The Golden Boll Film Festival began life in 1969 as a joint initiative of the Municipality of Adana and Adana Film Club. It was known originally as the ‘Golden Boll Film Gala’, a name aptly symbolizing one of the principal crops of the Çukurova region: cotton. With additional support from the Turkish Film Archives, the Festival has evolved over the years into one of the leading arts and cultural events not only of the Çukurova region, but the country as a whole, reflecting an increasingly diverse programme.
From the very year of its foundation, the Film Gala established a tradition of supporting Turkish cinema through its awards system. Among the first Golden Boll winners in 1969 were legendary names such as Metin Erksan, who took awards for Best Director and Best Film with Kuyu (The Well), Fatma Girik, who won Best Actress award for her role in Ezo Gelin (Ezo, the Bride) and Yılmaz Güney, who returned with Best Actor award for Seyyit Han (Bride of the Earth).
The Film Gala enjoyed five consecutive editions up to 1973. But thereafter, economic constraints condemned the Golden Boll to a hiatus that was to last 18 years. Eventually, come 1992, the Municipality of Adana reintroduced the Gala in response to pleas from the public of Adana and the arts world to ‘bring back the Golden Boll’. At this point, the former Film Gala was revamped as an arts and culture festival with a view to reviving the moribund arts scene in Adana.
In 1992, the Golden Boll Arts & Culture Festival added to the National Feature Film Competition with a visionary move aimed at fostering the future of Turkish cinema. By incorporating the Student Film Competition into its programme, the Festival became the first in Turkey to offer new-generation filmmakers a competitive event. Film aside, the Golden Boll Arts & Culture Festival also featured a line-up of art and photography, theatre, music and academic events.
When Adana was struck by an earthquake in 1998, the City Municipality chose to cancel that year’s Festival and channel the Golden Boll budget into supporting earthquake victims. The Festival was again put on hold the following year after national mourning was declared in the wake of the 1999 Marmara region earthquake. That year, too, the Festival budget was allocated to earthquake victims.
In the event, it was another seven years before the Festival resumed with the 12th Golden Boll Film, Arts & Culture Festival of May/June 2005. Running every year since, the Festival has gone from strength to strength, taking on international status with the addition of the World Cinema, Mediterranean Collection and Mediterranean Short Film Competition sections.
Over the years, the Golden Boll Film Festival has flourished into an international platform hosting films from the Mediterranean region and countries all over the world, along with film professionals from all walks of the film industry. Every year, the Festival welcomes some 700 Turkish and European filmmakers, and draws admissions of around 70,000.
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