Feeling the seen and unseen, the heard and unheard...
a film by Rûken Tekeş
WORLD PREMIERE at 50th Visions du Réel FF, International Feature Film Competition
Antalya Golden Orange FF, Golden Orange Jury Award for Best Documentary
Duhok International FF, Special Jury Award for Best Kurdish Feature Film
Inconvenient Films Human Rights FF, Jury Special Mention
Mediteran Film Festival, Jury Special Mention
SunnySide of the Doc, BEST OF Selection 2020
Turkish Critics' Award, Best Film Nominee 2020
Turkish Critics' Award, Best Documentary Nominee 2019
Istanbul International Film Festival
Taormina International Film Festival
DokuFest Documentary Film Festival
DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
DocPoint Tallinn Documentary Film Festival
DokFest Munchen Documentary Film Festival
Festival International Du Film Ethnographique Du Quebec
Chiayi International Art Documentary Festival
Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam
Matsalu Nature Film Festival
Berlin Kurdish Film Festival
London Documentary Film Festival
DocumentarIst Istanbul Film Days
Which Human Rights Film Festival
Zeugma International Film Festival
Malatya International Film Festival
Human Rights Film Days
Accessible Films Festival
This Human World
82min, Color, DCP
*1st feature documentary of the Director
*Shot with 4 Cinematographers in different periods -with different elements (earth, water, air, fire).
*Total of 21 days of shooting with no plan, the film edited in line with the camera timecode.
*Separative symbols used in the film are from Sumerian numeric system starting from 1 till 21, representing the number of days.
*On the arrival day of the crew to the region the Government announced that the transportation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb to take place the next day. AETHER crew was the only professional film-crew present in the transportation.
*2 weeks after the last shooting day the archaeological area is closed.
*The construction of the hydroelectric dam is finished, flooding started in 2019.
A filmmaker’s 21-day homage to capture the ethereal essence of her unique ancient homeland soon to be submerged by a hydroelectric dam, AETHER is instinctively carried and driven by emotions, feelings and observations. It reveals the place’s truths following its own unencumbered chronology. An invitation to a free-minded voyage into nature’s cycle of birth-death-rebirth in the oldest continuously inhabited place on Earth.
Hasankeyf, a land with breathtaking nature, shapes and landscape. A cave-city of ancient Mesopotamia with at least 12,000 years of historical, cultural and ecological significance nestling in the valley of the Tigris River, in the Kurdish part of Turkey. Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris valley is recognized to merit as World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1970s, however till to date not registered officially.
In 2019 the area is started to be flooded by the opening of Ilısu Hydroelectric Dam. A controversial project which will provide a mere fifty years of electricity to the region and strengthen the political power of Turkey over the Middle East. Hasankeyf and surrounding Tigris valley is ranked in 2016 by Europa Nostra in the “Seven Most Endangered” sites in the world. The habitat of an endemic life including hundreds of unique species, 78.000 residents and 3000 nomadic people in and around, along with 400 excavated and unexcavated archaeological sites pertaining to the ancient cultures including Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Meds, Greeks, Romans as well as travelers on the Silk Road and nomads will be lost forever. Yet a new cement-build settlement aims accommodate one thousand people and some archeological monuments…
The filmmaker made a 21-day homage to her ancestral lands for connecting with and capturing its ethereal essence before its total destruction. With a sensorial and meditative approach, focused on the natural elements—water, earth, air and fire—in order to capture something of a primordial connection with this territory and everything that lives in it, be it a tree, a child, a sheep, an ant or a river. She does not seek to explain the stakes of this future annihilation but creates a space in which the spirit of the place can express itself. A space that transcends time and reveals the natural cycles of creation, destruction and rebirth at the heart of the film. AETHER is a free-minded voyage to a mysterious and timeless nature of a site unique in the world.
© 2019 Sarya Fılms Collective