Directed and produced by Berke Baş – Melis Birder. Coproduced by Özgür Doğan – Zeynel Doğan
Editing Melis Birder . SoundDesign Cenker Kökten . Additional Editing Kim Miille – Ali Aga – Berke Baş
Sound Mixing Cenker Kökten . Additional Sound Mixing Sam Miille . Color Correction Delfina Mayer
Assistan Editor Çiğdem Türkömer . Production Assistant Serdar Acar
with support from Sundance Documentary Film Program – SB Özel Group – Ar-Ge İnşaat – 2010+
“This is a war… A war for these kids, a war for you, a war for Diyarbakir!” shouts 37 year old Coach Gokhan Yildirim to his players during a basketball game in his native Diyarbakir. In this conflict ridden city, at the center of a decades long clashes between the Turkish State and the Kurdish Rebel Movement PKK, these words resonate truer than they’d sound in a sports match.
Bağlar, a district of Turkey’s largest Kurdish city Diyarbakir, was created out of this conflict in the 90’s with the mass migration of people forced out of their villages. A primary school teacher Coach Gokhan Yildirim with the help of the Baglar Municipality created a sports club there in order to offer an alternative vision for hundreds of young boys and girls who would otherwise be stuck with “the sad destiny of the east.” BAĞLAR chronicles a 3 year period in the life of the team, building a narrative arc of Coach Yildirim’s efforts to reach to the national league, but at the same time to survive in a politically charged environment.
BAĞLAR intends to record these historical moments through the minds and hearts of a small basketball team by intimately telling the story of a sidelined generation struggling to define hope and success rather than being overwhelmed by the fury, despair and anger surrounding them.
Her love for cinema started at Taksim Cinematheque where she frequented with her father in the 70’s. She graduated from St. Michel French High School and from Istanbul University with a BA degree. She worked as a junior copy writer in Istanbul for a while and then left Turkey for New York. From limousine dispatcher to waitress, from bike messenger to part-time teacher, she has worked in many different jobs while studying at the New School where she has become interested in documentary filmmaking. Together with Berke Bas they’ve founded inHouse Projects at their Brooklyn kitchen table and together directed and produced documentaries for NGO’s and libraries in NY,
She shot her first independent documentary Tenth Planet A Single Life in Baghad in 2004 in Iraq. Among other festivals, the film was screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and received the Jury Special Award at Antalya Turkey Golden Orange Film Festival in 2005
Her Sundance Documentary Fund supported film Visitors was screened in many festivals but most importantly in various prisons in NY. She has received the Golden Orange Award at Antalya Turkey Golden Orange Film Festival 2009 and Jury Special Award at NY Urban World Film Festival.
Berke Baş, producer/director studied political sciences at Bogazici University, İstanbul and received her masters degree in media studies at New School for Social Research, New York. She cofounded inHouse projects with Melis Birder in New York in 1998 and has since worked in various documentary and feature film projects as producer, director, editor and cameraperson. Located in Istanbul, she is a parttime lecturer at Film TV department of Istanbul Bilgi University and founding member of docIstanbul Documentary Studies Center. Her films deal with Turkey’s pressing social issues as wide ranging as illegal migration (In Transit, 2005), women’s political rights (What a Beautiful Democracy!, 2008), Armenian orphans of 1915 (hush!/La Chanson de Nahide, 2009) and trials of manhood (Concrete Park, 2010). She is also the codirector of nonlinear documentary Planet Galata: A Bridge in Istanbul, 2010. Her latest film Bağlar, codirected with Melis Birder, follows the basketball team of Diyarbakir’s Baglar Municipality in the course of three years, telling the story of a sidelined generation struggling to define hope and success in a conflict ridden city.