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Tuesday,  June 18, 2024 8:46 PM 

Putting the spotlight on Turkey at TIFF 2016

Putting the spotlight on Turkey at TIFF 2016
Of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism: Darlene Paolucci, assistant to director and Derya S. Acar, director, welcomed guests at Malaparte in Toronto.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

“Turkish films express the story and history of Turkey to the world,” Derya S. Acar, Director of Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in Toronto, told PAX last night (Sept. 11) at a stylish soiree dedicated to celebrating Turkish cinema as part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The event, which was held on the outdoor terrace of Malaparte, a trendy event space on the sixth floor of Toronto’s TIFF Bell Light Box, put the spotlight on two Turkish films included in this year’s TIFF program: Tereddüt (Clair Obscur) directed by Yeşim Ustaoğlu and Kor (Ember) directed by Zeki Demirkubuz.

IMG_9064.jpgGuests talk Turkish cinema at TIFF at Malaparte in Toronto.

“Films are a very good way to promote culture and the artistic values of the country,” Acar explained to PAX at the well-attended party, which welcomed actors, directors, and producers from the film industry, as well as travel agents and presidents representing various tour operators.

As guests enjoyed sprawling views of the city while indulging in an open bar and passed snacks, notably juicy hamburger sliders, DJ Fitz got the room bopping with a retro-infused playlist of Turkish disco and arabesque beats.

But the tweeting and snapchatting didn’t truly begin until Istanbul-based music group BaBa ZuLa took the stage, hypnotizing guests with a dreamy and psychedelic show that combined traditional Turkish instruments with dub, electronica and acid rock.

IMG_9279.jpgTurkish band BaBa ZuLa entertains guests at Malaparte.

The group, which appeared at this year’s Montreal Jazz Festival, ultimately gave guests a taste of the type of sounds and emotions one can experience when visiting Turkey, where the tourism industry has faced recent setbacks due to terror attacks on a host of targets this past year.

The country’s tourism offices have handled the attacks in stride by continuing to educate and inform Canada’s travel trade through ongoing seminars and workshops.

“Terrorist attacks are everywhere. It’s a global issue,” Acar told PAX at Turkish-Canadian Tourism Sector Workshop held at Woodbine Banquet Hall in Toronto last February. “But there’s only one sector to encourage people about peace. People of differing cultures meet thanks to tourism.”

Turkey opened its first culture and tourism office in Toronto in August last year when approximately 200,000 Canadians visited Turkey, Acar told PAX in February.

Home to 78.7 million people, Turkey generated nearly 31 billion dollars in tourism revenue in 2014. By promoting its ancient cities, islands, beaches, spice markets, UNESCO heritage sites and religious retreats, the country is aiming to reach 50 million visitors and generate 50 billion dollars in revenue by 2023.

For more information on Turkey, visit