Reading and Watching Films are Integral Parts of My Life: Dir. Cemil Agacikoglu

Director Cemil Agacikoglu (Instagram: @cemil_agacikoglu), born in İstanbul in 1959, is an İstanbul based Photographer and Director. Between 1995 and 2008, Cemil Agacikoglu had 8 private photography exhibitions of which 3 of them published as a photobook and participated in many exhibitions around the world. With a strong artistic and technical background, Cemil moved to cinema and completed his feature film debut Eylül (September) in 2010. Ms. Divya Jay (Facebook: @djwritings) of Team 21st CIFF chats up with him to understand how he developed interest in world cinema and how watching films is an integral part of his life!


What motivated you to take up filmmaking?

I conveyed my troubles through photos for many years. I thought I could express myself better through cinema.

How did ‘THE REEDS’ happen?

Many years ago, I had taken photographs in the same locations and shared them through an exhibition. Years later, I wanted to reuse the same locations. I crafted a screenplay tailored to the familiar geography I knew so well.

Your most liked filmmakers?

Yasujiro ozu – Tokyo Story and Andrei Tarkovsky – Andrei Rublev

What makes you like the filmmakers so much?

Sensations of reality and tranquility

Would you stick to just one department of work?

I am a professional photographer with a passion for art that began in my youth.

Can the writer and director be different people?

Of course, it’s possible, but I prefer not to.

Tell us about your journey as a filmmaker.

Having started with painting at a young age and later transitioning to photography, I have always been involved in the industry. I directed music videos for rock bands. Currently, I exclusively shoot films based on the screenplays I write.

Is it important to have a degree in filmmaking to become a director?

I got admitted to the Fine Arts Department of the university and pursued it for a brief period. Unfortunately, due to political events in the country, I had to discontinue my studies. I believe that one doesn’t necessarily need a diploma to become a director; life’s experiences are sufficient. However, delving into the study of cinema on top of that wouldn’t hurt.

How did you learn about world cinema?

Reading and watching films are integral parts of my life. I analyze the movies I watch, and over time, you become acquainted with directors from different regions, bearing witness to their unique worlds. It’s a highly valuable journey.

How’s making a short different from a feature?

I don’t see much difference. The actors, the team, and the equipment are the same; only the duration and content vary.

How’s the cinema industry in Turkey?

Turkey has gained valuable directors in recent years. However, I observe that Turkish cinema has, in parallel with world cinema, shifted towards political and populist themes. It’s disheartening to see a decrease in creative films with each passing day.

Your thoughts on ‘THE REEDS’ being shown at 21st CIFF?

I am very happy. I wish I could have had the opportunity to meet you all.

Movies from which country helped you during your journey?

Russian, Eastern European, and South American cinema.