Future's directors film the 'others' in Edirne
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Future's directors film the 'others' in Edirne
ISTANBUL - A project titled 'International Youth Filmmaking,' which was initiated last year by the US Consulate General in Istanbul and provided education for students from six Turkish cities on filmmaking, yields its results. Students in Edirne, who took classes as part of the project, have made a film featuring the life of Roma citizens in their city.

Edirne's young directors of the future, who studied as part of the project titled "International Youth Filmmaking" that was initiated last year in July with the support of the U.S. State Department, have produced two films on Roma citizens.

The goal of this program was to promote greater understanding and awareness among young people in Turkey of issues related to democracy, human rights, tolerance and diversity, women's issues, and economic empowerment through youth-created films and videos. Therefore students were asked to make films on these issues. The northwestern city of Edirne's young students, who aim to be future directors, have chosen Romas living in the city as the theme of their films.

The young people, who ignored others' warning to stay away Roma neighborhoods because they are dangerous, have shot two films featuring the position of Roman citizens in social life and the troubles they face in their daily lives in the city.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, New York University communications department member and responsible for the project Nefin Dinç said the project was a common project of Turkey and the United States and was supported by the U.S. State Department. She said the northwestern city of Edirne, the Black Sea city of Artvin, the central Anatolian cities of Sivas and Konya, and the southeastern cities of Mardin and Hatay had been chosen among other Turkish cities for the implementation of the project. "Seventy-two students from these six cities attended the project's classes. Films are about to be finished at the moment. We initiated the project last year in July and gave a total of a 21-day education in each city. Students took classes on issues like scriptwriting, camera, sound, lighting and editing," Dinç said.

Sezen Çobanoğlu, a member of the team that made films on Edirne's highly Roma populated Menzilahir neighborhood, said as part of the project, they aimed to make a film conveying a social message and that's why they chose people living in the Roma neighborhood.

'We discovered a different world'

She said they attempted to remove society's prejudices against those people. "Roma citizens are excluded from society, and we wanted to show this fact in the films. We have focused on the concept of 'the others' in our films, aimed at showing the effect of 'the others' in the society. We have planned to remove social prejudices. Although people nearby warned us saying that the neighborhood was dangerous, and that we could not go there if we did not have a friendship with the people of 15 to 20 years, we went there and made friends. We had fears at first but discovered a different world there," said Çobanoğlu.

Another student in the filmmaking team, Batuhan Kurt expressed his happiness of being a part of the project. "I was passionate about directing a film and this project encouraged me. We have learned about scales of shot and scriptwriting during the courses, and applied them. We have made friends in the neighborhood of the Romas. They helped us, we really enjoyed it," said Kurt.

Some of the 72 students, who studied filmmaking as part of the project, will go the United States for more education. Also, students in these six cities will come together next year in January and evaluate their productions.

The films shot by students will be shown at films festivals in Istanbul and Diyarbakır.