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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
Few Facts
*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.

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© 2019  Sarya Fılms Collective

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