Cinema Studies Institute PhD candidate, Müge Turan served on the jury for the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). While recovering from TIFF, Müge told us about her experience.
How did you come to serve on the TIFF jury for the FIPRESCI Prize?
I have been a film critic since 2001, serving as editor for Time Out Instanbul and Empire, and a FIPRESCI member for 10 years. I applied to be on the jury this year for TIFF and FIPRESCI selected my application. Previously, I served on FIPRESCI Prize juries at festivals in Lisbon, Vienna, Dubai, Thessaloniki and Cannes.
What did your role as a FIPRESCI Prize jury member at TIFF entail?
FIPRESCI is present at more than 50 film festivals to award their Prize with the aim “to promote film art and to encourage new and young cinema.” At the TIFF 2019, we awarded the FIPRESCI Prize to two films that didn’t have a North American distributor: one from Special Presentations, and the other from Discovery Programme. I watched 18 films from the Special Presentations section, then after deliberations with my co-jurors, we decided on the winner and finally announced it at the awards ceremony. The FIPRESCI Prize in the Special Presentations category went to How to Build a Girl (Coky Giedroyc, 2019). The FIPRESCI Prize in the Discovery Programme went to Canadian film, Murmur (Heather Young, 2019).
What do you consider when making your choices as a jury member?
The FIPRESCI Prize does not carry with it any money, but its prestige helps the film gain a distributor. While choosing, I want to give the award to the film with high artistic merit that champions directorial vision, but at the same time I can’t help but consider whether the film deserves our prize or not.
Did you find the role of TIFF jury member rewarding or challenging?
I have been on enough film juries to know that collective decisions usually involve compromise. Plus, this year, the Festival suggested that we try the “triage” jury system, the process by which we each watched a third of the films and, in effect, individually made decisions for the rest of the jury. That put us in an awkward position, but I still find the dialogue that emerges during the deliberation process rewarding.
Would you consider serving as a jury member again?
I will be on the FIPRESCI Prize jury at the Heartland Film Festival in October.
Did you have time to watch films at TIFF outside of your jury duties?
Yes, I saw 60 films in total!
Did you have any personal favourites from TIFF 2019 that you would recommend?
I loved Martin Eden, Vitalina Varela and Atlantics.