Yurt (Dormitory)

A father discovers religion, his son pays the price.

Project type: Fiction Feature
Project status: Post-Production
Director/Writer: Nehir Tuna
Producer: Tanay Abbasoglu
Producer: Dorothe Beinemeier
Co-Producer: Thierry Lenouvel
Cinematographer: Florent Herry
Email: nehirjix@yahoo.com
Website: nehirtuna.com.tr
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Forced to leave the comfort of his middle class lifestyle at his father’s behest, twelve-year-old Ahmet is sent to an all-boys religious dormitory where he must navigate familial expectations, his religious obligations, and the childhood to which he so desperately clings.


Twelve-year-old Ahmet is devastated when his newly religious father sends him to an Islamic dormitory, a Yurt, to learn Muslim values. Recently converted, his father sees it as the righteous path for his son, and an opportunity for self-redemption. For Ahmet, it’s a nightmare.

In 1997, the political polarization in Turkey makes for a charged atmosphere, with tensions between religious and secular Turks increasingly present. Devout Muslim are ostracized, and religious dormitories, ”Yurt”s, are regularly raided by soldiers.

Ahmet works hard to be the “perfect son” but it isn’t easy. He has trouble fitting in with rough kids at the Yurt, and feels isolated in his day secular school, where he hides his new home from his classmates. His only solace is a new friend Hakan, a street-smart kid who knows how to work the Yurt system. Together they dream of being older and making their own decisions.

Their friendship emboldens Ahmet, who becomes a target for the ire of Yakup Hodja, the dormitory manager. Hodja resents Ahmet’s family wealth, and believes his father has bought his way into the religious leaders’ good graces. His cruel treatment of Ahmet escalates until Ahmet’s father is forced to take action; Hodja is transferred. Only then, Ahmet recognizes he will never meet his father’s expectations. He decides to escape; together with Hakan, they steal a car and run away.

What begins as the best day of their lives soon turns dangerous, and Ahmet is faced with a choice. Though neither his previous life nor the oppressive nature of the Yurt feel like home, he has to decide where he belongs.

Meet the Filmmakers

Nehir Tuna – Director/Writer
Nehir Tuna is a Turkish screenwriter and director whose work combines social commentary and an original visual aesthetic tackling stories on Turkey’s complex present-day issues, be it homosexuality or conservatism.

Tuna is a 2019 Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Fellow and 2018 Nipkow Fellow. He has written and directed seven short films, including The Shoes, a prequel to his forthcoming feature Yurt (Dormitory). He made short films in which he has undertaken the positions of director, screenwriter, editor, art director and the producer. Tuna is currently in the MFA Graduate Film Program at Columbia University and holds an MFA in directing from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Tuna’s work focuses on stories about young people who are raised under oppression and the impact of those traumas on their lives later on. His second feature project in development, Virgin Island, tells a story of sexually oppressed young man’s hunt for his own manhood in the context of a wild natural world.

Dorothe Beinemeier – Producer
Dorothe Beinemeier is a producer of children and family entertainment films as well as for international arthouse films and drama series, focusing on emerging talent. In 2016 Dorothe founded her own company RED BALLOON Film GmbH, and is producing children and family entertainment with maze pictures GmbH.

She was awarded best young producer in Germany (VGF – Nachwuchspreis) at Bavarian Film Awards for Boy 7 and has co-produced award-winning films such as My Giraffe, When I’m Done Dying and Al Garib.

Recently, Dorothe co-produced Bruno Dumont’s France which premiered in competition at 74th Cannes Film Festival.

Thierry Lenouvel – Co-Producer
Thierry Lenouvel is a French producer based in Paris. In 2001 Lenouvel created Cine-Sud Promotion, a company designed to promote art house films that deliver singular and important message on humanity and society under a strong cinematic form. Since then the company produced or co-produced 50 films with over 250 international awards. (Tirana Year Zero, Everyday is a Holiday, Los Silencios, etc)

Lenouvel is the co-founder and General Delegate of Cinemed (Mediterranean Film Festival), Montpellier (1980-1995), co-founder of Cinema in Motion/San Sebastian (2005-2012), Final Cut in Venice and is a decision maker in Torino Film Lab since 2013.

He is a member of CICAE (Art house theaters association), Fonds Sud Cinéma, EFA (European Film Academy), SPI (Syndicate of Independent Film Producers) and several international film festivals jurys.

Florent Herry – Cinematographer
French cinematographer born in Morlaix in 1963. In 1998, Herry started his collaboration with Reha Erdem, one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish directors, as cinematographer on Erdem’s first feature Run for Money Turkey’s official submission to the 73rd Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Since then, Herry kept working on all the following films directed by Erdem, providing for each of them a very refined and complex visual style which granted him many awards in the best festivals around the world such as Berlinale (Cosmos, 2009 Panorama Section, Jin 2013) and Venice Film Festival (Big Big World, 2016). Besides his successful collaboration with Reha Erdem, Herry has also worked often with documentary filmmaker Pierre Stine mainly in En Terre Inconnue documentary series.

Florent Herry is a member of SBC, the Belgian society of cinematographers.

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