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How Films Cross Borders when People Can't
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

Nothing is finer than to meet fellow journalists, who are at political odds with our own countries and then to find common ground with each other, while striving to overcome those restricted boundaries. This year both Turkey and the United States decided that we, the citizens, don’t have the freedom to travel to each other’s country. Both countries are now struggling with politicians that are not open to other countries telling them what to do. Despite the fact that the governments have chosen to close their doors, people are still trying to stay open and tolerant. Standing in the Hyatt, looking for a taxi to get the cinema quickly to see The Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, I met a young enthusiastic and congenial Turkish man by the name of Turgay Seçkin Serpil from Istanbul.

It was extraordinary that within a few minutes I found out that he was a Fide (World Chess Federation) Instructor as well as a member of the Turkish Chess Federation Law Commission since 2016. He is the captain and administrator of the Modaspor Chess Club since 2009 as well as teaching blind children to play as well.

This, naturally, would be important to someone who plays chess or knows someone who does, namely, my son. He also said that he has been a lawyer since 2014 as well as having a master’s degree in cinema and has been a television member of the Turkish Chess Federation Law Commission since 2016. He began to tell me that he had an older sister who studied at the university and, thanks to her, he learned to love education. We both loved Wes Anderson’s film and he gave me a hint of some of his other favorite films at the Berlinale: Das schweigende Klassenzimmer, Dovlatov, Khook and The Happy Prince. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of these films since there were so many others to check out, but I am sure I will see him in the upcoming years. For those who speak Turkish, here is his website: