Award-winning movie ‘The Visitor’ to represent Turkey in Haifa

“Misafir” (The Visitor), the second feature film by Turkish director Mehmet Eryılmaz, has been chosen for the maincompetition at this year's Haifa International Film festival, which will be marking its 31st year from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5, the director's publicist announced this week.

“Misafir,” which won a Special Grand Jury Award and the prize of the international film critics' jury last week at the Montreal World Film Festival, is the sole Turkish production in the 14-title international competition in Haifa, according to a press release issued on Monday.

With a mother-and-daughter relationship as its central theme, “Misafir” follows the story of young mother Nur as she returns to her parents' home, from where she was thrown out 10 years ago, upon learning about her ailing mother.

It will face competition for the Golden Anchor prize in Haifa from such international festival favorites as Romanian director Radu Jude's “Aferim!” and Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase's “Sweet Red Bean Paste,” among others. Last year that prize went to Nuri Bilge Ceylan's “Kış Uykusu” (Winter Sleep).

Eryılmaz, who was in Toronto on Tuesday to present “Misafir” in two special screenings as part of the Turks@TIFF program on the sidelines of this year's Toronto Film Festival, is set to attend the Haifa gala of his movie on Sept. 30. A second screening is set for Oct. 2.

Two other recent internationally acclaimed titles from Turkish directors -- “Ana Yurdu” (Motherland) by Senem Tüzen and “Sarmaşık” (Ivy) by Tolga Karaçelik -- will also be shown in Haifa as part of the festival's “East of the West” program.