Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Please pass the script and the couscous.

I was overjoyed when I received an e-mail from a student director that I have worked with in the past, telling me that he was back from Turkey to finish his Master's degree in film direction, and that he wanted me to be part of a script-in-hand reading of his thesis. In this program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, (RIT) the thesis is a full-length film that he will eventually shoot in his native Turkey, but he needs to have it read in front of his professors first as part of the process.

Ali Vatansever is an incredibly talented guy. I worked with him two years ago in a short film he made during his first year as a grad student, then did a voice-over character for one of his other films. He and his sister have their own film production company back in Turkey, and his story about how he got to RIT is really something.

Ali was originally slated to attend the University of New Orleans in 2005. Hurricane Katrina forced him to change his plans, and as he was studying on a Fulbright Scholarship, this was something that had to be done quickly. He chose to come to Rochester, and talking with him a little over a year ago, he told me that in many ways he was glad he wound up here instead of New Orleans.

Apparently, if he would have gone to N.O., the number of foreign students attending would have been significantly less. RIT has a large number of students from other countries in attendance, and Ali feels pretty good about that. Also, he is incredibly impressed with the acting talent here in Rochester, which is no surprise to anyone that has lived here for some time. As I have mentioned before, the theatre community here is quite extensive. He has been able to accomplish things that he might not have been able to do elsewhere.

He will be returning to Turkey, and his dreams are to make his home country the next Bollywood, without, as he puts it, "all the glitzy stuff," and make "serious films." I feel very privileged to be part of it, and hey, if he needs an American for one of his films, he's got my number and e-mail.

8 comments:

comms said...

hey i heard suadi arabians have strict internet rules? so what do suadi arabians do on the net?

Bina said...

I love reading about lives and how they got to where the are, what their dreams are and how they are actually accomplishing them. Good for Ali! He knew what he wanted and he has worked hard to get it!

And hey, I am a damn good out-loud reader. Just ask my daughter.

Mr. Nighttime said...

comms - There is a point to this, yes?

Bina - Come on up north. I'll pass your name along. ;-)

Guyana-Gyal said...

I shouldn't say this, but how I envy people who are getting their creative work out *there*.

I hope Ali knows that not all movies from India are glitzy...there are quite serious ones too, and beautifully made.

p.s. about the last post, I worry because my siblings live over there...a question...if one 'sits' out the market slump, won't it eventually go up again? I hope.

Jay said...

Sounds exciting, Mr N! And you get the chance to be in at the ground floor, and who knows where this will lead?

But I'm guessing it might be difficult for you if you were offered the chance to take an acting role in Turkey? Or would you be up for that?

I wish Ali all the best, anyway - not that it sounds like he'll need it. That young man will go far, it seems.

PI said...

Hi Mr N. Popped over from GG's as she mentioned us together. Don't worry - I'm probably old enough to e your mum. Great that you have been asked to help your friend in that way and I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.

Jay said...

I just tagged you - I think you might like this one!

Peter said...

Having just returned from a long vacation in Turkey made me realize Turkish movies are quite different from what a US audience expects to see on screen.

I had a flatscreen TV with 50 digital channels in my Turkish hotel suite, with many local channels showing carbon-copy (CNN Turk, FOX Turkey, etc) or dubbed US formats. Many of the movie channels aired US movies only, dubbed in Turkish, a very complex language(do check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_language)

The rare original Turkish movies I watched for a couple of minutes focused strongly on emotions, in a social setting that was very different from my own. Even with subtitles in English I would have had trouble relating.