Foreign Film Submissions, 2015: Lost Birds (Turkey)

by HFPA December 5, 2015

Part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s mission is to foster greater understanding through world cinema. This year 72 Foreign Language films were submitted for Golden Globes consideration. Here is an overview of one of them.

Set against the backdrop of the First World War in a small Armenian village in Ottoman Anatolia, Lost Birds is a historical fairy tale told through the eyes of a young brother and sister left behind in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Bedo and Maryam’s happy home life is torn apart when their grandfather is apprehended and taken away by soldiers. Now, forbidden to go outside by their mother, one morning, the two children sneak away to play in their secret cave. But, when they return, they find their home and the entire village empty. Together, with the wounded bird they have been nursing back to health, the children embark on a perilous journey to find their mother.

Lost Birds is the first film to depict the great tragedy of 1915 that was made in Turkey. Brought to the screen by the five years of work, persistence and courage of the filmmakers Aren Perdeci and Ela Alyamac, who share writing and directing credits. Lost Birds handles the task of telling a very dramatic story in a fairy tale narative and this leads the audience to feel something magical yet so real at the same time.

Lost Birds has a poignant story and great performances from the young actors, as well as stunning and poetic visuals with beautiful music that sings to the soul. . It ends on a bitter-sweet note which resonates with the audience for days. The film is a labor of love that has been hand crafted for every small detail. Armenian actors, all decendents of the Ottoman Armenians give natural yet very powerful performances, opening a window to a time gone by.

The Ottoman Armenian life was recreated from great historical research. The film was shot in Capadoccia Turkey. The children’s family home was restored for one year along with the orphanage and the church.

Lost Birds was featured in American Cinematographer’s September issue, singing praises to it’s stunning cinematography. Lost Birds was the opening film at the Arpa International Film Festival and has received 3 awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award.

Aida Takla O’Reilly