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Celebrating Creativity: İlksen Başarır

Screenwriter and director İlksen Başarır says the moment she stepped into a film set was when she knew she found the right profession for her.

Jacket, Pants: Beymen Collection

Shoes: Tony Burch, Beymen

Sunglasses: Stella McCartney

How did your journey in film directing and screenwriting begin? Have you always dreamed of working in the cinema industry?

Before discovering cinema, my favourite thing was reading and dreaming about the stories I read. Ever since I was a kid, I would go see a movie every Saturday and watch them on TV every Monday morning. I think I’ve been a good film audience. Until I took this job, my biggest dream was to become a journalist but, during my internship, I realised it wasn’t really for me. I was thinking about what to do during my second year at the university. Out of pure coincidence, I started working at a production company. During my first weekend there, I visited a film set. That day, I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life. For eight years, I worked first in production and then in directing. In 2008, I met Mert Fırat while preparing for a film where I’d be working as an assistant director. He told me about a story he wanted to turn into a film. This was the story of Başka Dilde Aşk, which we wrote together and became my directorial debut. When we started working on the script, we didn’t know that I’d be directing it or Mert would star in it. After a year, we convinced one another I think. People we know supported us greatly to make this film happen. It was an unforgettable experience and work for both of us. I may not have dreamed of working in film when I was a kid but, ever since I started doing it, I knew this was what I wanted to do in life.

Is it hard to shape the world in your imagination when you both write a script and direct a project? What inspires you in this process? Writing is a very personal thing. We’re lucky we did this in collaboration because you always have someone who’s looking at what you’re writing. When we first write the story and then the script, we imagine a world and start seeing places, colours, and people. Then, a team of people joins this dream of yours and, together, you work to make it happen. This is very fun but also, yes, it’s quite challenging. Sometimes you need convincing and, other times, you need to convince others. Our director of photography Hark Kirakosyan used to say, “If you could realise 60% of what you imagined, it means you’ve done it properly.” I stand by this principle.

Which excites you the most, starting a project or finishing it? I always find it more exciting to start a job and the feeling of beginning a new journey. It’s because finishing means the beginning of another thing is drawing closer. I love working hard because I enjoy the process of production more. But filming the last scene, enjoying that break with everyone on set, and after all that effort and challenge, seeing it on the screen - it all means a lot to me.

The rise of digital platforms also transforms the habits of the audience. What are your thoughts on this? I never get the same feeling when I watch something in a movie theatre or at home. It’s an entirely different experience to watch a film in a darkened room on a large screen, with complete strangers. I still remember the row and seat number where I watched certain films. Digital platforms offer a great space for production and it’s a luxury. Like everyone else, I also use them but I don’t think anything can replace going to see a film in a theatre.

Which aspects of your job make you the happiest? What makes me happiest about my job is that things people do in their leisure time are a part of my job like watching a film or reading a book. For someone who’s easily bored of routines, it never lets me off the hook, so to say. There’s also the fact that I get to pursue a common dream with lots of different people.


Photography SAMET TURKAN Photography Assistant: MELİH ARAN

Styling: GÖZDE EKİCİ

Hair, Makeup: ONUR BAYRAM, AHMET ÇEPEL

Production: MÜGE SARIOĞLU

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