Marianna Francese and Jaad Gaillet, two former exchange students of Istanbul, are currently working on a film taking place in one of our city’s most diverse neighborhoods, Tarlabaşı. The film’s focus is on Mustafa, a man in his fifties hailing from Adana, and his experiences in the neighborhood. The duo have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for their ambitious project. In typical Indiegogo fashion, donors will receive a variety of perks, including the opportunity to be an executive producer.
From the organizer:
We were students in Istanbul in 2011. It was by chance that we lived in the neighbourhood of Tarlabaşı, in the last months of our stay in Istanbul. People told us to never enter the region because it was too dangerous. People described the area as in the film Ağır Roman of Mustafa Altıoklar without ever having set foot.
“Everyone gave a name to Tarlabaşı. Some say it is a place where the danger is concentrated. Yes, it’s true, it’s the place of drug trafficking, theft, prostitution… It’s true, but we live here, the poor live here, it is my neighbourhood. Everyone gave a name to Tarlabaşı. I wonder what name you will give to it. “ -A local resident
We decided to go back a few months later. We conducted a photographic documentary project and made trips for three years. We knew that the area was doomed to disappear completely within a few years, as urban renovation is becoming increasingly important.
Tarlabaşı is a historical neighbourhood which has hosted countless communities and changed its face over the centuries. The cultural wealth of the area is astonishing. You can find not only illegal activities but a lot of families from different ethnical communities (like Turks, Kurds, Gypsies, Armenians, Circassians, Lazes, African and other migrants from the East…) They live there together and share the area with the waste pickers.
We were steeped in the stories of the residents from Tarlabaşı.
We lived with all these different people for almost a year, without making distinctions. However we never thought of making a film until we met Mustafa.
Our meeting with Mustafa in 2012 was decisive. It is through his person, his incredible story, that the idea of making this film came to us.