‘Present Tense’ travels to Uruguay

This spring, Mina travelled to the south of America to meet the audience in Uruguay.
The Latin American premiere of ‘Present Tense’ took place at the 32st International Uruguay Montevideo Film Festival, held between April 10-20th 2014. The film was screened as part of the Panorama section.



Dortmund Cologne International Women’s FF focuses on Turkey

The Dortmund Cologne International Film Festival (April 8-13th 2014) presented a selection of Turkish women filmmakers and their films in this year’s country Focus: Turkey. ‘Present Tense’ was also a part of the section, together with other films from Turkish women directors such as ‘Nobody’s Home’, ’10 to 11’,’Pandora’s Box’,
’The Last Shore’,’Boreas’.
The festival describes its motive as:
‘On the one hand, there has been a steady increase in the number of interesting and internationally successful films made by Turkish women directors – films that point beyond the clichés of complex female characters and their everyday life. On the other hand, just under three million people of Turkish origin are now living in Germany, of whom over a half hold German citizenship. A good opportunity then to take a look at the way that German-Turkish women film-makers in this part of the world view Turkey as a whole.’


‘Present Tense’ at Filmmor Women’s Film Festival

Spring began with ‘Present Tense’ screening at the 12. International Filmmor Women's Film Festival on Wheels. Director Belmin Söylemez attended the Q&A’s after the screenings in Pera Museum (March 20th) and Istanbul Modern Museum (March 21st).
‘The main theme of the festival this year: A Purse of Her Own. A job, an income, a budget of her own…We also wanted to pay a tribute on the twentieth anniversary of her death, one of the first Turkish women directors who resisted, paying high prices in order to make films; Bilge Olgaç, with gratitude and three films.’
A panel discussion on Bilge Olgaç took place in Istanbul Modern Museum (March 20th), with actress Füsun Demirel, director Belmin Söylemez, and director Melek Özman from Filmmor.
The Festival also travelled to Mersin, Adana and Bodrum with screenings throughout April 2014.


Mina goes far North

The first international trip of 2014 for ‘Present Tense’ was far north, to Tromso, Norway. ‘Present Tense’ was screened here in the Critic’s Choice section of the Tromso International Film Festival on the 14th and 16th January 2014. An extra screening was added due to the film’s popularity. Fipresci President Alin Taşcıyan who had chosen the film for this section, introduced the film at the screening on January 14th at Kulturhuset Theater.


Cairo Women’s Film Festival

‘Present Tense’ was screened in Cairo Egypt, in the ‘International Panorama’ Section of the 6th Cairo Women’s Film Festival, on 20th November 2013, in AUC Ewart Hall, Cairo.


Present Tense’s Germany Tour Crowned with yet another ‘Best Actress’ Prize

‘Present Tense’ had its German premiere at the Hamburg Film Festival in September 2012. The film was back in Germany this autumn, first at the 22nd Manheim Turkish Film Festival which took place between 11-22 October 2013. The film’s screening was held on the opening night of the Festival in Karlstorkino, Heidelberg.


The Germany season continued with ‘Present Tense’ in the competition at the 13th Frankfurt Turkish Film Festival (25 Oct-2 Nov 2013). Producer/script-writer Haşmet Topaloğlu attended the Q&A at the Metropolis Kino Frankfurt, as well as the award ceremony. The festival ended with more good news for ‘Present Tense’: Lead actress Sanem Öge won her third ‘Best Actress’ Prize. She had been previously crowned at both the Istanbul and Ankara Film Festivals.


Present Tense’s next stop in Germany was Cologne, at ‘Filmreihe Tüpisch Türkisch’. The screening was held in FilmhausKino Köln. Producer/script-writer Haşmet Topaloğlu attended the Q&A, answering questions by Amin Farzanefar, programmer of the ‘Tüpisch Türkisch’. The screening was followed by a special reception of Turkish cuisine in FilmhausKino.


The next destination in Germany was Stuttgart. ‘Present Tense’ /‘Gegenwart’ was screened at the 11th German-Turkish Film Week, in Delphi Arthaus Kino Stuttgart on 29 November 2013.


‘New Turkish Cinema’ film screenings at Bosphorus University MAFM

‘Present Tense’ was shown as part of ‘New Turkish Cinema’ film screenings at Mithat Alam Film Center in the Bosphorus University. A panel discussion with young Turkish directors on ‘New Turkish Cinema’ also took place, moderated by film critic Senem Aytaç.


Count Us In! at the Istanbul Modern Museum Cinema

‘Present Tense’ was screened in Istanbul Modern Museum Cinema, as part of a program of new Turkish cinema: Count Us In!
‘The films in the program, released in the past two years, have made a mark, have aroused interest in Turkey or abroad…Introducing new characters and new representations of identity, and adding new social approaches to Turkish cinema…’


‘Faces of Recent Turkish Cinema’ at the Chicago Turkish Film Festival

The Second Annual Chicago Turkish Film Festival was held at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located in the heart of Chicago’s theater district. ‘Present Tense’ was screened on Sept 27 and 28th 2013.
‘From September 9 to October 3, the Gene Siskel Film Center in partnership with the Chicago Turkish Film Committee presents the ‘Faces of Recent Turkish Cinema’ a series of four films sampling recent trends in one of the world’s most vital national cinemas.’



‘Il Tempo Presente’ in Rome

‘Present Tense’ travelled to Rome, as part of the 3rd Rome Turkish Film Festival. The festival took place between 26-29 September 2013, showcasing recent examples of Turkish Cinema as well as a special section in honour of Yılmaz Güney. All screenings took place in Cinema Barberini, in the heart of Rome. The screening of ‘Present Tense’ was introduced by the festival’s honorary director, Ferzan Özpetek, who presented the film and director Belmin Söylemez to the Roman audience.


‘Present Tense’ Theatrical Release in Turkey

‘Present Tense’ was screened in theaters throughout Turkey beginning September 6th 2013. A number of special screenings were held with the filmmakers and actors.
‘Present Tense’ was screened with English subtitles in all theaters. The theatrical release lasted 4 weeks in autumn.
2014 brought a new chance for screenings throughout Anatolia, in cities including Urfa, Batman and Diyarbakır.
The film was also screened between 3-10 January 2014 in Istanbul at the Levent Cultural Center as part of the ‘New Cinema Movement’ film screenings.


‘New Directors Prize’ Winner ‘Present Tense’ Travels To Toronto

‘Present Tense’ was screened as part of ‘Rebel Yell – A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers’ programme. ‘Rebel Yell’ curated by Rasha Salti was presented at Toronto Film Festival’s Cinemateque, TIFF Bell Lightbox between August 24-29th. ‘Present Tense’ screened on August 24th to a full house audience. ‘Rebel Yell’ showcased a selection of fiction and documentary films such as ‘Begginings’ by Somnur Vardar, ‘Concrete Park’ by Berke Baş, ‘The Play’ by Pelin Esmer...


Present Tense Wins New Director’s Prize at San Francisco IFF

Belmin Söylemez’s first feature ‘Present Tense’ won the New Director’s Prize at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival.

Söylemez received the award from jury members Charles Mudade and Alicia Scherson in the Golden Gate award ceremony on May 8th 2013.

In a statement, the jury noted: “Because of its intelligence, sensitivity, humor, honesty, humanism, great performances, and its refusal to supply easy answers or neat solutions to the tough questions that confront a structure of feeling shaped by the powerful and also alienating forces of global capitalism, urban redevelopment, and consumerist marketing, we picked Belmin Söylemez’s Present Tense as the best film of the New Directors category. Her win is made more meaningful by the fact that a huge number of films in this category were impressive… Again, congratulations to Ms.Söylemez for making a film that has a great sense of humor, great lead actor, and a conclusion that leaves us with more rather than less.” The New Directors Prize jury was composed of critic Betsy Sharkey, filmmaker Alicia Scherson and editor-filmmaker Charles Mudede.


Spring takes ‘Present Tense’ to Europe and the USA

The festival journey of ‘Present Tense’ continues on two continents. Belmin Söylemez’s debut feature has been selected for the European Competition section of Crossing Europe Film Festival.  The festival takes place between 23-27 April in Linz, Austria.

The competition section with nine new feature films offers a significant selection of current European cinema dealing with contemporary subjects. This section is open to first and second films of a director only.


‘Present Tense’ also travels to America for screenings across the US.  

The screenings include Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison (10-18 April), Block Museum Cinema, Chicago (1 May), SEEFEST (South East European Film Festival in LA (2-6 May), Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (11-19 May).





‘Present Tense’ is also selected for the ‘New Directors Competition’ at the San Francisco International Film Festival (April 25- May 9).  The screenings will take place on May 6th, 8th and 9th.


Sanem Öge ‘Best Actress’ at the Ankara FF

Sanem Öge won the ‘Best Actress Award’ at the 24th Ankara Film Festival with her performance as Mina in ‘Present Tense’.  In accepting her award from jury member Ercan Kesal, Öge expressed her wish "to live in a country we wouldn't want to leave".

Sanem Öge had also received the ‘Best Actress Award’ at the 31st Istanbul Film Festival with the same role.


Present Tense Goes to London

'Present Tense' met with Londoners at the London Turkish Film Festival.  The first screening took place at the ICA on Feb 23rd. The second screening was in Rio Cinema, Feb 27th.   Following the screenings, a review on the women characters in ‘Present Tense’ and ‘Jin’ was published on Reorient Mag by Rima Chahrour, entitled  ‘Superstition and Make-Believe in the films of Erdem&Söylemez’.



Present Tense’s Journey through India

The festival season in December 2012 continued with “Present Tense” travelling to India.  The Indian premiere took place in the competition section of the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala in Trivandrum with a full house audience.  



After Kerala,the film travelled to the east coast of India, to Chennai and was screened at the 10th Chennai International Film Festival.   

Travelling with the ‘Festival on Wheels’

Back in Turkey, ‘Present Tense’ was screened in the programme of the 18th ‘Festival on Wheels’ held between  30 Nov – 10 December. The screenings took place first in capital city Ankara and then in Sinop, a beautiful city on the Black Sea shore.



Present Tense’s Coffee Grains in Turin and Florence

30th Torino Film Festival was the Italian premiere for ‘Present Tense’.  In the International Feature Films competition, the first screening was presented by festival director Gianni Amelio, followed by a Q&A with Barbara Grespi and Belmin Söylemez.  The screenings in Turin were met with great interest from the audience and film professionals. 



‘Present Tense’s trip in Italy continued with the34th Florence International Festival of Cinema and Women, ‘Laboratorio Imagine Donna’.  The Florentine premiere of the film was held in the historical Odeon theater following a special Turkish reception. The Q&A was presented by festival director Paola Paoli.


‘Present Tense’ in Bratislava, Slovakia

‘Present Tense’s international festival journey continued with the 14th International Film Festival Bratislava (Slovakia) in November 2012.  As part of the First and Second Films Competition Programme, the film’s screenings were followed by Q&A’s presented by festival director Nenad Dukic.


‘Present Tense’ in Malatya

‘Present Tense’ travelled to Malatya, in the east of Turkey as part of the National competition of the 3rd International Malatya Film Festival. Actresses Sanem Öge, Şenay Aydın, actor Ozan Bilen and director Belmin Söylemez attended the Q&A after the screening at Yeşil Cinema.


Montpellier welcomed “Present Tense”

The French premier of Belmin Söylemez’s debut feature film ‘Present Tense’ s took place at the 34th Cinemed Film Festival, Montpellier. Now in its 34th year, the festival hosted many films from the Mediterrenean region as well as retrospectives of Roberto Rosellini and Costa Gavras. The opening ceremony in Opera Berlioz was attended by the legendary Costa Gavras and actor Gad Elmalah, to introduce Gavras’s latest film ‘Le Capital’. ‘Present Tense’ was in the ‘Panorama’ section. The first screening was presented by festival director Jean-François Bourgeot and director Belmin Söylemez .


“Present Tense” at Filmfest Hamburg
‘Present Tense’ s German premier took place in FilmFest Hamburg. One of Germany’s most important film festivals, Filmfest Hamburg celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. With a showcase of 140 films, the Festival was attended by many international guests from the film world. ‘Present Tense’ was screened in the ‘Agenda 12’ section and nominated for the NDR Young Talent Award. The screenings of ‘Present Tense’ took place in Abaton Cinema, one of Hamburg’s oldest arthouse movie theaters. Director Belmin Söylemez and producer Haşmet Topaloğlu attended the QA’s, answering the questions of the Hamburg audience. The Douglas Sirk Prize of the festivalwas awarded to South Korean director Kim Ki-duk.



Three awards for “Present Tense” Adana Golden Boll FF

"Present Tense" has received three prestigious awards at the national competition of the 19th Golden Boll Film Festival, Adana Turkey.

Three different juries each gave an award to Belmin Söylemez's first feature.

The jury of the official competition, led by acclaimed director Ferzan Özpetek, gave the highly prestigious "Yılmaz Güney Award" to Present Tense. The award, named to honour great director Yılmaz Güney, is the most important award after the Best Film prize.

The Film Critics Association named Present Tense their choice for best film among 14 titles. Jury member Cüneyt Cebenoyan stated the jury decision as, 'the film brings an original point of view to women’s issues of belonging told through a ritual of the same world’.

The Film Directors Association also awarded Belmin Soylemez with the ‘Best Director Special Award’. The chairman of the jury, director Tunç Başaran, declared of the film ‘Cinema should be simple yet magical. This film deserves to be described as such.’


“Present Tense” goes to Sarajevo

The international premiere of ‘Present Tense’ took place at the 18. Sarajevo International Film Festival, in the International Competition. The premiere was on July 9th 2012 in the National Theater of Sarajevo.  A press conference with the director, producer and actresses was held on the same day.   



‘Best Actress’ Award for  Sanem Öge at the 31st İstanbul Film Festival

‘Present Tense’, directed by Belmin Söylemez had its national premiere at the 31st İstanbul Film Festival. The leading actress Sanem Öge won the ‘Best Actress’ award at the National Competition for her role as “Mina”.  The jury consisted of writer Murathan Mungan, programmer Dimitris Kerkinos, actress Nazan Kesal, director Yüksel Aksu and producer Alexander Mallet-Guy.
The prize was given to Sanem Öge by the acclaimed German actor Alexander Fehling(member of the International Golden Tulip jury) at the closing ceremony of the festival. “Mina” is Sanem Öge’s first lead role in a feature film.
The national premiere of ‘Present Tense’ took place on April 13th 2012 followed by a QA with the director, producer, actors and members of the crew.



Hürriyet Daily News, ‘Present Tense, ‘A Woman’s Film in a Coffee Cup’ by Emrah Güler
Today’s Zaman, ‘Present Tense, A Tale for the Time Being’ by Emine Yıldırım
Hürriyet Daily News, Awarded Film Comes To Screen
The Arts Scene Canada, ‘Present Tense Review’ by Ilse de Mucha Herrera
EXAMINER ‘No Beginning No End Only the Present’ by Christina Strynatka
NOW Magazine, Toronto, ‘Turkish Women Raise their Voices’ by Jose Teodoro
Pretty Clever Films, ‘Present Tense Movie Review‘ by Brandy Dean
PostCity, ’Five Must See Films from the Rebel Yell Series’ by Antony Marcusa
Dorkshelf ‘Rebel Yell: The Turkish Cinematic Rebellion’ by Andrew Parker
Hürriyet Daily News, ‘Women’s Films Hit Toronto Screens’
IndieWire, San Francisco Announces Winners
The Film Experience, ’I left My Film Festival in San Francisco’ Glenn Dunks
Today’s Zaman, ‘Reading The Coffee Cup’ by Emine Yıldırım
Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Film To Travel United States Festivals
Reorient Mag: ‘Superstition and Make-Believe in the films of Erdem & Söylemez’ by Rima Chahrour
Variety: Present Tense Film Review by Jay Weissberg
The Hindu: Film-Makers Rue Lack of Space for Off-Beat Films
BBC News - Turkey's art house film-makers hope for further success
Cineeuropa ‘Present Tense: escaping the past with an eye on the future’ by Vitor Pinto
‘Present Tense: escapar al pasado con un ojo en el futuro’ by Vitor Pinto (in Spanish)
Belmin Soylemez interview, SFF
ScreenDaily, ’Present Tense’ by Dan Fainaru
İstanbul Festival Daily, QA with Belmin Söylemez
Cut magazine online