Clouds is a tragi-comical docudrama that takes place in a small Aegean village in Turkey. It depicts the true story of a family comprised of an uncle, an auntie and their niece, from a neutral and humanistic standpoint. The film observes, for four years of their lives, the relationships between the characters and the events that unfold around them, trying to understand the aspects that contribute to, as well as hinder, the development of communal empowerment and local economic sustainability. Focusing on their daily narratives and the ensuing emotional impasses, it presents different modalities of existence each character establishes in order to survive and to persevere.
In 2014 I planned on shooting ‘Bulutlar’ for the very first time. I decided I wanted to shoot a short fiction movie based on the stories I heard from the Bulut family. That summer I was recovering from an injury in our summer house which, is located at the same village where the Bulut family resides. One day while observing Bulut family’s daily activity, I encountered the audial interaction taking part in between their cows. While the mother cow, who is inseminated every year so she can continue to give milk, was screaming to her kid while she was being milked. This reminded me
of why I chose to shoot movies in the first place, to capture experiences like these for which a photograph just wouldn’t suffice.
My cousin and I, then, decided to write a short script describing the daily lives of the Bulut family, which really drew attention to the socio-economic and political trajectory that Turkey, as a nation, was going through.
One long weekend, we decided to get on the road to start shooting. Although the family was quite enthused to start shooting, we never really got around to do so as it was a festive holiday that left the Bulut’s with a lot of errands to run. That evening I was sitting with a crew member, who told me about his past experience shooting a documentary about the Yezidi’s. He explained quite openly how similar this experience with the Bulut’s to that with the Yezidi’s. He mentioned that the Bulut’s really opened themselves up to them and made them feel at home with all their honesty,
genuinity, and grace. At that moment I realized I had to put aside my child-like ambitions to transform their lives into some fictional fantasy and rather fulfill my responsibility to repay their generosity and describe the reality of their lives in the most authentic manner. So I stayed up all night and watched everything we had shot so far and decided to make it into a documentary.
In the images I create, I am interested in representations of reality, how they are formed, and how they are applied to politics and aesthetics. How these realities are formed and the role that art plays in it is a major theme to my work. Hence, how something is told, is just as much as, or maybe even more, important than what is told. Content and form display a reciprocal relationship in which if one doesn’t work the other doesn’t as well.
In “Bulutlar”, I tried to examine the life of a family very closely for four years to lay out the events and the contradictions that surround the Bulut family. I tried to do so by focusing on the types of relationships we take on, and adapt to, that entail our basic instinct of survival . Whether
people are good or bad is an ancient question that still remains as a debate for the philosophers. However, my focus, rather than the good or the bad is the decisions we make everyday that is crucial to our survival. I rather chose to focus on the decisions rather than the nature, that intrigues
to inquiry into our dispositional qualities, and temperament. To do that I had to portray the truth and now my truth, but the truth of the lens, that’s something I always had to remind myself of. I had to reflect the truth and the warmth and honesty of the Bulut Family both conceptually
The village the story takes place in, is surrounded by mountains and a lake, that creates a level of seclusion from society. This allowed me to capture a small panorama of contemporary Turkey, but also led to a more scattered shooting arrangement that made it difficult to develop an efficient framework around time and content. Therefore my editor Ayris and I came to the conclusion that the events surrounding the Bulut family, would be handled with the same homogeneity and transparency as a “cloud” (Bulut in Turkish) in the sky. To do so, first we edited the events autonomously, which allowed us to shape the forms of the scenes based on their content. Only after creating each scene autonomously did we go on about deciding how these parts will come together.
Artist, director and curator, Iyem is the co founder of Taseron Independent Art Initiative and the creative director of Evin Art Gallery. He studied film and photography at the University of Miami between 2006 and 2009, and graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University Film and Television Department in 2011 as a salutatorian. He completed his masters at the University of Kent at Paris, with the thesis titled The Relevance of Brecht: a Case Study of Differentiation Techniques on Contemporary Media. He has attended summer film school at FAMU, Abbas’ and Richard Kalvar’s photography workshops at MAGNUM. His works were published in various magazines and books, and shown in mixed exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. He lives and works in Istanbul.
Founded in 2018, H.E.R. Media is a media company that primarily focuses on film production. H.E.R. Media also further investigates various analytic media ventures, such as data management analyses, to diversify and establish a scientific understanding of sectoral properties.