1-Since 2006 you haven’t been doing any music and you have focused your interest onto more of a film directing career . So are you going to continue in this direction or are you planning to return to the music world?
Yes, I gave a 5 year break. I dont want two things at a time time. If there is music ,there’s only music; if there is cinema then let it beonly cinema. I don’t believe that when I dividemyself I will capture success. That’s why I had to give a break with music, as both music and cinema need alot of effort. Cinema is harder. Actually as an actor the weight I carry may not be much but , when I’m a director or a script writer, and at the same time preparing the music for the films, its very tough. That’s why there is no time for me to make music on the side. But when I think of the oncoming years, ofcourse people liked me for my music career. In the future I’m thinking of a nice music album but not now. I’d like to reappear infront of my followers with a different project… a totally different concept.
2- In ‘Beyaz Melek’, ’ Güneşi Gördüm’ and ‘In New York’ta Beş Minare’, you got very good feedback from both the public and critics; is there any film that means more to you?
People cant seperate their children. They love them all seperately. Beyaz Melek, New York’ta Beş Minare, Güneşi Gördüm, all are very valuable for me. But they all have seperate structures. Beyaz Melek was an important film that portrayes the social problems between younger and older generations. Later on the notion of old age was born through this film. Güneşi Gördüm actually scratched a 25 year-old infected wound in a very uncomforting way. It was heavily emotional . New York’ta Beş Minare is more about Islamaphobia and contains a lot of things and also has points buried within, which I had never meant to say. Three completely different films. Now I’ve left them behind. I’m going to look for new projects now.
3-Was there anyone who inspired you in your music and directing careers?
Of course there were lots. All musicians surely start music by people who impress them in their childhood. Just like action makes reaction. When I was six or seven years old there were a lot of musicians who impressed me, the first ones I liked were Edip Akbayram, Cem Karaca , Barış Manço. There was Mahsuni Şerif at the time. My brother liked Anatolian rock singers like Cem Karaca, where as my other brother preferred bards (aşıklar), Turkish regional music and ethnic types. Thats why I grew up listening to different types of music from my two brothers. On the cinema side, Yılmaz Güney impressed me the most in my childhood. My brother adored Yılmaz Güney, anyhow this always comes from ones brother or father. As a child you always unknowingly adore the person who brings you to the cinema. Ofcourse Yılmaz Güney was the cinematographer I idolized the most. I never used to miss his films. I watched every single one of them.
4- In your last movie, you worked with a foreign group. Is there a difference in working with a foreign team rather than working with a Turkish one? Which one is more advantageous?
Actually there are no differences at all. An actor is an actor no matter their nationality. This profession has no dogmatic principals like other professions. But it has its own rules. There’s stage ethics. These ethics apply both for an American actor and a Turkish actor. But there is abig difference in working with young actors and old actors. Old are much more polite. They love more what they are doing. Those people know exactly what to do when they come up to the stage. No difference between an American and one of ours. For instance, I will tell you something about Danny Glover: we were filming in a mosque on 92nd street in New York . We filmed him from all angles and his job was done. I told him that his part was done for the day; I changed the angle of my camera and started getting ready to shoot the extras. While the lights were being prepared, Glover went over to these extras and asked what they were doing. He explained them all about how the director was going to shoot them from a head-on angle. He didn’t leave the set that day. He actually helped the extras for two hours with their acting. This is a very important thing. It doesn’t happen on my set anymore but I hear it happenning on the sets for tv shows, where people look blank into the camera and leave the minute their job is done. What Glover has done is honourable, it shows his love and respect for his art. No wonder he has become Danny Glover ! Experience, knowledge and dedication is vitally important.
5- We know that you have been educated in music, and not educated in film directing. Do you feel any disadvantages of not being educated in cinematography while making films? Do you think education is required to become a great film director?
I support education in every domain. However, interestingly today in hollywood every successful film producer has unrelated jobs or education in their past. In our culture it is sufficent to look at Yılmaz Güney. While filming, being a musician has brought me many advantages. For example, I can catch the rhythm of the movie while filming. Each second has its own rhythm. This is personal. Some actors understand me while filming, some don’t. It is a world which I created in my head. Some actors play slow, some fast, so as the director I have to manage the rhythm. I have this ability because of my musical career. Thank you, it was a very interesting conversation.