Interview With The Director: Hasan Kalender (“About Arif”)

The Best of Festival Cinema Invisible 2017

[People with Down Syndrome] only enjoy the moment and love people without any expectation. Isn’t it enough to live? Actually being happy is much easier than we think if we really want to be happy, and I’ll be glad if I can highlight this view through my movie.”

Interview with the Director: Hasan Kalender, “About Arif” (2016, Turkey)

 Hasan Kalender

“About Arif” (2016, Turkey) screens January 7, 2017 as part of the “Family Friendly” session at The Best of FCI Film Festival in Redding, CA.

Synopsis: Arif, a man with Down Syndrome, has a very special relationship with his mother and an important goal: dancing with a woman.

What inspired you to make this film?

“When I was a kid, among my friends, I used to feel most close to a kid with Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome are not cunning; they just have love for life. Therefore, I wanted to make a feature-length movie about people with Down Syndrome. The producers with whom I made feature-length movies before thought a movie about a person with Down Syndrome would not make money. I did not agree with them. I believed I could make a fun and powerful movie about them. In order to prove that, I wanted to make an emotional and powerful short movie about the people with Down Syndrome by using my own means, and I made ‘About Arif.’ The audience is to decide the success of that movie.”

What do you want American audiences to know about this film or about the subject matter?

“We are missing life because of the modern world. We all have to do certain tasks and we believe that life is all about doing these tasks; it is all about fulfilling our responsibilities. Right now I am thinking of my American friends; they are all in a rush to go to their workplaces and they will be again in a rush to go to work on time after the lunch. In the evening, they will be hurrying for tomorrow’s meeting etc. We are not aware of the fact that we are losing our humanistic sides while becoming a part of the system. However, for a person with Down Syndrome, the economics or the traffic does not mean much. Worrying for future does not make sense to them. They only enjoy the moment and love people without any expectation. Isn’t it enough to live? Actually being happy is much easier than we think if we really want to be happy and I’ll be glad if I can highlight this view through my movie.”

Is it difficult to make films in your home country?  Why or why not?

“It is really hard to make a movie in Turkey because the money you invest has almost no return. Only the popular soap operas made for consumption make a profit. These types of movies are generally comedies; they are replicas of each other aiming to entertain an audience which, indeed, is not interested in cinema. Therefore, making a quality movie is only possible through the movie funds, which are rather limited in Turkey.”

Is there anything else you want us to know about you as a director or about your film?

“’About Arif,’ focuses on a subject that is special to me. Actually, nowadays more people are curious about people with Down Syndrome since they get involved in social life more and more each day, which excites me about making a feature-length movie. I hope the movie will have an impact on the audience and it will draw the attention of the producers. Therefore, each festival we attend is quite rewarding for me. I would like to thank to ‘Festival Cinema Invisible,’ for providing us the chance to display our movie in California and New York.”

Director Bio:

Hasan Kalender studied cinema at D.E.Ü Faculty of Arts and has taken lessons at Ebru Ceylan’s scenario workshop. Kalender was an Assistant Director for two years before making commercial films.

His documentary film “Remainings of the History” was featured by the Documentary Movies Association (BSB) and has been screened in Europe. Kalender’s other films, “For One Last Breath” and “Last Decision,” which he made with the financial support of Ministry of Cultural Affairs, have won awards at both at local and foreign festivals, including the “Best Fiction” award at 48th Golden Orange Awards.

Kalender’s other projects include: Director, National Channel’s “Love Abroad” (2013-2014); Editing and Post-Production Supervisor,“Dairy Philosopher” (2014); and Director, “Sebahat and Melahat” (2015, Mint Production).

Kalender is currently working on new projects.



Festival Cinema Invisible has partnered with the Redding Chapter of Euprhates Institute and the Shasta County Arts Council to bring the two-day film festival, “The Best of FCI”, to Redding, California USA January  6th-7th 2017.

Films will screen from 6 pm-10 pm on Friday, Jan 6 and 12 pm – 10 pm on Saturday, Jan 7 at Old City Hall (1313 Market Street in Redding, CA).

Ticket options:

2-day, full-festival pass: $40
1-day pass: $25
1-session ticket: $10

Festival passes and tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite at :

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