'Zephyr' Helmer Slows Pace for Film 'Family'


The director of competition film "Zephyr" describes it as "one piece of a bigger puzzle" and part of a "series of thematically-related projects that explore mother-daughter relationships."

Turkish filmmaker Belmas Bas acknowledges that her slow working pace is reflected in the way "Zephyr" moves along, confessing she is a "workaholic, but one who moves at a snail's pace; I take four times as long as other people to do the same thing."

"Some people who saw the film told me they thought about leaving after half an hour, but were glad afterward they stayed to the end as it took them to an unexpected place," Bas said. "At the start of the film maybe it seems like just another trendy Turkish art house film, but then it changes."

The familial themes of "Zephyr" are also evident in Bas' filmmaking. Twelve-year-old Seyma Uzunlar, who plays the lead of the title, is a relative – their grandmothers are cousins – and she calls all of her cast "the family."

Uzunlar's only previous film was an appearance in Bas' short debut, "Poyraz," a prelude to "Zephyr" that premiered in competition in Cannes in 2006.

Nevertheless, Uzunlar says she wants to be an actress "for sure" when she grows up, and not only in films with her relatives.

"I really enjoyed working in a Turkish film, but my ambition is to make films abroad," said Uzunlar.

Although Bas says she is working on the script for the next film in the series, which she refers to as "Heroines Journeys beyond the Winds," given her methodical working style, Unzular would probably be waiting a while to star in the next family production.

For now she has more pressing concerns, leaving the festival on to get back to the school exams that await her back in Turkey.