What inspired you to make this film? (“About Arif“, 2016. Turkey, Hasan Kalender)
When I was a kid, among my friends, I used to feel most close to a kid with Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome are not cunning; they just have love for life. Therefore, I wanted to make a feature-length movie about people with Down Syndrome. The producers with whom I made feature-length movies before thought a movie about a person with Down Syndrome would not make money. I did not agree with them. I believed I could make a fun and powerful movie about them. In order to prove that, I wanted to make an emotional and powerful short movie about the people with Down Syndrome by using my own means, and I made ‘About Arif.’ The audience is to decide the success of that movie.
What do you want American audiences to know about this film or about the subject matter?
We are missing life because of the modern world. We all have to do certain tasks and we believe that life is all about doing these tasks; it is all about fulfilling our responsibilities. Right now I am thinking of my American friends; they are all in a rush to go to their workplaces and they will be again in a rush to go to work on time after the lunch. In the evening, they will be hurrying for tomorrow’s meeting etc. We are not aware of the fact that we are losing our humanistic sides while becoming a part of the system. However, for a person with Down Syndrome, the economics or the traffic does not mean much. Worrying for future does not make sense to them. They only enjoy the moment and love people without any expectation. Isn’t it enough to live? Actually being happy is much easier than we think if we really want to be happy and I’ll be glad if I can highlight this view through my movie.
Is it difficult to make films in your home country? Why or why not?
It is really hard to make a movie in Turkey because the money you invest has almost no return. Only the popular soap operas made for consumption make a profit. These types of movies are generally comedies; they are replicas of each other aiming to entertain an audience which, indeed, is not interested in cinema. Therefore, making a quality movie is only possible through the movie funds, which are rather limited in Turkey.
Is there anything else you want us to know about you as a director or about your film?
’About Arif,’ focuses on a subject that is special to me. Actually, nowadays more people are curious about people with Down Syndrome since they get involved in social life more and more each day, which excites me about making a feature-length movie. I hope the movie will have an impact on the audience and it will draw the attention of the producers. Therefore, each festival we attend is quite rewarding for me. I would like to thank to ‘Festival Cinema Invisible,’ for providing us the chance to display our movie in California and New York.