Callshop Istanbul

Hind Benchekroun, Sami Mermer
Canada 2016 | 98 Min. | OmeU
Q&A with: Sami Mermer

Istan­bul is the bridge­head between Europe and Asia and the entrance for trav­el­ers, refugees, and people seek­ing hap­pi­ness from all over the world. Just as their jour­ney brings them here, many of them are not able to con­tin­ue on. In this film, Hind Benchekroun and Sami Mermer show the city and the people who are strand­ed here from an orig­i­nal per­spec­tive: They follow them into the call­shops full of rows of narrow phone booths and record the con­ver­sa­tions of these people who no longer have a home. We listen to their wor­ries about the war sit­u­a­tion and their long­ing to see their loved ones again. It all becomes a mul­ti­lin­gual expres­sion of root­less­ness that flows back to their home coun­tries through the wires. Each con­ver­sa­tion in the call shops of Istan­bul is a brief glimpse into a person’s life and how they came to be in Istan­bul. Noth­ing weighs as heavy as a call that is not answered, when no one picks up the phone on the other end. The con­nec­tions are unre­li­able and unsta­ble, just like their lives unfold­ing in Istan­bul.

The film also leaves the micro por­traits in the phone booths and takes to the streets, where it fol­lows protests at Taksim Square and shows Turkey in the eyes of the immi­grants living in a par­al­lel soci­ety. We meet three men from Benin, who make a living by sell­ing watch­es ille­gal­ly, as they try to esti­mate the risk of taking a boat to Greece based on hearsay. In the end, they decide to turn around. Infor­ma­tion is essen­tial for sur­vival. The change in per­spec­tive in the refugee and immi­gra­tion debate is a theme that runs all through­out CALLSHOP ISTANBUL.

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Hind Benchekroun geb. in Marokko, lebt und arbeit­et in Kanada und Marokko. Sie ist seit vielen Jahren im Doku­men­tarfilm­bere­ich tätig, führte u.a. Co-Regie bei TAXI CASABLANCA (2008), einer Doku­men­ta­tion über die einzige Tax­i­fahrerin in Marokko.

Sami Mermer geb. in der Türkei, studierte Math­e­matik und Umwelt­tech­nik, bevor er in Kanada Film studierte. Sami Mermer war im Spielfilm­bere­ich tätig und real­isierte mit THE BOX OF LANZO (2007) seinen ersten langen Doku­men­tarfilm.

Hind Benchekroun und Sami Mermer grün­de­ten zusam­men die Pro­duk­tions­fir­ma Turtle Films. Weit­ere gemein­same Filme: CARESSING TIME (2004, Kurz­film), LA PETITE FILLE D’AVANT (2005, Kurz­film), LES TORTUES NE MEURENT PAS DE VIEILLESSE (2010).