May 04, 2015

Visiting the Ali & Nino Film Set in Istanbul

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 18.59.42

I went to Istanbul at the weekend, to interview the cast and crew of Ali & Nino, a film that will be released in 2016. This film is going to be big. Epic. The film is an adaptation of the global best-seller of the same name written in 1937 which has been translated into 33 languages around the world, and is a national treasure of Azerbaijan. I guess the most obvious comparison is how we feel about Romeo & Juliet in England. The novel is about an intense romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy (Ali) and Christian Georgian girl in Baku (Nino) in the years 1918-1920 (and their families are not too happy about it). The book is a joy to read; I finished it in just a few hours and it’s not only a beautiful love story, it’s packed full of history and I learned so much from it.

There are some absolutely incredible people working on this film. It will be directed by the BAFTA Award winning Asif Kapadia (AMY, Senna), the screenplay is by Academy Award® winning Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), produced by Kris Thykier (Harry Brown, W.E), Executive Produced by Leyla Aliyeva (an INCREDIBLE woman) and the costumes designed by Michele Clapton (best known for her work on Game of Thrones).

aliiI was lucky enough to go for dinner on Saturday night at Soho House Istanbul, the newest “house” which is only two weeks old. The food and atmosphere was amazing, I had a mixed meze for starters and a chicken kebab with orzo pilaf, maroulosalata and heaps of red wine. Plus good conversation and sitting outside, soaking up the nice weather. Atonement is pretty much my favourite film (and book of course) so meeting Christopher Hampton was really amazing. The building is in the restored 19th century Palazzo Corpi in the Beyoğlu district, with five amazing floors that you can get totally lost in. There’s a rooftop cocktail pool and bar with views of the Golden Horn, games room, the Mandolin Terrace serving Aegean cuisine and the late-night Embassy Club with live music and DJs with VERY loud, but very good music.


I had a brilliant time getting to meet the other journalists, interviewing the crew, chatting about films and wandering the city. To me, going on any sort of unknown adventure and coming back having befriended some really nice new people is a weekend well-spent.

Visiting the film set was so exciting, watching how it all works, seeing all the meticulous detail that goes into shooting a scene. There was so much going on, all the equipment, cameras, crew, actors on-set and off-set and realising all the different roles that are needed for it to come together was really inspiring to watch.

I cannot WAIT to see this film next year & will be posting the full interview once it’s up.



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