Private Project

Who is Mihri

  • berna gençalp
  • yonca ertürk
    rimos and zimos, where is firuze, siren's call
  • berat ilk
  • Berna Gençalp
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Kim Mihri
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Art, woman, history
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 10, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    France, Italy, Turkey, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - berna gençalp

Berna Gençalp holds BA and MA degrees in Film and Television.
She has attended international workshops on scriptwriting at Mediterranean Film Institute in
Greece and Katapult in Hungary. With her script The Wig Story, she was invited to Berlin Film
Festival Talent Campus and Antalya Film Festival. In 2104, she presented a paper with the
title Construction of the Self in Kerime Nadir and Agatha Christie: I am not your cliché at the
international symposium, entitled Women's Lives: Auto/biography, Life Narratives, Myths and
Historiography. Her poetry appeared at distinguished literary journals.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The Structure
The feature documentary starts with Director Berna’s curiosity on the artist Mihri. Mihri’s story,
which was full of gaps, contradictions and rumours, intrigues Berna and she goes after to find
out a more through version. As a storyteller Berna has noticed that Mihri’s story was
contradicting the female roles promoted in traditional narratives (tales, tv commercials, news
items); everything Berna (and her mother and her grandmother) has grown up with... And Mihri
was presented as a miserable victim. But was she really?
The film’s structure is build around the experts’ interviews, on location shootings at the cities
(Istanbul, Paris, New York) Mihri lived, and animation.
Berna sets out alone with very little information and a single question she repeats sedulously;
“Who is Mihri”. And soon along the way, she is accompanied by other women who are experts
on the subject. The three main experts are all women. As soon as they join in, each woman
expert takes the central stage to tell their part of the story. Meanwhile Seda Dokumacı, a young
painter, sets out to make a portrait of Mihri, she accompanies Berna to some interviews and
after a lot of struggling comes up with a very emotional Mihri portrait.
Visual Look and Feel
The visual style of the film is inspired by Mihri’s painting style. Mihri as a portrait painter had the
ability to capture her subjects’ sincere expressions which reflect their character. Therefore as
well as telling Mihri’s story the film also endeavors to visually capture the interviewees’ who are
serious academicians or artists, characteristic unexpected moments.
The various cities Mihri lived will be presented in the documentary in two dimensions. The
Director and the interviewees will be seen in today’s Istanbul, Rome, Paris and New York while
the archival footage of the cities will be used to help the audience visualise the historic times
and they will be placed right after the animations.
Kim Mihri is the very first documentary on Painter Mihri and it will present the basic information
on her life, including never-before-seen paintings, photos and news items mentioning the
The film features several solo animation parts, in which the highlights of Mihri’s story is
visualized in a vivid style where animated Mihri is starring. Each animation sequence focuses
on a theme; painter Mihri, educator Mihri, travelling Mihri...
Animated Mihri has a transparent ghostlike sketchy presence except her (rotoscoped) eyes and
one hand holding the brush. As the owner of the gaze and the acclaimed painter, these parts of
her body are real. This character design is inspired by Mihri’s portrait style as well, in Mihri’s
portraits the expressions are very photographic but the rest of the painting is sketchy.
The film ends with the question it started with: “Who is Mihri?”. One of the interviewee’s
suggests the answer is “We are all Mihri”... Thereupon animated Mihri walks back in the screen
and leans to her name looking right in the eye of the audience with a winner’s smile.