Interview with Zeynep Atakan

Alexia Muiños Ruiz
Alexia Muiños Ruiz

During past Cannes Film Festival, we had the opportunity to talk to award-winning producer Zeynep Atakan.

Zeynep Özbatur Atakan started working in advertisement industry before transitioning to film industry. In 2007, she founded her production company ZeynoFilm and produced internationally acclaimed films. She’s a member of the European Film Academy, chairwoman of SE-YAP, the Turkish Movie Producers Professional Association since 2011, and Vice -President of EWA Network.

After producing the 1st Turkish film shortlisted ever for the oscars in 2008 and receiving the Palm d’Or in 2014, what is a challenge for you now?

Thank you for the question, I must confess I love my job, I’ve been working with Nuri Bilge Ceylan for 13 years, he did very good works and the new challenge is...well, we’re actually in postproduction of a new project, a co-production between seven countries, and it’s a new experience and adventure for us.

As founder of the Antalya Film Forum, which is a co-production and project development market and launching the training scheme for young producers, Yapimlab Workshops; you clearly believe in the power of mentoring. Did you have any role model or mentor when you were starting?

The production schemes are very important for Cinema industry; in Turkey we have plenty of good stories but we need more producers, therefore I founded the co-production market Antalya Film Forum 3 years ago of which I’m also the director. It’s a bridge to connect Turkish filmmakers with the international industry, letting them work on international projects.

On the other hand, mentoring is very in our job, I try to help young producers as a guide or mentor. I research every detail in the film industry and learn new technology, digital improvements

What would you advise to young women producers who ambition a film career?

My advice to young producers, to learn new methods of production, to attend festivals and network, keep on learning constantly. They have to be brave and get films done, starting by shortfilms and then, feature films.