“Heterotopia” is the first feature film project of
director and writer Veysel Celik and producer Assiye Alimci Celik.
After a two-year illegal immigration journey from Turkey to Germany, Ateş is continuing an asylum process in a refugee camp. Ateş learns that his home village will soon be flooded with dam water and a chest he buried in his village forces him to choose between his past and future.
Ateş(24), a Kurdish-Turkish rap singer, has been charged over an unjustified allegation. He is accused of making terror propaganda in his song lyrics. He decides to leave Turkey illegally because his passport is confiscated.
Ateş embarks on an illegal migration journey towards thousands of kilometers long and perilous European route used by refugees fleeing the war in the Middle East. During the dangerous escape journey, he learns with the news of his grandfather's death that his birthplace will soon be flooded by dam water.
After weeks of traveling across the Aegean border to Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, he is stuck in a prison-like immigrant camp in Hungary. He takes advantage of a mess and escapes. After days of a death march, he crosses Austria and turns himself into the police in Germany.
In Germany, he is housed in a refugee home. In search of freedom, he finds himself trapped within ever-shrinking boundaries. A lengthy asylum process begins for Ateş. Just like his roommates, a Syrian, an Afghan, and an African, he too is waiting for his official interview.
His first interview finally takes place weeks later. With the help of a translator, he tells the reasons for his flight from Turkey. In the second part, with an impressive interpretation, he tells the story of his childhood on the Turkish-Syrian border, where he buried the audio recordings of his Dengbej (storyteller) grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
There doesn't seem to be a problem with Ateş´ asylum application. But he is forbidden to leave Germany during the bureaucratic procedure. But Ateş is short on time to fulfill his grandfather's last will and rescue the buried chest from the village.
He will either give up his right to asylum and freedom or his memory and past.
Due to my childhood as a minority in a nation-state and my present life as an immigrant, my interest in the concepts of memory, identity and border constitute the basic building blocks of this film.
The fictional geography and characters in the film were born with the experiences and effects of the society that I lived in for 35 years. As the main character of the story, I was a person who dreamed of crossing the borders of the geography I lived in.
I built up this story based on my own experiences in the integration processes of my past 3 years as an immigrant in Germany. I think that empathy is the most important component in integration of different societies.
Using a fictional structure that proceeds from the result to the cause in the story, I invite the audience to observe the lives of others whose stories we do not know and therefore fear.
In a substantial part of the world, the collective memory of societies is faced with the threat of extinction or deformation. Relying on borders, humanity leaves everything behind. We are erased along with the places, languages and stories that we leave behind.
It is inevitable that a civil war in Syria will affect the socio-economic situation in Berlin. That’s why I make paintings of the uneasiness that we can’t take coherent steps to our lives while living in our comfort zone, and yet I can’t suggest any solutions.
Art is the most important tool in the struggle of people far from their homeland to maintain their existence through common memory and language.
HETEROTOPIA is a film that wants to add a story to today’s memory of humanity by creating a common language and emotion through stories and songs.
Veysel Celik, 2022
The film project HETEROTOPIA engages with a migration story that we have heard frequently in recent years, but those journeys we have not been able to witness fully in all details from the starting point to the destination.
We believe that this film will be a valuable structure in the integration efforts of European countries. This story will shed light on our empathy for what we cannot see. With similar words, Claudia Roth, Germany’s minister of culture, met with the artists at the end of 2021 and emphasised the importance of immigration and exile, homeland and cosmopolitan issues.
Veysel Çelik, who has experienced the integration processes in Germany, will be the scriptwriter and director of the project. As someone who has experienced the impact of migration the project is valuable as the director’s first feature film. Veysel Çelik succeeded in filmmaking by creating his own style, by trying different language-telling styles in storytelling.
National and international film festivals constitute the most important distribution part of this film. After the festival’s journey, the movie theatres and digital platforms both in Turkey and in Europe will be platforms where the film will be screened.
We plan to obtain the budget of the film with at least two international co-producers. Accordingly, the project will gain an international character through creative and financial partnerships.
The project received the scenario development support of the Turkey General Directorate of Cinema in January 2021.
With attending the platform Meetings on the Bridge – Film Development Workshop we worked out the potential of the film project. Now we are looking for opportunities to develop the script of Heterotopia.
Assiye Alimci Celik, 2022
Target Audience: AUDIENCE TURKEY AND EUROPE, INTERNATIONALFESTIVALS, 20-55 YEARS OLD
Total Budget: 900.000 €
Financing Already in Place: 26.000 €
Shooting Start: SPRING 2024