It was the summer I got fleas. The summer of small sticky alleys, tooting of distant big ships, loud street sellers and piss stink stronger than the morning sun.
It was the summer of my first kiss.
This timelapse video gives you a close look at behind the scenes of one of my favorite parts in the teaser, where Kara meets her flea-ridden friend on the rooftops of Yesilcam. It is a continuous camera move where the animation began on the rooftops and ended on the floor, through the window of a tiny kiosk. The sets were taken out and light matched mid-shot to make it all happen.
Animated by the wonderful Dobrin Yanev, this shot took us about 3 weeks to complete, not counting the set building and prep time.
Kara is a journey I started a few years ago, knowing it would be a long one. After quietly working on writing and re-writing the script, finishing the concept teaser and a long sabbatical due to private family matters, we’re now taking the next step!
It will still be a while before we can share the inspiring work of a very talented crew on the teaser – though it is finished, certain deals in the works require confidentiality for now.
We will however start sharing more behind the scenes photos and videos like we used to. We start the series with pictures of parting from some of our lovely sets (not thrown away, just in long term storage). It’s sad to say goodbye but very exciting to make room for new things to come on Kara’s journey.
When I started writing Kara, I had imagined one day I would sit in Emek Sinemasi and watch the film that has this cinema and the surrounding Cercle d’Orient building at its heart. A film that remembers the days I spent in this building above the cinema, watching films through the tiny window of its projection room. That, it seems, will remain an unfulfilled wish. I read with frustration and sadness the news that Emek Sinemasi has been gutted and torn down yesterday. Fallen victim to gentrification and political ambitions.
The meaning of the sentence that opens up most Turkish fairy tales (and Kara, too) rings different today: Once there was one, then there was none (bir varmis, bir yokmus).
İstanbul may have served as the capital of many empires and she may have been called countless names: Byzantium, Constantinople, Lygos, Augusta Antonina, New Rome, Queen of Cities, The City, hē Polis, Kostantiniyye, Stamboul, Islambol, Gate of Felicity, Bâb-ı Âlî, The Doorstep.
But she is forgetting her name.
Final touch up in the studio before the shoot.
Susanna Jerger, as always, did a really nice job on this set with the colours especially in capturing the richness and dreamy quality of the colours of the inspirational. By adding multiple layers of paint and pencil work, she achieved very dense yet subtle textures.
The face of Yesilcam Street has changed in the last years drastically – and not for the better unfortunately. But we’re nostalgic people – we’re sticking to the good old days and taking inspiration from the first times we visited the street.
The Yesilcam Street set lives from the incredible attention our set builders gave to its many – many! – details. And they never grew tired of being asked to avoid right angles and exact parallels – without getting wobbly or amorphous shapes.
A pretty solid wooden construction was built for the houses to ensure that the set would not shift or shake – especially since we knew that during the shoot parts – roofs or single houses – would have to be removed mid-shot and reattached later several times. Preferably without causing major set shifts.
We had an inspirational design, a sketch and then glued and taped together another analogue blocking.
Now that everything is “done” (which of course still is not…), we finally get around to putting together more pictures from the set-building process.
Our most complex set – both in building and shooting – is the set of Yesilcam Street, Kara´s street. This street is based on a real location – except for the parts that are made up. Sinem, Kara´s alter ego, lived here in her youth and this is where Kara´s journey in Istanbul starts.
I will present the pictures in a loose chronological order – starting with one from one of our research trips to Istanbul, when I met Ayse Teyze, who was still alive and running her tiny kiosk on Yesilcam.