Scriptwriter of the Month: Burçak Üzen Açık

Burçak Üzen Açık is a Turkish screenwriter and director whose second feature film, OFFSPRING, started its journey at festivals and script development workshops in Turkey. She is currently working on two different projects for television. 

 

To find out a bit more about her, check her MTSW profile here and read our conversation with her. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• What makes the 5 films on your Top 5 list so special?

Actually, I don’t like to list movies because each story can contain good and bad points. But when we look at the movies that are most liked by the general public, as IMDB does, we see a common point in all of them. In these stories, the narration carries correct spelling mathematics and visual narration. My top 5 list films are the ones that I wished I had written.  These movies are as follows; PI (1998) – Darren Aronofsky, TRAINSPOTTING (1996) – Danny Boyle, NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) – Oliver Stone, YOL (1982) – Şerif Gören, Yılmaz Güney, SUSUZ YAZ (1963) – Metin Erksan. These films are cult films in the history of cinema. The reason I put them on my list is because they make me love to cinema and inspire me to tell my own stories. But I have watched many good movies during my university and business life. After 2000, I watched very good films, especially in Turkish Cinema, Asian Films and Northern European films.

 

• Why do you decide to go and watch certain films?

There are two reasons why I decided to go to a movie. The first of these is that there is no other place where I watch certain movie. Usually this applies to festival films. For commercial films, to hear the big screen and good sound design, to feel the visual effects. But if the question is basically what is the reason that takes me to the cinema – for domestic productions, I would like to support them, especially independent cinema. Because ticket sales in independent cinemas in Turkey are very low. In Hollywood productions, I wonder how they saved the world again. Okay kidding, sometimes the only reason is just to have fun. The last movie I watched in the movie theatre before the pandemic was JOKER.

 

• Commercial films or art house?

The perception created by the difference of commercial and artistic films makes me very unhappy. Some stories can’t find their place because they are being changed into marketing tools. Because when a movie needs to be made for festivals or movie theatres, it carries similar codes. But some films are not suitable for festivals and are not suitable for movie theatres. Two markets do not accept them. That’s why the creative team tries to determine their target audience and try to stay within the patterns at the same time. I think this effort harms creativity. I love festival films; they allow us to experience original and different perspectives. I love commercial films; they appeal to our human emotions. As a viewer, I do not want to create and differentiate a stable consumption habit. That’s why I pay attention to watching different styles and productions.

 

• How and when did you begin writing?

I started writing at a young age. Diaries, school compositions. When I was in high school, I decided to write a novel. I still keep all these things. Whenever I read them, they make me laugh a lot. I started to write professionally and earned from writing at my middle ages. Actually, I was working in an advertising agency. I had a pretty good income and job. One day I had a car accident. That accident turned everything upside down in my life.  Everything changed.  I think facing death made me reconsider my reason for being. Then I followed my own dreams.

 

• Where do you like to write the most?

I can write anywhere. I wrote my first movie among the parcels when I was moving. I wrote my second movie while my son was playing games next to me. I wrote the TV series and movies more disciplined, going to the office and writing with the discipline of a banker. When I am alone with the keyboard, I am not affected by the outside environment. I guess I’m one of those people who don’t spend extra effort in diving into my own world. I think this is a gift.

 

• What kind of music do you listen to while writing?

I prefer not to listen to music while writing. I’m afraid of being affected. Because music has a huge impact on emotions.

 

• Where do ideas come from?

Ideas sometimes come from an event I come across, sometimes from a person I know, and sometimes just as a feeling. Of course, every idea is an experience of mine. But usually, the idea changes and becomes something else once you start working on it. The initial idea only serves as a spark. The project turns into a real idea only after working on it for a long time.

 

• If you could go anywhere in space and time, where would that be?

If I could travel in time, I would like to go to the future. I would like to see the development of technology that hinders cinema the most, such as the camera.