Lifetime Achievement Award: Cüneyt Arkin
Cüneyt Arkin is a true popular icon in Turkey. In his 50-year career, he has starred in nearly 300 films. He represents the Turkish hero par excellence. Born in 1936, he participated in a competition organized by a film magazine, a popular platform for discovering new movie stars in the late ’50s. In the ’60s and ’70s, he made a few sentimental comedies before turning to more manly roles. He is often found, gun by hand, in hard-boiled crime flicks – never to mention grand martial historical epics, gladiator movies, even Westerns (a very popular genre in Turkey). Ottoman warrior, police inspector, heartbreaker, Turkish Davy Crockett, pirate, pistolero, paladin, urban champion... this man knows how to do everything!
In the 1960s, Arkin appeared in up to 24 films a year! He also quickly became his own producer, and financed and directed his own films, for which he often co-wrote the scripts. Whatever the film – whether in the seedy quarters of Ankara, in the medieval fortresses of Cappadocia, in the American West or on another planet – Arkin always remains Arkin: a taciturn, no-nonsense type, always ready to stand up for the little folks, confronting evildoers with a fist, scimitar, revolver or space weapon.
In 1982, Arkin starred in the world-renowned cult sensation THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD, the script for which he wrote himself. In the ’80s, he scripted his own productions and even directed several. With the 1990s, Turkish pop cinema experienced a decline, like that of European genre cinema, in the face of a surge of American productions that stifled the market. Arkin migrated to TV appearing in more serious productions and social programming. After appearing in numerous TV series, he published his memoirs in 2001. In 2006, he appears in DÜNYAYI KURTARAN ADAMIN OGLU, which is the pseudo-sequel to THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD.