Turkish director Burak Cem Arliel shares more on tragic war film, “Crimean”

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When and why did you first start writing and directing films?

After long years working as a director for advertising, I was offered to be a part of a documentary film project “Turkish Passport”. This movie changed my life as a person and my career as a director. The miracle in making movies is taking a feeling as a sentence and creating a whole life story out of it, in which the spectators experience the unexperienced; in which they become someone else.  This is what I found most fascinating and inspiring as a director.

Had you previously read Dağci’s novel? What was the most important element from the original story that you wanted to bring to the film?

Yes, I read two of his novels. The most important element was the main character’s strength in his struggles for his country and family, risking his life without any regression. The story was a true one, and that moved me to be a part of it. Also, to be honest, directing such a hard project helps me to prove my career as a director.


What particularly moved you to take on this project? How has your heritage and cultural identity influenced your filmmaking career and creative process?

My personal point of view as a director is objective. Making a movie, whether its historical or documentary, you have to catch the universal feeling of the story. So besides the research I did for the movies before I start shooting, the actual feelings I want my work to evoke shapes my creative process more than anything.


Many scenes are dark, heavy, and filled with suffering. What were the hardest scenes to film, and what did you personally find was the hardest part about making Crimean?

The story was really hard and unique in essence. Crimean was the story of a man and a nation stuck in between two world leading powers of war, Germany and Russia… They had to take a side to survive, yet none of the sides or the war itself served Crimea’s independence. The war they were obliged to fight was a burden for them. That is why it is dark, heavy and filled with suffering. The hardest scenes to film were the war scenes. Picturing the main character’s inner war with himself, along with the real war against his enemies as an indivisible whole, was the hardest part of Crimean for me.

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