Interview with Filmmaker H. Yagmur Kartal (SOLUK (THE BREATH))

SOLUK played to rave reviews at the May 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

H. Yagmur Kartal: Actually, it was an environmental film festival in Istanbul that encouraged me to make this film. But we did not want to say “protect the environment” with an ordinary narrative language. I guess, what I longed for when writing the script was the science fiction movies I enjoyed watching. I like to try different methods and it has always been more enjoyable to tell stories that are far from reality of today. I guess that was the feeling that inspired me.

2.From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

It lasted about 3 months. Filming took one day. I could not specified what I want to tell in the script during three weeks. In the last week, I got the main idea of my script during I was going to home by subway. After we worked on the idea in a few days, filmed it. Post production process took much longer, It may have lasted more then two months.

3.How would you describe your short film in two words!?

To be suffocated and blindness…

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Finding a place. Because place and art are the universe of film, Its house and place of birth.

I think I was seriously losing hope for a while. Most people think that camera, actor / actress, light, etc. are the most decisive things for cinema.. These are their priorities. What I care most about is place, concept, accessories. An accessory make you fell the thing that the character can tell you with ten sentences in two seconds. For example, a dusty gas mask in the first sequence of “SOLUK” and a dusty souvenir photo taken in the woods. We do not need to see the outside. Obviously, what we call nature is gone. Obviously something has happened and the gas mask is settled in the houses …

5.What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was over-excited. When I received the mail, I was chatting with my friends and I stopped for a moment, then I shouted with joy that the festival audience commentary uploaded the video to Youtube. We watched it together. I was incredibly happy. On the other side of the world, people I do not know are watching my film and thinking and commenting on it. I absolutely loved Robin Hood analogy. The works we read in childhood leave a mark in our minds, though not in my mind when writing.

In fact, it is not an impossible future. I absolutely agree, but I hope that the future will be never lived and we live by knowing and sharing the nature, the balance of life. When I was filming, I also wanted to make people feel like this. And even if a person can reach this way, happy me!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Film:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

While creating the scenario, I was thinking about the world of people and how their problems might be in a dystopian future. I was looking for a real conflict. But the conflicts I found did not make me happy. One day when I was on the subway I read news of theft. Those days I was working on Propp for postgraduate thesis. Propp talked about the fact that the epigraphs always started with an absence, that the conflict had come out with that absence and desire to reach it. When I saw the news of the theft, all the fog clouds in my mind were scattered, and the answers to my questions came to an end one by one.
Probably the most valuable thing in the future was fresh air. So if we make the fresh air a thing which was bought with money and stolen by the people who did not have money, a thing which it would be something like life source as water and sold with money. But it is a thing that is difficult to buy by poor people. And what would happen if an old man who knew our generation and forests had a tiny tree which could breathe, and hide it from everybody? When my twenty minutes subway ride was over, the raw text of “SOLUK” was ready.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Maybe you’ll laugh at me, but I think it’s Lion King. I do not remember how many times I watched it, but it was the first movie I watched in cinema in my life. My father said that I was looking at the light beams which is towards the curtain and I thought that everyone was in that light room. My dad told me what happened there. Then we went to near the machinist at intermission. Last time when I watch I was 24 years old and I watch that movie when I wanted to completely abstract myself and turn back to myself. Or mumble on a piece of self-made sound tracks while you are enjoying it. Or when I’m joyful I croon one of soundtrack of Lion King.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think it’s a great platform. In this way, many directors have the opportunity to send their films to many festivals. It allows you to meet and communicate with many people in the cinema sector. Before I find this platform, sending films to the national festivals was as tiring as make film for cinematographers because of five dvd copies and preparing documents separately for each platform. Thanks to this platform, we are aware of many more festivals and it is not necessary to prepare separate cargo packages for each festival.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

9. What song have you listened to the most times?

This is definitely a difficult question. But I can say I have a few songs for a few emotions. But nowadays …
Audioslave – Be Yourself

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, I have a documentary film titled “Oyuncakçı Saklı Yadigarlar ” which I have been working on for a long time. It will be a long film. According to “SOLUK”, the genre is quite different, there is a naive childlike spirit. In the film, there are stop motion technique and animation scenes from the toy maker’s figures. It really excites me. It is also very sincere because it is a film that contains the history of a great country history since 1940s due to the age of the toy and the toy maker. I can not wait to share it when it’s over.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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