Edition 23: 2–10 August, 2024

Special Presentation

The Ottoman Project

/ Color



The Ottoman Project

Following the initial public screenings of the cinematographe in 1895, the very first cinematographers of the Lumiere Brothers began touring the world. These traveling showmen would shoot film and then exhibit the results to the local public in the different countries they visited.

They were also recording everything they witnessed in the vast territories of the Ottoman Empire. In film archives around the world, it is possible to come across newsreels, documentaries or fiction films shot in these former Ottoman lands.

However, after the First World War and the decline of the Ottoman Empire, these films were misfiled, overlooked and even lost.

Elif Rongen-Kaynakci is the silent film curator at Amsterdam’s EYE Film Museum in the Netherlands. Rongen-Kaynakci has selected a collection of rarely seen silent films shot in the former Ottoman territories from the Middle East to the Balkans and will present them at Dokufest with live musical accompaniment.

Between each film, Rongen Kaynakci will vividly bring to life the historical backdrop that saw the rise of this new technology and how these early documentaries transformed perception and spectatorship within the Ottoman territories and beyond.

DokuFest is honored to bring these unique visual landscapes of Ottoman history, society and culture captured at the inception of the documentary form.

Films include:

Turks Legerkamp (1916) - Newsreel fragment of an Ottoman army camp.

Danses Algeriennes (1902) - Pathe film of North African dancers.

Constantine (1913) - Views from Algeria’s famed ancient city.

Smyrne (1911) - Images from Turkey’s western port town.

Turkey (1915?) - Travelogue showing Istanbul street life and tourist attractions.

Belgrade (1922) - Documentary images showing Ottoman and European influence in the Serbian capital.

Balkan Wars (1912-3) - Newsreel fragments from Albania and Montenegro.

Greece Akronisi (1922-3) - Newsreel fragment showing immigrants being brought to the isolated island of Makronisos.

Ismet Pasha (1922) - Turkish general and statesman arrives in Istanbul on his way to Lausanne, Switzerland to negotiate a peace treaty.

Tripoli - Images of the Libyan city after the Italians captured it from the Ottoman Turks in 1912.

Balkan War (1912-23) - Preserved as it arrived at the archive, this compilation shows wounded Montenegrin soldiers, Albanian POW’s, the Bulgarian army and Turkish troops leaving for the front.

Turkey, Constantinople (1910) - Hand colored images from Istanbul.

Sarajevo, the Capital of Bosnia (1912-1914) – Documentary with images of Bosnia’s capital right before the onset of the First World War.

Images of Piraeus (1920?) - A journey to Greece.

Official Trailer