Red Zed Films + BAFTA Winning Production Company October Films Announce MY NAME IS HAPPY Will Premiere At Soho Curzon This May
Red Zed Films & BAFTA winning independent production company October Films have announced that their documentary, “My Name Is Happy”, a joint production, helmed by Ayse Toprak and BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Nick Read, is set for a limited theatrical run following it’s sold-out UK premiere at the Soho Curzon cinema on May 19th, 2023.
The film is executive produced by October Films’ Adam Bullmore (“End of the Storm”, “Viagra the Little Blue Pill”, and “This is Football”) & Siobhan Sinnerton (“For Sama”, “Lyra”, and “In her Hands”).
The film will screen at the following cinemas, with more to be announced:
Cinema: Rio Dalston
Date: May 21st, 2023
Time: 3.45 pm
Address: 107 Kingsland High St, London, E8 2PB
Cinema: Arthouse, Crouch End
Date: June 7th, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm
Address: 159A Tottenham Ln, London, N8 9BT
Cinema: Hackney Picturehouse
Date: June 8th, 2023
Time: 8.00 pm
Address: 270 Mare St, London, E8 1HE
Date: June 20th, 2023
Address: 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN
The film had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2022, and its US premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February 2023. The film won the Human Rights/Human Wrongs Award at the Human Documentary Film Festival in Oslo in March 2023, before winning the Storyboard Collective Impact Award and the PGI Youth Jury Award at the 21st FIFDH Film Festival in Geneva. The film will also screen at the 63rd Krakow Film Festival and other festivals through to end of 2023.
The film has received exceptional reviews during its festival run, with Screen Daily stating "… a compelling protagonist... using her voice as a powerful, defiant instrument of protest”. While Cineuropa said "The inspiring story of Mutlu Kaya, a teenage singing sensation who overcomes being shot to become a fearless survivor and advocate for women's rights in Turkey and beyond".
As a teenager, Mutlu Kaya, a Kurdish woman from south-eastern Turkey, was a promising singer. In 2015 her dreams were about to come true when she reached the finals of Turkey’s Got Talent. Days before the final she was gunned down by a man whose marriage proposal she had refused.
Remarkably she survived – with a bullet in her brain. After years of rehabilitation from life threatening injuries, the family was again struck by violence. This time, Mutlu’s carer, her sister Dilek, did not survive a murder attempt by another jilted suitor.
We follow Mutlu and her close-knit musical family through their turbulent ordeals, their struggle to recover, and their fight for justice and the rights of women to live free from male violence in Turkey and beyond. Intimate shots of the Kaya family are complemented by archive footage of excerpts from the talent show and news items on this urgent topic.
More determined than ever, Mutlu rallies her two million online followers with a protest song addressing the issue of femicide.
The film’s UK premiere on May 19th, 2023, at Soho Curzon will be hosted by Channel 4 and Turkey Mozaik Foundation, a London based NGO providing financial support to innovative civil society organisations in Turkey.
When discussing their involvement in the film, Read and Toprak jointly stated:
“We began speaking with Mutlu and her family seven years ago in 2016, soon after she returned home from hospital. At that time, she was still convalescing. We had to be patient, to find the right time to build a relationship.
In late 2020, soon after a series of widely reported and brutal cases of femicide in Turkey, and not long after the murder of her sister, we began filming with Mutlu and her family. Working with an entirely Turkish, and mainly female crew, Mutlu gifted us her trust.
Our vision was to capture the intimate and epic nature of Mutlu’s story - to tell it with passion but also compassionately, through the lens of cinema, rather than conventional reportage. We hope audiences will enter her world, share her perspective, limited but not defined by her disability... most of all to celebrate her as a survivor.
Her's is a universal story, one that reflects on escalating global issues of domestic violence and women’s rights. To that end we are planning a carefully planned social impact campaign alongside the film’s release, with Mutlu joining the debate, to increase pressure on governments and leaders to reduce the risks women face – daily, worldwide.”
Nick Read is an Emmy Award & BAFTA nominated filmmaker known for making acclaimed observational documentaries. He has shot & directed over 50 films, many of them in remote or high-risk locations ("Inside Israel's Jails", "Slumdog Children of Mumbai", "The Condemned", etc). His work has won two Foreign Press Association awards, The Rory Peck Impact Award, and the Creative Diversity Award for best documentary.
His most recent feature documentary, "Bolshoi Babylon", produced by Simon Chinn, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, opened in 100 UK cinemas, and was long listed for the 2018 BAFTA & Academy Awards.
Ayse Toprak recently relocated from Istanbul to London. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has an MA in Media Studies at the New School. From 2011, she worked extensively for Al Jazeera in Turkey, London, and Doha, producing social and political documentaries in the Middle East. In 2016 Ayse began work on her first feature documentary, "Mr Gay Syria".
To date the film has screened at over 70 international festivals including IDFA, Sheffield DocFest, MOMA fortnight, Chicago Film Festival etc. The film won 14 awards, many for promoting human rights.
MY NAME IS HAPPY PREMIERES ON MAY 19