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"She's Got Her Own Way of Asserting Herself: Interview with Seyhan Derin Angelica Fenner Introduction Seyhan Derin was born in Caycuma, Turkey in 1969. In 1972, she moved with her parents and three sisters to the Federal Republic of Germany , where her brother was born. Derin experimented with Super-8 film as a teenager and received her formal training at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Munich. Her first feature-length film, I Am My Mother's Daughter (1996; Ben Annemin Kiziyim), was a thesis project sponsored by her film school in cooperation with the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara. Tasked to produce a project on three generations of women, Derin documented the different circumstances faced by her two sisters raised in Germany, her mother as a Turkish migrant, and her grandmother who remained in Turkey. / Am My Mother's Daughter garnered four international prizes in 1996. The following interview, which has been translated from German, was conducted in July of 2005 during my research on women's diasporic documentaries, with a follow-up interview in April 2006. It also explores Derin's views on production conditions in contemporary Germany since the completion of her second film, Between the Stars (2002; Zwischen den Sternen), and touches upon her work for the German television series Good Times /Bad Times (Gute Zeiten I Schlechte Zeiten). A filmography and further scholarly references have been appended. Interview Angelica Fenner: Looking back now, since the release of I Am My Mother's Daughter in 1996, it would appear that your first film set something in motion among otherfilmmakers of the second generation, as for example with Fatih Akin's autobiographical documentary Denke ich an Deutschland—Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren. Women in German Yearbook 22 (2006) 44Interview with Seyhan Derin Figure 1 : Seyhan Derin Seyhan Derin: I know Akin personally. Before he made his documentary , he attended a screening of my film. Afterward we talked about my biography and why I made the film. At the time, I had the sense that it made a strong impression on him. Yes, that influence seemspalpable. But I think yourfilm is more effective due to its dialogical quality. Akin used voice-over, instead ofsubtitles, to translate his relatives' comments in the film. By translating their speech and foregrounding his voice over theirs, I think he created a hierarchy within thefilm discourse. Angelica Fenner45 There are actually two versions of my film. The German one does not have subtitles because there was no funding left, so we used the voiceover technique. I spoke my own lines, while others dubbed the other people. One person spoke my mother's lines and someone else spoke my father's, since my German is too good to be convincing for that. But I don't find voice-over very effective. That's why we chose to use subtitles for the English version. Had there been enough money, we would have redone the German version. But we never got the funds together for it and at some point it had been shown so many times that I thought, okay, let's leave that for now and move on to new projects. While we are on the topic of sound, music is also quite important for yourfilm. How did you decide which Turkish songs to use? When I work on a script I usually listen to music, and then it may occur to me, "Oh, that would fit well here!" I'm already very influenced at that stage. We knew that we would not be able to include many musical excerpts, maybe one or two pieces, and it was more about finding a certain rhythm for the editing or a melody that would match well. Then I played these songs for our composer, Georg Schaller, explaining, "Here, while we were writing, shooting, or editing this scene we listened to this music and it conveyed this particular feeling to me." This provided the basis for his own score, and we used that along with a few songs by Sezen Aksu. Those fit in beautifully. It was clear to me from the start that I would use those. The music in the scene...


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