We had the pleasure to interview producer Nurdan Tümbek after her last shortfilm production, "Twin stars".
"Twin Stars" (İkiz Yıldızlar) was shot in June 2016, directed by Mehmet Tığlı. By August 2016, this film had been selected officially at thirteen international festivals and received 2 awards. Twin Stars is a tale of brotherhood, prejudice and tolerance.
Dr. Nurdan Tekeoğlu, producer, academician in business administration at İstanbul Ticaret University
Born in İstanbul in 1964, Dr. Nurdan Tekeoglu graduated in 1988 from Bosphorus University in sociology and later made her PhD at Marmara University. From then on, she worked in different national and international companies such as Siemens, Garanti Bank, and The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. As head of the representative office at Metro AG, the German Retail Company, from 2002 to 2011, she organized short film competitions for university students. This social responsibility project for Metro AG was organised in partnership with Türsak, a Turkish film foundation. She then fell in love with cinema and produced her husband's first documentary İFAKAT after 3 years of development process. In 2013 Dr. Tekeoğlu produced I LOVED YOU SO MUCH, a feature directed by Orhan Tekeoglu. In 2015 she produced EXTRAORDİNARY PEOPLE and ISLAND OF HIS DREAMS with Evgenia Tirdatova, from Kinoglaz.
Dr. Nurdan Tekeoglu is member of EWA NETWORK, and represents the production company she leads with Orhan Tekeoglu Medya Ton belongs at Seyap (the Film Producer's Association of Turkey). She is also a full time academician teaching marketing at İstanbul Ticaret University and was accepted at the EFA (European Film Academy).
1-Your background is Sociology and Marketing but you have always been interested in Cinema, as you organised film competitions and showcases while you were in college. Where does your interest or passion for this art come from?
Cinema introduces us to new people, cultures and lifestyles. It is impossible to travel to 200 countries to learn about daily lives and problems of the world population, but cinema helps us to get closer and discover things we wouldn't have known about otherwise. When I was working in Metro AG, I was managing the communication department. For 10 years I had been organizing METRO SHORT FILM COMPETITION for the young students at the university in partnership with an NGO, TÜRSAK .We were sending the winner to NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY and if she or he could not speak any foreign language we would finance the English courses for her or him for 1 year. At the same time we were the main sponsors of ANTALYA FILM FESTIVAL for 2 years, and from time to time we would sponsor film directors like Nedim Hazar. During this time Cinema played an important role in my life, and I started to get more directly involved when my husband Orhan Tekeoglu, an ex-journalist, wanted to make his first documentary called İFAKAT (the fight of Eastern Blacksea women against nature on high mountains when dealing with agriculture).
İFAKAT won TRT (Turkish State TVchannel) award and then we continued to make films.The first feature I LOVED YOU SO MUCH was selected at Moscow Film Festival, EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE was selected at 64.TRENTO FILM FESTIVAL and 365 PROGRAM, RUDOLF NUREYEV:ISLAND OF HIS DREAMS with Evgenia Tirdatova was selected at St.Petersburg Film Festival and received the main prize of WINDOW TO EUROPE.
That time when we were shooting and raising financing was painful, and nobody helped me in the beginning. I lost my health. But then I had the chance to work with another director, my professor from my PhD time, Mehmet Tigli, who had won script awards in Turkey, loves cinema and was dying to make a film. He sent me some of his scripts and I chose TWIN STARS. With the help of FONGOGO, a crowdfunding company, we found the financial resources and shot the film. Some of my films are dealing with social issues, therefore reflecting my sociology background and they're mostly about women.
2-"Twin stars" has an impressive record on festivals in just one month. The film is a tale of brotherhood, prejudice and tolerance. Why do you think it has been so successful, particularly in the US?
The USA has strong NGOs with good budgets to work against prejudices to LGBT people, violence against women and minorities' rights. That's why they were interested in this film. You have to read what MEHMET TIGLI has written about his film:
“In this short film, no matter how far apart they may fall from each other, stars embody the feeling of brotherhood. The twin stars, from which is drawn the zodiac sign Gemini, are called after Zeus' sons names Castor and Pollux, both shining with the same brightness. These stars are represented as Can and Cihan in our story. This film is in fact a tale of brotherhood, prejudice and tolerance, and at the same time a text of apology to all those beings that we otherize because they are not like us. The twins that had to be separated from one another due to a fairly tragic act of violence their mother had gone through, get together after many years, settle accounts with each other and find out that they cannot actually stay apart, unlike what has been previously thought.”
3- Do you think it will be as well received in your home country, Turkey?
Turkey is a very conservative country and the majority is not tolerant towards different lifestyles. Besides, violence against women has its record track here, as you know. Everyday we read news about murder or violence of men against women, although we have strong laws to forbid the crime. We sent the film to Turkish film festivals and we will get the feedback in a few months, I will inform you about the comments.
4- Is there any film or event that has been an inspiration in the process of making "Twin Stars"?
The film is authentic and has some reflections from the life of the director MEHMET TIGLI.
5- You partially financed the film through a crowdfunding campaign, how has it been? Did you manage it personally or hire someone? How's the relation with the film supporters?
Mehmet Tıgli, the director, has been a professor for a long time. Many of his grad students truly love him and supported the campaign, and so did I with my business network. Together we succeeded into collecting money. We have a very positive relation with our supporters and inform them about the developments all the time. Facebook helped us a lot in informing our network about the campaign. Mehmet and I are actually thinking of writing an article about the crowdfunding process of TWIN STARS.