A THREE-STAGE PROJECT
We have designed our project, inspired by the painter Mihri, into three stages. The independent feature documentary for the cinema entitled Who is Mihri will feature interviews with experts and contemporary artists of different generations who will shed light on Mihri’s works, life and the period that she lived.
The transmedia project will present the in-depth interviews on the subjects such as Mihri’s life and works, women and arts, gender and history writing, gender and urban life. Internet’s interactivity notion will enable viewers from all over the world to contribute the discussions.
Final step will be a feature length fiction film with the working title Mihri on the Road…
As Mihri wrote in one of her letters; “The road of an artist lengthens with each step they take”.
In our documentary, we consider her difficult walk as an ongoing challenge. Our aim is for society to give her pioneering work and her memory the appreciation it deserves both in her homeland and abroad, and our message to the women of today is “Exploit your talent and realize your true potential”.
ABOUT THE FILM
The documentary, Who is Mihri, will tell the story of a painter woman. She was from Istanbul and was not constrained by the rigid roles assigned to her kind by the society at all. A 19th century born woman who thrived on her talent rather than wasting it away, a woman who stood up for equality in Fine Arts education, a woman who was carried away by love…
We are filming our documentary in Istanbul, Rome, Paris and New York, and doing interviews with art historians, feminist historians, urban anthropologists, artists from different generations and residents of today’s Bomonti, the one time home of Mihri in Istanbul. Our question is; “Who is Mihri?”
MIHRI COMING BACK TO LIFE...
Some parts of the film will be fully animated, to reflect the core dynamics of Mihri’s life as a woman and as an artist. Our documentary will be enhanced with animation.
APPROACH OF THE FILM
The film’s cinematic and intellectual approach refers to Linda Nochlin’s article Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?, Joseph Campbell’s views in Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine and Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Nochlin’s definition of rebellious female artist who challenged the canon and Campbell’s ascertain of contamporary woman going through an individual quest without a mythical model intersect in Mihri’s life. As Campbell puts it very clearly, we are in need of new myths and they’re being made at this very moment.
Moreover, there is the issue of the gaze…
Laura Mulvey claims the owner of the gaze is dominantly male in classical cinema narrative which craves pleasure and women on the screen are subjects of this gaze. Actually, this holds true for fine arts as well. Almost all of the females in art history are on canvas not behind it. Female artists’ names are rarely seen in art history books even though they did exist in history.
Mihri’s life as a painter challenged the firmly-established norms as she insisted to own her gaze. Mihri definitely deserves her name, her life story and her art to be internationally recognized today which would empower young women both in the East and the West. In the film Who is Mihri she will be the inspiring protagonist who the audience will be encouraged to identify with.
The truth is men and women make history together. Therefore women’s stories and achievements need to be included to our collective memory, history telling and cinema films. Hence the polarized people of today might as well find the opportunity in Who is Mihri to realign with a full-fledged narrative, which embraces the “East” and the “West” as well as feminine and masculine qualities of our human nature.
The film might as well instigate further local and international academic research on this historic figure, and eventually, the registration of her lost paintings. Mihri’s art and her life choices can be controversial; yet to criticize, first we need to know: Who is Mihri?
Who is Mihri feature documentary film project won the award of 10,000 Euros, at the Antalya Film Forum Documentary Pitching Platform of the 53rd International Antalya Film Festival in 2016.
Who is Mihri feature documentary film project was selected for 9th Animasyros International Film Festival + Agora as “the project of the year” in 2016. The Agora section of the festival was dedicated to Who is Mihri and we had the opportunity to make a pitch before the European producers, studio owners, animators and cinema professionals, and receive valuable feedback.
Who is Mihri short documentary film project was a finalist at the 14th IF Istanbul A Creative Production Workshop and Pitching Platform in 2015
Mihri on the Road feature film project was awarded First Prize at the 18th Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival Script and Project Developing Workshop/Award in 2015