Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan has won the Palme d’Or at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival ceremony on Saturday night for his film Winter Sleep, cinematography by Gökhan Tiryaki. The award-winning film, shot on a Sony CineAlta F65, tells the story of a family running a hotel in the snowy Turkish mountains of Cappadocia.
Shot over two months in spectacular scenery, with a four-week studio shoot in Istanbul. Ceylan’s films are known for their beautiful photographic shots and long takes, and the aesthetic appearance of his movies is of paramount importance. So his choice of cameras is extremely considered.
For Winter Sleep, Ceylan opted to shoot on a Sony CineAlta F65. “We made a comparison test before we started, and as soon as I saw the results I decided on the F65 as there was a huge difference with this camera. [It] is the first time I’ve seen something better than 35mm” he says.
“I stopped shooting 35mm years ago. My last four films have all been digital, and all four were shot with Sony cameras,” he says. “The first two were on the F900, and my previous film, Once Upon A Time in Anatolia, was shot on the F35.”
“We watched the results in 2K as we didn’t have 4K equipment at that time, and still there was a huge difference. The colours and everything were much more realistic, and I thought it would give me more freedom to reframe images if required as the quality is so high. That freedom I think is very important to a filmmaker.”
Rather than leaving the technical aspects of his production to others, Ceylan is a self-confessed control freak who takes great interest in every part of the production process and in all production kit. He even does his own grading.
“I believe directors should know at least something about technical things because if you don’t know the technical side you’re the slave of the technical people,” he says. “What I like about digital is I can control everything. For me, cinema is a way of telling truths by using artificial elements. Everything is artificial but the final result should tell something about the truth. Digital is great for me for controlling all these artificial elements – I can change the elements as I want to help the truth come through.”
“Before I used digital because of some practical reasons, but I continued to think 35mm was still better,” he adds. “But this time I believe the F65 is something better than that.”
Winter Sleep’s Cinematographer Gökhan Tiryaki has a long-standing working relationship with Ceylan, having first worked on Ceylan’s 2003 movie Climates. “This is my fourth movie with Nuri and shooting these movies has been a real cinema education for me; that’s the way I see it when I collaborate with him, I’ve learned a lot,” says Tiryaki.
“In order to decide which camera to use for this movie, we tried the F65 and a number of 2K cameras and found the F65 most appropriate both in terms of skin tones and display resolution.”
Ceylan added. “I thought 4K would give me more freedom to reframe images if required as the quality is so high. That freedom I think is very important to a filmmaker. The F65 is the best 4K camera around at the moment.”
The movie Winter Sleep is released worldwide in May 2014. To find out more, watch the behind the scenes here.
Excerpts from Press Releases