Woke up hungry and hungover. The Festival had planned a boat trip up the Bosphorus. I almost opted not to go when I remembered they were serving lunch. The boat was crowded and the river was unexpectedly rough leaving me gripping the railing for 2 hours and not too inclined to eat. Met a festival programmer for the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic who invited Delirious to be Opening Night film. Talked for a while with Ari, an older gentleman of Turkish descent who now lived in LA. Felix, his nephew and chaperone, later informed me casually that Ari was a key member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This is the group that nominates and awards films and actors for the Golden Globes. 

Went to a party that night in the home of a rich Turkish TV commercial director. The swimming pool, redwood terracing and stairways made me feel like I was in Malibu although I’ve never been there. The host, Oskar, strengthened the comparison. He had a matinee idol face and long silver hair. His wife was a once sexy German blonde now more sulky than sultry. Oskar immediately offered me a job directing a script he’d written about a successful Turkish movie producer who suspects his stepson is having an affair with his blonde German wife. The script was called Paranoia. 

Gus Van Sandt walked in. I knew he was being honored by the Festival but I didn’t know he’d arrived yet. Gus told me he’d seen Delirious earlier in the evening. He said he liked it and that he’d called Michael Pitt immediately afterwards and told him how good he was in the film. Michael has kindly informed us he will not be doing any publicity for the film. I’ve known Gus only casually for the past 10 years but his generosity has always amazed me. He has a persona that inspires immediate trust and confidence.  I was looking forward to talking to him more when Oskar came up and pulled Gus off to meet his wife.

The members of the jury arrived like sleepy sand crabs. I’d been told earlier they were coming from their final deliberation and had by now made their decisions. Suddenly every handshake, glance or choice of words had the potential of hidden meaning. I sensed nothing. I saw the glitter woman from the night before. She smiled. I drank another beer. Before I left I went over to say goodbye to Gus. Just as I walked up Oskar was offering him a job directing a script he’d written called Paranoia.

I went to the Awards Ceremony the following night even though I knew Delirious wasn’t going to win anything. At every competition festival I’ve ever been in someone always finds a way to let you know the night before. But I figured what the hell; what else am I going to do in Istanbul on a Friday night? The ceremony was entirely in Turkish. A famous Turkish woman came out and sang a Turkish song. She came out three more times before they announced the winners of the international competition prizes. Joachim Trier won the Golden Tulip with his film Reprise. I was astounded to hear my name. I’d won the Jury Prize, the Silver Tulip. I got up on stage and looked out at a vast hall full of Turkish people and cameras beaming a live broadcast to Turkish TV. I’d not even thought of preparing a speech. “At times like these,” I said, “It really makes me wish I’d taken Turkish in high school.” 

There was a party afterwards in a room so filled with cigarette smoke I couldn’t see three feet ahead of me.  When I got back to the hotel I had to put my clothes in the bathroom and shut the door they so reeked of smoke. I put the award on the hotel windowsill. 10 floors below bleating car horns from a massive traffic jam continued non-stop for 20 minutes. In the night sky above me reflected light from headlights illuminated pieces of newspaper caught in an updraft . It wasn’t until I looked again that I realized they were a flock of slowly circling seagulls.  Tomorrow an 11 hour flight back to NY. 

Posted by:Tom

One thought on “ 11. Turkish taffee ”

  1. I’ve always been down on this blog thing, but reading your WYS entries was so interesting that I decided to try to read the whole thing from the beginning. I went through this first 11 ones today, reading some of my favorite passages aloud to my husband. I just have to say that man, you write SO well! This reads like a book, a good one. And you are a very cool guy, too, you keep things real. Very cool stuff.

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