of Flare Beas. I wasn’t able to enjoy the concert because of my illness but it was wonderful to see their succes and how they got move the audience. I recorded the concert and the waving crowd and the several famous guests who were dancing. Then I went home and took my pills as I felt terrible.

11 November, 2007 (Sunday)
KARS

written by Jenő Hartyándi
I woke up at 4:00 and I felt terrible. At breakfast I asked Peter and Kacsa to find me a doctor. The festival guests were gathering together to go to Ani, the ancient city in ruins but since I saw it four years ago I decided to get to know the Turkish health care instead. Djingis, a local friend of mine, took me to the hospital.
The reader might think of something terrible at this point, however I got calm because I arrived in the hospital as the guest of the mayor and I had the feeling that I would get a special care. And it happened so. Measuring my blood pressure, which was around 210, they immediately started a process made up of injection, pills under the tongue and infusion. Then they took me to a room with five beds. I was in the best condition among the five patients so seeing this, I started to get better. Sevgi, the interpreter, took care of me, worried about me and entertained me. In the next three hours I knew many things going around me. I wrote an sms to Noemi that I am on the way to be cured.
There were hundreds of visitors coming and going and with the help of Sevgi, I could get the line. There was a woman who said she was there because she just had given up smoking. A man in his 30s was suffering badly as he fell from somewhere very high and he hadn’t gone to see the doctor. I had to wait until my blood pressure went below 140. It took 3 hours and the doctor said that the one who had high blood pressure could be very sick here as Kars situated 1300 m above see level. I remembered a similar case when I was in Tibet in 1998. We suffered terribly there, too, until our body got used to the air above 3500 m.
The doctor said that I could go back to the hotel but suggested me that I should sleep a couple of hours in the afternoon. After dinner I went to Bolero but as the program wasn’t too interesting to me, I went to bed so that I prepare myself for the trip to Sarikamis the other day.
Before that I talked to Feri Török, who said positive things about the shootings tomorrow. Everyone found locations, actors/actresses and local helpers. The shootings on Super8 mm and video will start tomorrow. These are good news as my fears that we would not be able to find Turkish partners had no base. I hope everything will be alright.


12 November, 2007 (Monday)
KARS
written by Jenő Hartyándi
In the morning a part of the group left to Sarikamis. I also felt alright. From those who stayed in Kars, Dani Béres started to shoot on S8 mm and the Király-Gravi duo on video with help of Feri Török.
We had many goals. Virág, Gergő and Laci wanted to get off somewhere on the way. The had seen a strange car wreck some days ago which inspired them to create a story. The Flare Beas band, Kacsa and me were about to visit our musician friends to experience some village life. Péter Szabó and the photographers joined us as well. Emese decided to shoot a film on the gipsy band who had exciting experiences. They showed us some records the day before that they made with their camera and mobile phones. It is so amazing how these gipsy guys discover the world unknown for them and even us, too. They had some really good photos as well. And also they recorded a phantastic video clip in a jewellery shop where the shop assistants offered them seats and tea. They said that at home they immediately call the police when they just appear in the street of a jewellery shop.
We got the information that we couldn’t go to the villages because there was a big snow. We got sad but Rasim arranged an invitation to a house close to Sarikamis. Our musicians came to the yard with playing music and then they started to teach some songs and playing music to the local kids. It was a strange vision in the middle of the mud. With a better camera I could make much better pictures.
I recorded the music the guys played inside. Tibi told me about the differences between the gipsy houses at home and the houses here. It was very interesting.
We were told to hurry as we had to be in the school in Sarikamis because the dance group was waiting for us there. We could hardly reach the school because of the big snow and the kids weren’t able to dance on the yard like last year. They and Rasim’s band had the performance on the corridor. I have to state again that the kids are really very good and folk dance, as a form of entertainment, is much closer to them than in Hungary.
The Flare Beas also played shortly in one of the classrooms. The kids started to fill the room and a big party was about to happen.
But we had to leave soon because the lunch was waiting for us in the Sarikamis Kizil Otel where we had a very delicious big meal. By the end of the lunch Gergő sent us a message that they got a car so they would come here. I forgot to mention that when Gergő and the others wanted to get off in the middle of the wilderness our hosts in the bus got into a panic. They reffered to danger and terrorists and the weather was also windy and freezing cold. Our little group hesitated a bit but finally they dissapeared in the distance. After lunch we had some free time and we went for shopping in Sarikamis. Arriving back, a music band and party tables awaited us. A very nice singer woman sang Turkish and Kurdish songs and our guys participated enthusiastically in the circle dances. Then the Flare Beas band and Rasim’s band played. The latter visited MEDIAWAVE three times and a lot of memorable concerts and parties accompany their name. Rasim surprised us with a 5 year old boy playing the drums showing that their music would survive. The little kid hit the difficult rythms on his drum precisely. Then we said goodbye to Rasim and the orthers and promised each other that we would meet next year. I haven’t met such a sensitive and pure person before. Although we can’t talk to each other I feel him very close to me.
Arriving back to Kars we had to run to the Bolero because Basak wanted to introduce our group to the Turkish stars who just arrived. The band did their best again and they made a huge dancing party. I would like to add here that before the concert everyone had to go to the hospital to bandage up their hands which injured during playing music on cans. The interesting thing was that a police car took us there, which fact for us is quite unbelievable. It would worth to decribe the connection of the festival and the police: it is absolutely positive and so different from ours. Hower, most people in the world have negative images about this area deformed by the media.
By night Dani Béres finished his shootings but Tamás Király wasn’t so successful as the child main character gave it up. So they had to restart the shootings. Tomorrow they will continue and we were asked to be statists in the mass scenes.

13 November, 2007 (Tuesday)
KARS
written by Jenő Hartyándi
Originally our plan was to go back to the villages around Sarikamis but it didn’t make sense because of the snow. Anyway there were some problems with some mass scenes in Tamás Király’s film so the music band and I went to help them to the riverbank close to Kars. We had to fish and beat a wicked murderer which was a big fun five times but we lost our enthusiasm for the tenth time. I did all this barefoot because I lent my shoes to the boy who found a pair of shoes in the film. So I wasn’t able to wear the shoes which became wet in the cold water. I collected some stones here – soon I fill my flat with them…
After lunch Kacsa, Cimbi, Noémi and me went for shopping in the city. We bought some smaller souveniers and ate something in a buffet car. You can eat very tasty and simple food in these cars where the fireplace is right behind the driver’s seat, the other seats are turned and there is a small table in the middle. We were thinking how to bring one to our festival.
We had a workshop meeting at night where we discussed what to show at the closing party. Tamás Király and Gravi will start the edition works at night.
There was a word music band in the Bolero but I was very tired and didn’t see them.
 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TOUR HERE!

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