Participant profile: Eylem Kaftan

It’s over to Turkey now to meet screenwriter Eylem Kaftan.

Eylem Kaftan

Eylem Kaftan

Eylem was born in Turkey, she completed a B.A. in Philosophy at Bogazici University in Istanbul and a Masters degree in Cinema at York University in 2002. At York University, she worked as a teaching assistant and wrote her thesis on the identity crisis in post-1980 Turkish cinema.

Her first short fiction film called ‘A Swan Story’ was featured at the International Women’s Film Festival in Ankara in 1999. Her first documentary, Faultlines (2002), investigates the aftermath of the earthquake which hit Turkey in 1999. It won Best Short Film and the Jury Prize at the Planet Indie Film Festival in Toronto in that year.

Eylem then wrote and directed Vendetta Song (2005) produced with  DLI Productions in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. This gripping hour long documentary about her personal journey into the honour-killing of her aunt in a small Kurdish village in Turkey was broadcast on Vision TV and Télé-Québec in Canada and has received several awards including CIDA Prize for Best Canadian Documentary on International Development at Hot Docs; the Quebec Film Critics Association Award for Best Medium Length Documentary; Best Documentary, Calgary International festival and Best Documentary, Female Eye Film Festival. The film also won the 3rd prize at the International Women’s film festival in Torino, Italy.

Her third documentary Bledi, This is Our Home (2006) tells the story of the non-status Algerians and their struggle to remain in Canada. The film is made for the Quebec broadcaster Télé-Québec and premiered at the International documentary festival in Istanbul.

Eylem has contributed to several documentaries on social and political issues ranging from immigration and women’s rights to mental illness and culture shock. She also collaborated on the award winning short fiction films of Turtle Productions. Eylem is presently working on her new documentary on Kurdish youth and developing a script for a feature length fiction film called My Secret Heart.


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