Last Tuesday a group of consulate ladies and I attended the opening ceremony for the 21st Annual Altin Koza Film Festival here in Adana. Altin Koza is an annual week-long event that show cases the talents of film makers and actors from around Turkey. From what I have heard, it is dubbed "the Oscars of Adana" and many famous people were in attendance. Of course, I am not fully up to date on my Turkish pop culture, so I didn't know about 99% of the celebrities there, but I am told they are very popular.
Of course, in a sea of every day people, celebrities tend to stand out, so even though I didn't know who they were, I knew they were a big deal when a) they arrived done up to the nines, complete with fancy dresses and professionally applied make-up, b) people started screaming and clapping and c) people nearly climbed over one another to get a photo.
We were given tickets as a thank you gesture for helping the festival's director find an American film maker/writer/director to attend. The public affairs officer asked me to help because of my "connections" in NYC and L.A. (Full disclosure: I really don't know anyone. I just know a lot of people who know people, and thankfully they were willing to help a friend out). Anyway, I helped the consulate get in touch. Of course, a lot of them had to turn it down due to previous commitments, but one guy--a friend of a friend who I had actually never met, but who writes scripts for major Hollywood productions--agreed to come. He was originally going to present an award, but he ended up walking the red carpet and sitting in the audience with us. He later taught writing and film workshops for the rest of the week, which he found quite enjoyable. In fact, he had a blast. We all did.
We were told to wear formal(ish) attire, so a few of us went shopping earlier that week. We discovered this great little boutique near our apartment that sold the absolute cutest and stylish dresses at unbelievable prices. We all bought dresses and I even found something for the Marine Ball in November. Then we showed up, walked the red carpet and even fooled the photographers into thinking we were American celebrities. That was funny because they kept telling us to pose and we just went along with it. Why not, right?
The outdoor ceremony lasted about 2 hours and then we all filed back to the nearby hotel for the after party. All the celebs were there and even an American celeb was randomly there. She was a certain actress from The O.C. who I had to Google later because even though the name sounded familiar, I couldn't place her. Turns out, there was a reason why I didn't recognize her---she looks completely different than she did during that show! I forget that people grow up and mature. She was no longer a spindly teenager, but a grown woman.
Our Turkish friends ogled the Turkish celebs and even took the time to explain to us who they were. A famous porn star (!!), a Sophia Loren/Jane Fonda type lady who I was absolutely fascinated by (this woman oozed class, I'm telling you) and an actor who became well-known for always playing the villain on-screen. We got a photo with him because my friends thought it would be hilarious. Judging by the reactions they received from their friends after posting the photo to Facebook, they were right.
So, after a fun-filled evening of rubbing elbows with Turkey's finest celebs, we called it a night. And what a fun night it was. I wish I could go again next year, but alas, we will be in Bogota. I just might have to get tickets to a Colombian film festival instead.
|Right before we hit the red carpet.|
|The red carpet. I did not realize this photo was being taken, lol|
|After the ceremony.|
|Posing with the evil villain|