Tanju Ozdemir is a Turkish filmmaker who writes and directs films that study complexities of human relationships, dreams, memories and contemporary experiences of life.
Tanju received his B.Sc. in physics Bogaziçi University in Turkey. He received his M.F.A in Film and Media Art from Emerson College in December 2017.
Tanju has worked as a professional photographer and videographer on numerous projects over the past 11 years. His works range from commercial spots and product catalogues to short narrative films. He worked as a design and creative manager for national and international companies. Currently he is working as a creative director for one of the largest camera accessories companies in the US.
Tanju has produced five short narrative films that have been shown in national and international film festivals. His most recent work is about a Turkish photographer’s search of his identity and origin through miniature painting art in a world in which the romantic is entangled with the political.
A man’s life on earth may be described by an illuminating saying that has been uttered a long time ago: life is like resting under the shadow of a tree before a long-awaited journey. The meaning of the rest lies in the man’s awareness of the origin and the destination of his journey, which determines the way he spends his time under the tree. I intend to spend my time by ploughing and harrowing my soul through art.
I believe that cinema is one of the most powerful languages that touches the soul with its ability to elevate an audience from the material world to the spiritual realm through dreams, memories and experiences in present time and by attempting to balance spirituality and realism without falling into either extreme realism leaning towards rigid naturalism or into fantasmatic spirituality devoid of reality.
People are like mirrors. The color of the light that is reflected on the mirror may change but a mirror is a mirror and it is precious. Instead of developing good or bad characters, or pushing them into white and black areas; my aim is to create characters taken from contemporary modern life and drawn in a way that would highlight their complex and detailed personalities.
My reason studying filmmaking by drawing on my background in literature and photography, is the liberating power of the visual language cinema screen offers. I would like to explain my life purpose in a few sentences borrowed from Andrei Tarkovsky:
“Art affirms all that is best in man—hope, faith, love, beauty, prayer … What he dreams of and what he hopes for … When someone who doesn’t know how to swim is thrown into the water, instinct tells his body what movements will save him. The artist, too, is driven by a kind of instinct, and his work furthers man’s search for what is eternal, transcendent, divine”.