Film

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 Kim Mihri (Who is Mihri) is the first part of this Project. Second stage is an archive of videos with subtitles that present the in-depth interviews with experts on the subjects such as Mihri’s life and works, women and arts, gender and history writing, gender and urban life. Final step will be a feature length fiction film with the working title Mihri on the Road

POSTERS

We reached out to women graphic designers for the Kim Mihri documentary’s poster work. All the posters on this page are the works of talented graphic designer women. Kim Mihri team is thankful for their volunteering work.

SYNOPSIS

Live action  / animation, feauture, independent documentary

Kim Mihri (Who is Mihri) is the painter Mihri’s untold story. Director Berna, decides to trace Mihri’s journey from late Ottoman era Istanbul onward to Rome, Paris and New York. Mihri, whose image, artistic work and life story have been unjustly obscured, lost and deformed are revived through interviews and fully animated sequences.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

I first heard of the Painter Mihri in 2013 when I attended seminars on the History of Turkish Painting. Very few people knew about her. I felt this was simply unbearable and that’s why I devoted many years of my life to make the first-ever documentary film about the artist.  For the documentary, I set out with a simple question; “Who is Mihri?” and my devotion to make the Kim Mihri (Who is Mihri) documentary enriched my life enormously. For me, it was a journey full of surprises and epiphany. In the film, Mihri is not presented as a superior mythical creature or a poor victim, but as a woman who had the talent and drive to live life exactly the way she wanted whether or not the world she lived in was ready for it… Kim Mihri paves the way to question gender roles, form more intense and richer relationships between the East and the West, and history and the present, “us” and “the other”. In addition, the film may instigate further international academic research on Mihri and eventually, the registration of her lost paintings. As Mihri followed her passion, she opened new routes for the upcoming generations. She wrote in a letter, “The road of an artist lengthens with each step taken.” I see this documentary as part of her and our challenging walk… Mihri’s artworks and her life choices can be controversial; yet before criticizing, we need to know; Who is Mihri?

Berna Gençalp

MIHRI COMING BACK TO LIFE...

Some parts of the film is fully animated, to reflect the core dynamics of Mihri’s life as a woman and as an artist. The animated Mihri character will be in action with the paint brush in her hand. The animation sequences which are directed by Berat İlk uses mixed technique is used and actress Feride Çetin has contributed fort he creation of animated Mihri character.

 

 

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?

AWARDS

Kim Mihri (Who is Mihri) feature documentary film project is supported by Turkish Ministry of Culture in 2017 through Cinema Support Fund.

Kim 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. In 2019, Kim Mihri received the Postbıyık Sound and Color Editing Award at the Antalya Film Forum during the 56th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

Kim Mihri (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 Kim Mihri and we had the opportunity to make a pitch before the European producers, studio owners, animators and cinema professionals, and receive valuable feedback.

Kim Mihri (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.