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October 2023 - May 2024

The documentary Kızıltoprak tells the story of Hazal, who was born and raised as the daughter of a father who lived the last thirty years of his life without identity. Fifteen years after her father's death, Hazal initiates the legal process necessary for the recognition of the lineage between him and her. However, in order for the case to proceed, she must prove that her father Bülent Kızıltoprak actually existed. Throughout the film, we join Hazal in her pursuit of the remnants of the past and follow her process of building her own identity in parallel with the paternity case.

Hazal’s father, Bülent Kızıltoprak, was born as Bernardo Schilton in 1937 to a Jewish family from Bursa, who reside in Istanbul. Years before Hazal’s birth, in the 1970s, he adopted the name Bülent Kızıltoprak and lived the second phase of his life without any official identity.

Hazal mentions her father, who was known as Bülent Kızıltoprak in the second phase of his life and used the name Bülent in all his works and social relations, “He lived against institutions and property as if he did not exist, just like a ghost without a trace.” Almost nothing remains from Bülent to prove that he once existed, as his identity has never been verified by authorities since he avoided any and all situations that would require submission of an ID. Hazal, who was 16 years old when her father died, is now entering a new phase in mourning while questioning her family's past as an adult woman.

This journey, where we accompany Hazal in her gaze on the hidden face of the past, takes us to the cities, streets, apartments and cemetery where both Bernardo’s and Bülent’s roads have crossed. On the other hand, we witness Hazal writing her own story step by step, realizing that her own identity was missing even when her father was alive.

Irmak Karasu

After graduating from Istanbul Bilgi University departments of Cinema and Television and Psychology, Irmak Karasu received her master’s degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Film Video department. From 2019 to 2021, she participated in the Houston Fine Arts Museum’s visiting artist Core Program. In 2023, she was accepted to the post-academic research program carried out by BAK (Basis voor Actuele Kunst) in collaboration with IKSV. In the summer of 2023, she participated in the film development workshop of the Union Docs in New York to develop her first feature documentary, Kızıltoprak. Since 2012, she has been working as an independent filmmaker and artist.

Zeynep Ekmekçi

Zeynep Ekmekçi worked as an assistant producer for the documentary Ah Gözel Istanbul (2020 – DokuFest). She was the producer of the film AMA (2022), which was shot with a very low budget during the pandemic and shown in MUBİ Turkey, and the short films Fırtına and Kule, which were debuted last year at the Antalya Film Festival. She worked in different positions in many international productions shot in Turkey. She works as a producer at Faro, she is the producer of the film Karanlıkta Islık Çalanlar and the developer of the Kızıltoprak documentary. She is a graduate of the Sarajevo Talents workshop.

This page is published on 8 December 2023.