Anatolian Trip

Anadolu Turnesi

- TURKEY / 2018 / Turkish, English / B&W / DCP / 114 min

Directors: Deniz Tortum, Can Eskinazi
Photography: Deniz Tortum
Editing: Can Eskinazi, Deniz Tortum
Music: Venus Music Peace Band
Sound Design: Cenker Kökten
Executive Producer: Cem Celal Bilge
Producers: Aslı Erdem, Deniz Tortum
Production Companies: Beatrice Films, Venus Works
Distribution Company (Asia-Pacific Region): Tarantula   www.trntl.net
World Sales: Beatrice Films   www.beatricefilms.com

The year is 2014, just before the presidential election, and a young jam band called the Venus Music Peace Band embarks on a road trip, leaving Istanbul to tour around Anatolia. Conversations with the travelers and locals they encounter in their downtime flow freely between performances, ranging from talk of the political moment, to issues surrounding ethnicity and class politics. Travelling in the improvisatory spirit of their music, rolling from one local encounter to the next—through generational and regional differences and varying political views, through music and travel, about a band and an audience that’s not used to the kind of music they play.

[Director’s Statement] Before starting this journey, we were of course aware of the peculiarity of hitting the road with an old Volkswagen loaded with equipment and without a real plan just before the upcoming elections in Turkey. What drew us to this project was exactly this element of peculiarity and irrational decision-making. The soul and justification of this film relied on the desire of being on the road and shooting without knowing or thinking about the end result. Anatolian Trip is not just about a music band and their tour, but with a fragmented structure, we intend to provide a subjective and incomplete portrait of Turkey at a very specific time in history, the summer of 2014.

Anatolian Trip is a film that uses various cinematic tools. It borrows from cinéma vérité, music videos, talking-head documentaries, mockumentary, experimental cinema and uses them in a self-conscious and playful manner to create a sense of joyful irony. The technical format of the film is black-and-white, with a non-conventional aspect ratio of 1.66. With this choice of format, we would like to put a distance between the film and our current context as much as possible. We would like our film to provide a different look at our present, regardless of time or context. While editing, we found it important to think about how audiences will perceive this film in thirty to forty years. We have been wondering how it would be possible to create some kind of a historical document that is both strange (hence interesting) and familiar.

Deniz Tortum

Born Istanbul, 1989. Works in film and new media. His work has screened internationally, including at the Venice Film Festival, SXSW, Sheffield, True/False and Dokufest. He has worked as a research assistant at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where he focused on virtual reality. In 2017–2018, he was a fellow at the Harvard Film Study Center, working on Phases of Matter, which is currently in post-production.

Can Eskinazi

Born zmir, 1986. Studied Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College. His short films and videos include Summer Night Sky (2014, Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival), and Sober Nights (2015, finalist at SIYAD, the Turkish Film Critics Association Awards). His writing has appeared in Film Comment and Altyazı Monthly Film Journal. He is a filmmaker and editor, living and working in Istanbul.