My Name is Happy
WINNER: YOUTH JURY AWARD
WINNER: IMPACT DAYS
"A compelling protagonist... using her voice as a powerful, defiant instrument of protest"
"This inspirational yet sobering documentary confronts the shocking prevalence of femicide in Turkey... despite these dark realities, the film remains a hopeful and optimistic watch"
"The film is a warm family portrait and at the same time a merciless attack on a legal system and a state that does not protect women. It shows love, unity and not least the fight for justice"
"There are all the elements of a classic hero’s journey here..... My Name Is Happy
is an urgent film, raising a voice which needs to be heard"
EYE FOR FILM
"The pop star finds a way to pursue justice for her sister, and reach a sense of independence once more"
"A tale of remarkable resilience... inspirational and patiently powerful"
‘My Name is Happy’ tells the inspirational story of a Kurdish teenager, Mutlu Kaya, who comes from a remote community in South East Turkey.
Aged 19, stardom beckoned when she reached the finals of Turkey’s Got Talent. Days later she was shot by a man trying to abduct her. Against the odds, Mutlu survived, but with
life-changing injuries and a bullet in her brain.
Still recovering, Mutlu cannot escape the reality of escalating attacks against Turkish women:
her carer & sister Dilek is killed by her boyfriend, and a neighbour is murdered by her fiance. Despite her disability, Mutlu relentlessly pursues justice for her sister, supported by her
ever loyal family: mother Hanim, elder sister Songul & brother Hakan.
Evoking the story of Mallalah, Mutlu turns to Tik-Tok and her 1.8 million followers
for support, and articulates her righteous anger by writing & recording
a deeply personal protest song.
Mutlu means 'happy' in Turkish.
Mutlu urgently wants to share her narrative with young women around the world. We want to give her the stepping stones to amplify her voice and catalyse change.
She and the filmmakers seek a social, political and judicial sea change in attitudes towards women in Turkey and to create a greater understanding of the legacy of extreme violence.
As importantly the film will create a meaningful legacy for Mutlu: to fund much needed care and therapy, and to support her journey with the film. Currently she is receiving medical treatment due to her lack of mobility - the injuries she suffered 7 years ago still define her choices. Our impact campaign aims to change that.
The filmmakers are working in partnership with Impact Producers Think Film Impact, and outreach partners Turkey Mozaik Foundation (UK) to deliver these Impact goals, suppoprted by Storyboard Collective. Find out more about them here:
THE FILM MAKERS
Ayse Toprak is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has an MA in Media Studies. From 2011, she worked extensively for Al Jazeera in Turkey, London and Doha, producing social and political documentaries in the Middle East. In 2016 Ayse began work on her first feature documentary, MR GAY SYRIA. The film has screened at over 70 international festivals winning 14 awards, most of which were granted for enlightening human rights.
Meryem Yavuz studied cinema at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. In 2009, she was selected for Berlinale Talent Campus. Her first feature film as a cinematographer, TWO LINES premiered at Venice Film Festival. DEBT was awarded Best National Film Prize at Istanbul Film Festival. PASSED BY CENSOR won FEDEORA award at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. She was accepted into the American Society of Cinematographers Vision Mentorship Program in 2020
Anna has been BAFTA-nominated three times for Editing Factual: 2022, 2021, 2018. She has cut a wide variety of documentaries including Pandemic 2020; Persona; The Surgeon’s Cut ; Once Upon A Time in Iraq; Dolly Parton: Here I Am; The Trial of Ratko Mladic (Grierson Award for Best International Documentary in 2019; Tokyo Idols (Storyville); Dark States (Louis Theroux); Life & Death Row; Wonderland; Horizon; Our War; and Educating Yorkshire for Channel 4.
Nick Read is an EMMY & BAFTA nominated filmmaker known for making acclaimed observational documentaries, many in remote or high-risk locations (INSIDE ISRAEL'S JAILS; SLUMDOG CHILDREN OF MUMBAI; THE CONDEMNED etc). His work has won multiple international awards. His most recent film, BOLSHOI BABYLON, premiered at TIFF and was long listed for BAFTA & Academy awards.
Siobhan Sinnerton's recent feature documentary , FOR SAMA, was nominated for an Oscar and more than 30 major awards including best documentary at Cannes, BAFTA, Hot Docs, Grierson, BIFA, and SXSW. Other credits include: BAFTA-nominated THE HUNT FOR JIHADI JOHN; Rory Peck award-winner THE BATTLE FOR HONG KONG; BAFTA and RTS award-winning MYANMAR’S KILLING FIELDS; and the Emmy award-winning ESCAPE FROM ISIS. Formerly commissioning editor, News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, Siobhan has recently joined new prodco Hidden Lights.
Executive producer for October Films Adam Bullmore is also company Managing Director. Productions include: THIS IS FOOTBALL (Amazon), WALKING WITH ELEPHANTS (Channel 4 & Animal Planet) EIGHT DAYS THAT MADE ROME (Channel 5), OPERATION STONEHENGE (BBC2, CBC, Smithsonian, France 5, ORF and ZDF), WORLD WAR II From Space (History), THE MAN WHO KILLED MICHAEL JACKSON (C4, Zodiak, ABC and MSNBC) and SPYING ON HITLERS ARMY (C4, PBS and Foxtel)
Mahmut Kaya, based in Istanbul, is regarded as one of the most experienced local producers & fixers in Turkey. With over 20 years’ experience of working with UK & US documentary crews, his credits include Unreported World, CBS 60 Minutes, BBC This World and multiple independent productions. He & Nick worked on an award-winning BBC film about polygamy in S.E. Anatolya. Mahmut also acts as an official ‘host’ for visiting production teams, facilitating filming permissions from Turkey’s Ministry of Culture.
Monica Garnsey is a specialist in international documentaries filmed in hostile environments and featuring vulnerable contributors. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards: Iraq’s Secret Sex Trade, for the BBC and PBS Frontline, won two EMMYs, and is Grierson-nominated; Taliban Country, for Frontline, won best Video Journalist and was nominated for 2 x News Emmys in 2021; ‘Return from Isis’ Panorama and Frontline, was Emmy nominated in 2021.
FESTIVAL SCREENINGS & AWARDS
OFFICIAL SELECTION - FRONT LIGHT SECTION
INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM
SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER: Human Rights/ Human Wrongs Award
HUMAN INTERNATIONANL FILM FESTIVAL, OSLO
WINNER: Storyboard Collective Impact Award
WINNER: PGI Youth Jury Award
KRAKOW FILM FESTIVAL, POLAND
WINNER: Golden Horn - Best Feature Documentary
WINNER: Program Award
AJB BALKANS DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL, SARAJEVO
DOKUFEST FILM FESTIVAL, KOSOVO
PORDENONE FILM FESTIVAL, ITAL,Y
DOC EDGE IDFF NEW ZEALAND
RHODOPE IDFF, BULGARIA
September 15th - 22nd 2023
SEVIL FILM FESTIVAL, AZEBAIJAN
September 15th - 22nd 2023
GOLDEN ORANGE FILM FESTIVAL, ANTALYA
October 11-22 2023
HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL, BERLIN
October 16-22 2023
MEDIA FESTIVAL MAN IN DANGER. LODZ, POLAND
October 25-November 1 2023
FILMFEST FRAUENWELTEN, BERLIN
November 29-December 10th 2023
SOLIDARITY FILM FESTIVAL, TEL AVIV
December 1st-10th 2023
THIS HUMAN WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS FF, VIENNA
TBC January 2024