When the movies were first invented at the end of the 19th century, they were the culmination of a dream that had preoccupied humanity for eons-from cave paintings to magic lanterns to comic books-to be able to depict motion. Ahmet Ulucay's charming first feature, avowedly autobiographical, recounts the experiences of a young boy growing up in the 1960's in a village in Western Anatolia, about 100 miles from Istanbul. His life is changed forever when an "itinerant cinema" comes to his school and offers him his first experience of movies. But unlike today's would-be "independent" filmmakers who can save up their allowances to buy a digital camera, the protagonist of this no-budget tale lives in a village where even electricity is lacking. His heroic efforts to build a "film machine" out of a wooden box are undertaken with two goals in mind: to offer him an escape route from the village in which he feels terribly inferior to the inhabitants of the nearby, "civilized" town, and to impress a girl-a town dweller of course-with whom he has fallen helplessly, and unrequitedly, in love. This delicate coming-of-age comedy, itself shot on DV, premiered at last year's Istanbul Film Festival, and it has been winning over audiences at festivals all around the world ever since. We have seen movies about first love and movie madness before, but none quite so enchanting as this one. Its inventively quirky expression of the difficulty of realizing one's hopes is aptly summed up in its title.
Ahmet UluÇay was born in 1954 in Tepecik, a village close to Tavsanli, Turkey, where he still resides today. Passionate about moving pictures since childhood, he dreamt of becoming a filmmaker and has been making award winning short films for the last 15 years. Boats Out Of Watermelon Rinds is his first feature length film and has received awards at film festivals around the world including the Istanbul International film festival where it received best film, the San Sebastian International Film Festival where it was awarded the Zabaltegi Special Jury Prize, and at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival where it was named best film. Uluçay's award winning short films include Optical Dreams, Making Wings From Crutches, Middle Of Our Village Is A Movie Theatre, Dream In Microcosmos, Pearl Is Under The Water, Epileptic Film, Picture Of The Feature Film, The First Morning Of Bairam In Our Village, and Exorcise.