Hind Benchekroun, Sami Mermer
For anyone who travels, Istanbul has always been a hub and interlink point between Asia and Europe. The chaotic dynamics of current migration movements become visible across the cityscape – and especially in a place of seemingly mundane goings-on but where emotions are running high: the call shop. Migrants from western Africa, South Asia or the Arab world come here: immigrants, stranded souls, and others who have fled and are homeless, all of them looking for an affordable way to contact relatives in other parts of the world. The call shop is where arrangements are made that dictate the destination and future of the migrants; if and how they can make it through to the West, whether staying put or turning back seems the wiser option. The film is all about information and guidance, longing, worries, and love. Using visually striking tableaux, directing duo Hind Benchekroun and Sami Mermer let viewers eavesdrop on phone calls and ultimately accompany individual protagonists on their journey through this turbulent, transcontinental city – providing an enlightening change of perspective against the backdrop of the current discourse on today’s migration and human flight.
Film series ESC | CTRL
Awards for ›Callshop Istanbul‹
International Documentary Film Award – Duhok International Film Festival, Irak 2016 | Grand prix TV2M / Prix des droits humains – FIDADOC Agadir, Marokko 2016
Scriptwriter, director and producer Hind Benchekroun was born in Morocco and has lived in Montreal, Canada, since 1990. She started working in production in 1999, and already has several short films and documentaries to her name. Callshop Istanbul is her second full-length documentary, directed together with Sami Mermer. The duo’s first joint feature film, Turtles Do Not Die of Old Age, won the 2011 Grand Prix documentary prize at the Tetouan International Mediterranean Film Festival, Morocco.
Films by Hind Benchekroun (Selection)
Turtles Do Not Die of Old Age 2010 | Taxi Casablanca 2008 | The Little Girl From Before 2005 | Tea Time 2004 | Beings 2004
Sami Mermer is a Kurdish film-maker, born in Turkey. He studied mathematics and engineering in Turkey, then film at the University of Mesopotamia as well as French and Film Studies at the University of Quebec. He has since made several documentaries and feature films, including The Box of Lanzo, a documentary about the homeless in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He runs the production company Turtle Films with Hind Benchekroun.
Films by Sami Mermer (Selection)
The Extra 2011 | Turtles Do Not Die of Old Age 2010 | The Box of Lanzo 2007 | Exit 2005 | The Little Girl From Before 2005