Öte, which means beyond in Turkish, follows Lela, a Black woman backpacking across Turkey on her way to Armenia to meet up with a friend. The story happened organically over a series of conversations at the height of the pandemic lockdowns. After two years of isolation, naively, we believed making an art film that required us to travel across Turkey and parts of Armenia seemed like a great idea. Very rarely are Black women in the United States the subject of narrative films — in many ways, they are culturally invisible. However, while traveling overseas, Black women are conspicuous. Öte is more about facing doubts and insecurities. If this work touches even one person meaningfully, we have succeeded. In many ways, art-making is a lot like life: an endless search for meaning. Perhaps through art, we learn to master ourselves.
Director: Malik Isasis & Esra Saydam
Running time: ‘108
Language: English & Turkish
Production: Eda Çarıkçı, Esra Saydam, Malik Isasis
Starring: Iman Artwell-Freeman, Eren Alici, Gülsüm Ölgen, Ziya Sudançikma
Film year: 2023