Who was Ali Aydın before becoming a director?
I have attended various workshops about different branches of art when I was a student in university. One of those branches was cinema. I didn’t have becoming a director or a scriptwriter in mind. My aim happened to be shooting experimental videos, creating installations. Mostly, I was willing to work in the field of contemporary art. Freedom which video art provides in experimental field has always attracted me. However, I have completely changed my mind as I started to deal with creation of cinema and scriptwriting. Cinema was definitely a more productive field. The setting, lights, camera, color, script and actors…the richness of cinema was absolutely charming. As I had the opportunity to work as an assistant in a film during my study in university, I accepted and started working without hesitation. Throughout my assistantship period, I kept the desire of making my own film. At such times certain feeling of moodiness collapses you…the feeling that I might never be able to make the stories or films that I dream of was really annoying. Nowadays I feel the excitement of writing my second film.
Why did you choose this story for your debut film?
I was deeply concerned by the depth and disturbance of the concept of conscious and the extensive marks it left in my memory. Conscious proceeds differently for every human being, some are defeated over conscious, some overcome, or some people are the example of lack of conscious. As we look at someone else’s conscious, we in fact settle up with ourselves. Am I a conscientious person or not? I don’t know, or maybe I don’t want to know. All I know is that the only thing that made me write this story is conscious.
How was working for the first time on a feature lenght film?
My assistantship period was very important for me, because I haven’t even make a short film before. After my project got support from The Ministry of Culture, I have started a long term preparation. I have begun to work on casting after I have specified the environment. We have even settled the shooting angles with the director of photography before we started shooting. We also had a lot of practice with the actors before set. All the actors found out every detail about their characters and this gave us the chance to try other things after we had what we wanted. I figured out how important preparation is after we started shooting. Another difficult thing about shooting a feature film is not being able to shoot the scenes according to their line in the script. One day you shoot the first scene of the script and the next day you have to shoot the final scene. At such times holding the integrity of the script and protecting the concentration of the actors was also a difficult side of the process.
How was the experience on the set? (Most satisfying and more difficult moment?)
Realizing a scene written on the script and filming that stick to the way it has been written, is probably the most exciting moment of cinema. There was a long scene in Küf which forms the backbone of the entire story. This scene was made of nine pages in the script however during shooting, it lasted for eleven minutes with the tempo we expected from the actors. We have placed this scene to the last day of our shooting schedule, because we have planned to spend the rest of negative films we had on this scene. All I had in mind since scriptwriting period was to shoot this scene as single plan. This scene was the scene that determined my view as director to the story. We have prepared 35mm negative bobbins of 11 minutes for this scene. I didn’t want the actors to lose their concentration because of roll switches. We started shooting after rehearsals. However I couldn’t get what I wanted one way or another and the films were becoming rubbish. After a few more bad trials we have discussed with all actors about how this scene should be. I remember saying that the tension between two characters should be more obvious. I have never felt so much pressure since the beginning of our shooting schedule. After the last discussions we started shooting again. And finally the result was exactly as I wished. Although I wanted that scene to be single plan we have shot extra plans, however during editing I almost left the entire scene as single plan. Finally the backbone scene of the script was working perfectly.
At the moment, do you have any idea for future projects?
I have project which I am currently working on, writing the script. I am trying to observe violence which men fear to face with and which they are all prone to. I am writing a script that questions how we justify violence.
The movie is inspired by the protest of the Saturday’s mothers. Why the main caracter of Küf is a man instead?
The reason why I have filmed the story of a father instead of a mother is because of my desire to put a distance between the audience and the film. I mean if the main character of the film was a mother, people would have look closer, even pity maybe. However we have a distance with the Saturday’s Mothers as society. None of us established intimacy with them; we couldn’t… because we haven’t been through what they have. We weren’t going through such pain and all our beloved ones were around us. But for them, it wasn’t like that… In Turkish society it’s always easy to establish a bond with the mother but it isn’t necessarily that easy to establish the same bond with the father. Because that’s the role that society provides to men. Father has to be protective, the one who stands straight. This position unintentionally places a distance between father and children. However there are fathers, brothers, children among the Saturday’s Mothers. Two sons of a father named Osman Efeoglu have been disappeared by the police in 1992 and 1994. No one has been through what Osman Efeoglu has been through. Both of his sons were taken from him, first Ayhan, then Ali… and Osman Efeoglu was taken under custody in 1992 while he was a student at my university. This is another reason why my character is a father; this is the story of Osman Efeoglu who has not heard of his two sons for years.
The scriptwriting process lasted 7 years. Why did it take so long? Did the original concept change and if yes in what way?
The most important reason why scriptwriting of Küf lasted for 7 years was my uncertainty. I couldn’t decide which side of the story I should be telling for a long time. I couldn’t be sure whether if I should tell the story of the people who were disappeared or the ones who they left behind. I had to make a decision and I had to be sure that my decision was right. I wanted to write to story of the ones who are left behind. Hereby I have started to make research regarding Saturday’s Mothers, started to read their stories. I remember not writing a single line for a long time after my research phase. Because it was impossible not to be touched by what they have been through. When I decided to continue the script I was working as assistant in a TV serial. I have started writing non-stop every night for 6-7 months and when I finished, it was 2010. So it took 7 years to write the script which I started in 2003 by taking some notes. Throughout this process I have remained faithful to the original concept. Although I have tried to make certain changes, I always found myself at the beginning. In fact, what I wanted to write was quite simple. The reason why a man stays alive after his son’s death was his son, eventually. My aim was to tell the struggle of a man who is alone or alienated by other people, the system, the state and I have never deviated from this aim.
So it took 7 years to write the script which I started in 2003 by taking some notes. Throughout this process I have remained faithful to the original concept. Although I have tried to make certain changes, I always found myself at the beginning. In fact, what I wanted to write was quite simple. The reason why a man stays alive after his son’s death was his son, eventually. My aim was to tell the struggle of a man who is alone or alienated by other people, the system, the state and I have never deviated from this aim.