Episode 129: Faces of Turkey

In travel or in our daily lives, at restaurants or at markets, we pass by others, forgetting that all the people we interact with are just like us… human: full of happiness and pain and hope. In Turkey, we tried to take an extra moment to “see” some of the food producers that make up this wonderful country.

  • Judy in Canada

    oh my gosh!! Best ever–thanks so much

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks Judy!

  • Robbie Swinnerton

    What a magnificent country! And what a great people. Thanks for this!!

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks Robbie! It was really nice to talk to you and your wife about the video in Copenhagen when you got the sneak peak! Let us know if you ever make it to the states! It would be really nice to meet again.

  • Alison Newberry

    Wonderful! I am so impressed with how many people you were able to get for this video. It definitely speaks to the rapport that you must build with the people you encounter–well done. I also really loved the shot of the man carrying the tea up the stairs. Mira, how are you able to keep the subject in focus and the camera so still? My attempt at a shot like that would make everyone seasick!

    • Mirra Fine

      Hey Alison, Thank you! I asked him to wait as I put him in focus before he ran up the stairs. But keeping him in focus and not having much shakiness was some sort of miracle.

      • Alison Newberry

        Thanks for your reply, Mirra. Did you run up the stairs with him? Or did you stay put and change your focus as he moved away from you? In some of the videos shot in your kitchen, you make a few appearances, and I see you have an apparatus to hold your camera. What is your setup? Are you happy with it?

        • Mirra Fine

          In that shot, I ran up the stairs behind him (and then through the market). Sometimes we use a hand rig (the Berkey System Shoulder Mount)…but in that instance, Im thinking I just held the camera in my hands. In general, I really like the shoulder mount for interviews where we are walking around/moving. But hand held gives you more flexibility. We also use a tripod for still shots.

          • Alison Newberry

            Thanks, Mirra. You are so talented–both technically and creatively. I always get excited when I see one of Daniel’s emails announcing a new video in my Inbox to see what you two have come up with next. You always manage to impress. Bravo to you both!

          • Mirra Fine

            Thank you so much Alison! That is really kind of you.

  • Judith

    This is great.it feels very real and natural..thank you!

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks Judith!

  • Deniz Milasli

    This is a great film, but it doesn’t represent all Turkish people. You have taken only the part of the society which is more traditional, maybe because that is more interesting for you, more exotic not like us. But if you want to show the people of Turkey you have to show all types of people, not just from the villages and the South-East.

    • danielpklein

      no film can represent ALL people. That being said, more than half of the footage from this film was taken in Istanbul.

      • Ibrahim

        Deniz is right. Whoever goes to Turkey, they always take a picture or video that shows extreme people and views. We know not any film can represent all people but it should cover at least 50 % !

        • Mirra Fine

          Hi Ibrahim,

          Im not sure which parts of the video is being missed when you and Deniz watched it. A large majority of it features people from Istanbul, Gazientep, Urfa… modern and young people. Definitely not just from the villages. I recommend you watch it again.

          They are all food producers. I think we did a really good job of capturing a wide range of people.

          • Ayşen

            This is perfectly what Turkey is.. This is a very good example to show that Turkey is not the one shown in the Turkish soaps like Aşkı Memnu and others.. Do you think the life in the soaps is Turkey and shows the reality? What is the percentage of people living a life like the ones in the soaps? I think this is a very good work and shows the reality of Turkey.. Congratulations..

          • emeraldray

            These are not faces that make up the country these are faces that make up only a certain portion of the food industry. There is a whole group of artists, hipsters, businessmen and women, actors, socialites, students that are not represented here. I can assure you that while the faces you captured may be young they are not modern. These are the typical faces of street vendors and traditional turkish food manufacturers and I do agree this is very representative of this particular crowd. What about ottoman court restaurants, meyhanes and fish restaurants, bistros and brasseries, burger joints, chain restaurants, shopping mall food courts that are in abundance in big cities and where a big majority of the actual ‘young and modern’ crowd eat at. I believe this is a very well made video with beautiful shots of people and places that tourists want to see (I am more specifically speaking for Istanbul and other big cities) but definitely doesn’t represent an accurate picture of what I, my friends and family, or people we know would think of as their life on a daily basis. Instead of being so defensive as a foreigner you should take the criticism of actual ‘young modern’ turkish people and accept that you filmed where you ate, what YOU saw, but did a damn good job putting it together. All the best.

          • danielpklein

            we never said it was “THE faces of turkey” just “faces of turkey” – as in some, although many. I’m just shocked and saddened that a movie that was meant to shout “We Love Turkey!” was received by some as something other than that. It’s sad because we came away from Turkey in love with the people, the city, the food… but after the comments, I feel that maybe “modern” Turkey isn’t proud of this great country and culture. I will be turning off comments now, thank you for watching – but its ironic that a film that was meant to make people stop and consider that we are all humans, no matter where we are from or what we do was responded to with “These people are not Turkey.”

        • betulada

          by 50%, what do you mean actually? However a Turkish person may seem modern, be sure that most of the country is still traditional…

    • Murat Uzn

      i support you deniz,that s movie does not represent all types of people,when i watch the movie,i cant see the west part’s people?lahmacun,doner,tea,and worker child,is that Türkiye???

      • tarao

        Westeners are mostly attracted by exotic people and traditions, they tend to ignore the modern part of foreighn countries thinking they’re just an Insipid copy of western civilisation. They can’t accept the fact that modernity is not theire own anymore, taht it is cosmopolitan and multiple

    • Ziyad Zaitoun

      I love this video, the producer did a great job. Deniz Milasli expect miracle in 3:55 min.

  • Claire Bray Schrider Huisken

    What is the name of the beautiful song playing in the background?

    • Mirra Fine

      Hi Claire — It’s “Kicked down the Road” by James Wallace and the Naked Light. It’s wonderful, huh?

  • CJ the cat

    Your photography is fantastic. What a great reminder of how the people of the world as so similar.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks CJ… thats what we were trying to convey. Also that the people of Turkey are so kind, wonderful, amazing…

  • Lula

    I was so happy watching this thank you.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks Lula!

  • Alex

    I visited recently …Instantly I was transported back…thanks

    • Mirra Fine

      How cool… we cant wait to go back.

  • Santiago

    wow, hermoso!

  • Lisa Tygier Diamond

    Excellent as always! Great filming, music and visually delicious as yall capture the true essence of the people in their environment allowing us to join them! Tysvm!

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks Lisa!!! I really appreciate it.

  • davidbenjaminkopp

    Really wonderful you guys. It’s like I’m standing right there in front of them. Thank you so much!!!

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks David! That’s what we were shooting for.

  • Myreallifekitchen

    simply beautiful.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thank you!

  • HASAN A.

    I wish you did this work before US went in to Iraq
    I wish you would go and do something similar to Syria & Iran before babies killed again by EMPERYALISM & MULTI NATIONALS..

  • Murat Hakan Karatas

    this film doesnt represent my country ( TURKIYE not TURKEY ) at all..its most likely syrian and iraqi border I guess..anyway..you guys shoot what you really like to see not the dominant exposure..interest groups issue:) come to TURKIYE again..

    • Mirra Fine

      Hi Murat,

      The film was shot in Istanbul, Kars, Gazientep and Urfa. Thanks!

      • Cem Ekingen

        its like last 007 movie, Istanbul seems like a city that in Arab countries 100 years ago,

  • Murat Hakan Karatas

    the guy WHO says that films was taken in İstanbul should have no idea about istabul..its like shooting film in mars and saying its moon:)

    • JakeDOlson

      Murat Bey, I understand that you think this film misrepresents the business/industrial side of Turkey, but the whole series is about FOOD. Dude, what do the people look like who grill your kebap and bake your borek? In Adana, they looked like the beautiful, friendly, loving people in this video.

      I’d like to see the artistic value of a video of teenagers with adidas backpacks eating supersized fries at Burger King, watching x-men in the cinemas and drinking frapicinos at Starbucks, but that’s globalist culture, and has little or nothing to do with Turkish cuisine.

      After living there for 8 years, I now live in a town of 3000 in northern Minnesota and grieve that it’s overrun with globalist fast food (you can get the same Pizza Hut, and McDonalds here that they have in Adana and I hate it.) There is little or no Swedish immigrant culture left here – certainly little or none in terms of cuisine. Spending time in Hatay, Adana and Istanbul has made me want to reconnect with my roots more, and that’s a beautiful thing. just like this video.

      • Şamil

        I agree with you. Murat bey you should proud of this video that’s showing Turkish food culture made from a kind of food company. Isn’t it normal?

  • Wendi

    Loved this. I lived in turkey for two years and this felt perfect in representation.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks so much Wendi!

  • Cem Ekingen

    surely it dos not all faces of TURKIYE .. This shows all sub-cultures, east people of Turkey, undeveloped sides faces where is the west – south people, where is the modern faces, where is he shaved faces of Turkey, where is the beatiful women, girls of Turkey, where is the beaches – beach paties, where is the writers, jurnalist, tv people, art people etc. this is typical political
    film what western people wants to see in Turkey.

    • Aykut

      Who cares about the writers, the beaches, the art people? It’s a website about food man.. It’s not a general documentary about Turkey, it’s about faces of people you see everyday when you eat or drink something..

      • Cem Ekingen

        I do not see that rubbish everday when iam eating or drinking.

  • Richard Murgatroyd

    Great video consistent with what you always said you’d do – bringing “socially responsible and adventurous eating” from the world to our attention. I’m not sure you ever claimed your videos to be a comprehensive and exhaustive study of any country’s culture . But I for one think it shows a beautiful side to Turkey and Turkish people and inspires people to want to find out more. If you came to England I would expect you to focus on our more traditional communities and customs, grass roots, and the things that make England different from anywhere else and that is what you have done here. Keep inspiring us…

  • M. Kamil Göl

    Beautifully shot. I’m amazed with the comments of some people who seem to be embarrased with the sincere smiles of native people of my country. Nice touristic beaches and hotels and skyscrapers and malls and shish kebap+raki and etc. can not tell anything more than these sincere smiles of my beloved country. The longest distance is the distance between the brains of two people. These scenes, which are beautifully shot does not obscure the modernization of Turkiye. As it is within all the countries of the world, people of my country forms an amazing, awesome mozaic. We should be proud of it. Thank you all.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thank you so much!

  • Jon

    Good luck on this intercultural travel! I enjoyed a lot when I travelled into Istambul about three years ago, and I came back dreaming with the fresh kitchen they have, always with fresh vegetables and mint on their salads, and the nice views to the Bosphorus having eating fish… very different to the idea we have at western Europe from the Turkish kitchen. Even tasting some fresh a nice white wines.

  • Eledamiri

    Beautiful scenes, beautiful people, beautiful food. Beautiful film after all, but the title is a little bit off in my opinion. Turkey has 7 regions, all of which have different cultures thus different cuisines thus different “faces”. You barely cover 2 of these regions that makes nearly 30% Turkish cuisine. Nice try though.
    Cinematography is hands down amazing. I hope you make this as a series and continue covering other regions’ faces. I suggest Black Sea region next, they have fantastic food.

  • Burcukale

    I am really surprised by the comments from turkish people who felt like humiliated. Of course this short film cannot represent all the regions and cultures in the whole country, and as far as I understand this is not the thing they are into… I really enjoyed it, and feel like proud from the sincere, heart warming smiles of my people. And to be honest this is the general picture of my country… Turkish people who left some comments here should not forget they are just a lucky minority within the whole population and I suggest them to travel more within Turkey and meet some locals there.

  • Ilke

    Wonderful… Brought tears to my eyes… Thank you:)

  • Leo

    This has just made me all the more a proud resident of Turkey. Very nice

  • gulten

    Amazing, so warm, so real so sweet, thank you guys !!!

  • Sarah Kenney

    We just recently came back from Istanbul and I have a series of photographs on my blog ‘thyme’. These are very similar scenes that I captured also. I, too, had a few comments suggesting I only captured a “segment” of the city. If I did…I had no idea I did. I just captured what attracted my eye. I think in the U.S. everything is so contemporary in appearance that when we travel to a country with so much history, we are intrigued by the parts of the culture that seem so different from that of ours. I recognized so many of your scenes. What a beautiful moment when each person’s eyes twinkled and a smile appeared on their face. I loved this video.

  • Türk06

    All of American or EU peoples , I’m so curious how can u find not normal things in Türkiye and show us like this ? I’m living in Türkiye but ı never understand American and EU peoples why like take video of bad situation places ? Do you think all EU or America is perfect ? or in America and EU all countryside and villages as like american films ? Thank u, ur good video show to my country all bad side , u make a GOOD JOB.

    • JakeDOlson

      You should check out some of the videos from Season 1 – shot in Daniel’s home state of Minnesota. http://www.theperennialplate.com/episodes/2010/05/episode-8-lucan-mn/ the goal of these videos has not been to show a total cross section of all the people, but to showcase the people who work hard behind the scenes to make the food we eat every day possible and to tell their stories.

      Maybe one of the reasons that these types of videos are so powerful is that a foreign tourist or videographer or or photographer sees beauty and skill and mastery in the faces and lives of people who have been treated like they don’t matter their whole life. I think that’s awesome.

      I’ll never understand how some Turkish people can be so proud of their country and so ashamed of it’s people and it’s culture. Ataturk was not like that.

  • Turk

    Turkish people criticizing this video, who are you? Tourists in your own country? This is your country and deal with it. Filmmakers don’t have any responsibility for showing “all” of the aspects of a country or anything. They only have responsibility to tell the “truth”. And these a are the true faces of Turkey. So again, deal with it. Go outside and see you fellow countrymen and women.

  • Aykut

    Very nice video. Who seriously cares about seeing modern people in Turkey? We all know they exists, but modern people are the same everywhere around the world..
    What would be the point of showing these men/women ? What is really interesting is to show the faces of people that you cannot see in other countries..

  • deniz

    Hey Turks, get rid of your inferiority complex and embrace what we have! Those know Turkey and Turks know the other intellectual, modern, civilized face as well. Why do we so much feel the urge to explain ourselves? It makes no sense. These scenes are very real and very close to life. Just love it!

  • salih

    it’s a disgrace that you did not show a single glass sky scrape, night clubs and restaurants by the Bosphorus, people in Taksim squire, some expensive sport cars and bikes, etc…this video was shot just because humiliate Turkish people! – I’m just being sarcastic for the hesitating comments below. very good video and sincere and plain people with beautiful smile that you can see all around… Good job! thanks..

  • Olivia Yehling

    My husband & I lived in Incirlik/Adana area for 5 1/2 years. Loved the pic of the people & food. We traveled extensively through out Turkiye. There is nothing better than ekmek cooked over a wood fire. They even had wood fires in the restaurants for cooking the flat bread. We shopped nearly every week at the local veggie market. The veggies & fruit never tasted better. Everything picked at the height of ripeness. We loved the food of Turkiye & had many food friends. The Turkish folks who did not think this segment was not representative of Turkyie need to travel their own country & experience it. I must say though the best fried chicken I have ever had was in downtown Ankara. Loved the little restaurants that served traditional food It was all wonderful. Love your clip. Could have maybe slowed it down. Thanks

  • BJ Lukken

    Wonderful! It is the Turkey I remember from the ’60′s when I was privileged to reside in Turkey
    for a few years. The photos of the delicious food also brought back many great memories.
    Thank You!

  • Christie

    Lived outside Adana for two years. Gorgeous country!! Miss the food and the amazing hospitality of the people! It was an amazing experience!! I can honestly say i wish i still lived there!!

  • USchick

    Love this video!! I feel like I am back in Turkey again, having lived in Izmir for a year and spent two summers in Istanbul.

  • gcb

    That’s interesting to see the foreigners leaving such positive comments whereas most of Turkish people critisize the video for being unrealistic. But as we know, that’s exactly what Istanbul is. I congratulate the makers of the video and would like to state that even that being traditional is considered as a sign of underdevelopment in Turkey, actually it is a great characteristic of our society which we should be proud of. Of course, there is a contemporary side of Istanbul and Turkey. If I was a tourist in Istanbul though, I also wouldn’t look for contemporary which is a thing that you may find almost everywhere throughout the world. P.S: Yes! Our food is the best!

    • danielpklein

      Thank you for your comment. However, to characterize the Turkish response as negative is not true. We have actually gotten dozens of comments and emails from Turkish people sharing their love for this video. Many have spoken about the tears and the pride they have. Just the fact that people let us take all these pictures is a testament to the greatness and openness of Turkish people.

      The unhappy comments are also not true in this case. Even after those negative comments, we believe this is a very balanced video. More than half of the people featured are IN the big cities. I think there are one or two jaded (perhaps prejudiced) folks who were looking for criticism in our work. These are close ups of people, so how can you even tell that they aren’t modern? Some of the women are wearing head scarves because of food safety, others for religious reasons, and several women aren’t wearing head scarves at all. Also, this is a collection of food workers, not business people – the majority of these were taken in Istanbul, including at world famous restaurants. I think the few negative commentors should re-visit the video and see the smiles and the diversity and understand that we are showing many sides of the country (although no business men or folks going to the club or fast food – because this is about the people behind TURKISH food).

  • Hulya Aksu

    Would it make anyone happier if they included the topless sun bathers in Bodrum? Is that what is missing. I totally disagree about misrepresentation of the Turkish people. I loved the video. It reminded me how diverse our beautiful country and people are. Some parts I thought I was seeing Pakistan but guess what.. it is Turkey. I loved it. Good for you guys. Perfectly shot, beautiful message and lovely editing. Traditionally, beautifully and deliciously Turkish.

    • Mirra Fine

      Thanks so much Hulya!

  • Meliha

    My people: full of happiness and pain and hope…

  • Deniz

    It was lovely thank you but do you know we have a fashion week, jazz festivals, some nice nightclubs, the Bosphorus and some delicious food with olive oil?? Obviously we have kebab but you know this video was nice but unconsummate :) I can help you for everything thank you again and again.

    • Mirra Fine

      Hi Deniz, Thank you — but it was not about that. It was about capturing the food producers we met in Turkey — their warmth, kindness, openness… And for that, we feel very good about the film we created. Thanks again.

  • Murat Aksu

    Whomever made this video, thank you for your efforts, your hard work and your initiative. Those who criticize are free to make their own video with the images they like. Reminds me of my successful Guinness World Record for the Longest Shish Kebab in DC Turkish Festival. Spectators of Turkish origin in the crowd were disappointed that it was not longer. I wanted to say to them “If you know better how come I am the one breaking the Guinness World Record and not you.”

  • Daniel

    I’m an American who has lived in Turkey for about six years and have traveled all over the country. I am also quite sensitive to attempts, whether by journalists, academics, filmmakers, etc., to portray Turkey as the quintessential “other,” that is, something that is foreign and exotic – good for vacations, but little else.
    That being said, I honestly do not understand the criticisms of some of the people who didn’t enjoy this brief look at a wonderful country and wonderful people. I think this episode was beautifully filmed and arranged.

    Ellerinize sağlık! (lit. “health to your hands,” said when someone has done anything worthy of praise)