They had a fantastic time and made new friends, in addition to John’s receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. This year’s theme for the festival was Ortadoğu ve Barış (Mideast and Peace), and four of John’s 17 films were screened for an international audience.
John with Malatya University Students
About the festival, Maggie had this to say:
“Malatya is a classic provincial city so we had red carpet and kleig lights and lots of government officials on stage. 90 percent of all apricots are grown and shipped worldwide from here. The award is great, a 10 inch ancient king (this is the Fertile Crescent, the apricots are watered by the Euphrates) made of silver and he holds the Crystal Apricot, which is the name of the award.”
This was also a special event for John and Maggie because they got to accept several awards on behalf of their friends who made the very moving and successful indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild. John accepted Best Production Design on behalf of Court 13, the “grassroots, independent filmmaking army” who created the film. John explained that Beasts of the Southern Wild came out of Hurricane Katrina and expressed his feeling that the Court 13 collective are the future of Independent Cinema. Maggie accepted the award for Best Director on behalf of Benh Zeitlund, and told the crowd that she and John had had faith in Court 13 from the start.
In fact, John and Maggie have known Court 13 member Ray Tintori since he was born; Ray’s parents John Tintori and Mary Cybulski have worked on their films since Lianna. John and Maggie even invested in Court 13’s previous movie Glory at Sea. Maggie tells me:
“I like hearing that Court 13 was inspired by our way of working, with emphasis on a fair and classless workplace. I know that Beasts director Benh Zeitlund grew up with a VHS of The Secret of Roan Inish. I was reminded of Roan Inish when I saw Beasts. I think Beasts of the Southern Wild is this generation’s Secaucus Seven.“
John and Maggie at the Malatya International Film Festival
That’s a very good endorsement to see Beasts of the Southern Wild if you haven’t yet; Maggie feels strongly that it’ll be a contender in the Oscar race this coming year.
Next stop: Puerto Rico for the American Studies Association’s Annual Meeting in San Juan this weekend! Get more info here.