Antalya Film Festival Lineup Accentuates Refugee Crisis

By Nick Vivarelli

The Antalya Film Festival will open its 54th edition with the world premiere of Turkish-Bosnian co-production “Never Leave Me,” based on a true story about Syrian orphans living in a refugee camp in Turkey. The country now hosts more than 3 million refugees, mostly from war-torn Syria.

Directed by prize-winning Bosnian writer-helmer Aida Begic (“Children of Sarajevo”), “Never Leave Me” (pictured), which will launch out-of-competition, is one of four films in the festival’s official selection that touch on the refugee crisis.

Also world-premiering at the Oct. 21-27 event in the Turkish resort city is Turkish director Andac Haznedaroglu’s “The Guest,” starring Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak as a Syrian named Meryem fleeing from war-torn Aleppo with two children whose parents have perished, and “Ugly Duckling,” a drama that mixes a young woman’s desire to have plastic surgery with the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, directed by first-timer Ender Ozkahraman.

They will compete for prizes alongside Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s global refugee documentary “Human Flow” and screen alongside Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki’s out-of-competition entry “The Other Side of Hope,” in which a Syrian refugee, whose request for asylum in Finland is rejected, strikes an unlikely friendship with a cranky poker-playing Helsinki restaurateur.