Legend says that when people come here, they fall in love. I asked Rocco about the city. He told me about youth. Her name is ‘amante’ - the lover of outsiders – “amante i cuori fuori, delle persone che venga”. Then, another Rocco found me. He said, “In Arabic, she’s ‘the place illuminated by the sun’.” When she reached Rocco, the Arabic was lost in translation. Italian whispers. The third said, Al Mantiah - ‘stronghold’. ‘A’mantia’, in searching for stories, she found me. A poem weaved through layers: part archival, part folk tale. Threading names, tangled through time. A divination dream of forgotten histories.

  • Gamze Şanlı
  • Gamze Şanlı
  • Gamze Şanlı
  • Natali Khalili Tari
  • Gamze Şanlı
    Key Cast
  • Shug Cvitanić
    Key Cast
  • Natali Khalili Tari
  • Simona Loghin
  • Gamze Şanlı
  • Louie Clarke
    Sound Engineering
  • Olivia Melkonian
    Sound Mix and Design
  • Arend Ardie Van Der Knijff
  • Christopher Galovan
  • Gamze Şanlı
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 18, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Gamze Şanlı

Gamze Şanlı is a British, Turkish and Cypriot multidisciplinary artist and performer. Her craft weaves stories centred around socio-politics, diaspora, nostalgic fantasy, poetic horror, mythology and witchcraft. The projects that she has collaborated on and/or performed in vary from experimental theatre to independent film and documentary. As an artist her work combines embroidery, collage and illustration. Şanlı is a founding member of the multilingual folk music group ‘Janatolia’, and is the art and activism director of the SWANA collective Full Potential. Having worked in Erbil and Istanbul she is now based in London.

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Director Statement

I flew out to the south of Italy with my friend with the plan of coming back with a film. In Amantea, we walked up to the old town to wander through the winding streets of historical houses and listened to stories from elderly locals. The rest of the journey was allowing myself to receive, to experiment, and piece together what I found - with a borrowed camera, my baba’s old Minolta lens, very little sleep, a constant supply of coffee and cigarettes, and conversations with ghosts.

I asked for a story from this city and received three, like the three apples that fall from the sky at the end of our fairy tales. One spoke of lovers, the other of the sun, and the last of a stronghold. Three names were given to me that held different stories, or perhaps pieces of one, hidden, forever changing as they’re whispered. Forgotten histories shifting under our feet as we climbed the ruins of eras long passed yet still present…if you just look for them.

‘A’mantia’ invites us into a dreamscape of fragmented memories and fleeting moments of love; of a person, of a place, of what is lost, and what remains. People come and go, they build, and repair, and abandon. Our castles and spiritual houses and fortresses fall to ruin, becoming sites of history and curiosity. In a haze of anemoia - something like thanos tourism but for memory - we take a moment to wonder how many people passed here. What did it look like a thousand years ago? Centuries before its old local men re-migrated home from Venezuela to build this city, who else had added to its layers? The ones who gave the city its name are now a distant memory, their tongue so foreign to it now. The stories we tell of a place creates its reality – much like the stories we tell ourselves about love: falling in love, and falling out of love.

What do we name a city? What do we name our stories, and what is the power in how you name something? What stories do we tell? Love stories we tell, and the ones we don’t. Written and unwritten histories. Forgotten memories. The words, these names, were like tarot cards spread out before me. This is my interpretation, drawn from my visual language and symbols informed by hauntology, witchcraft and diasporic migration.

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