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Ferzan Özpetek

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Ferzan Özpetek
Born (1959-02-03) 3 February 1959 (age 65)
Istanbul, Turkey[2]
Years active1990–present
Simone Pontesilli
(m. 2016)

Ferzan Özpetek (Turkish: [ˈfæɾzan ˈœspetec], Italian: [ˈfɛrdzan ˈɔtspetek, - ˈøts-]; born 3 February 1959) is a Turkish-Italian film director and screenwriter, residing in Italy.


Ferzan Özpetek was born in Istanbul in 1959. In 1976, he decided to move to Italy to study Cinema History at Sapienza University of Rome. He completed his education attending art history and costume design classes at the Navona Academy. He also attended director classes at the Silvio D'Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art.[5]

After receiving stage experience with Julian Beck's Living Theatre, he moved to the cinema landscape, by working as a director assistant to Massimo Troisi, Maurizio Ponzi, Ricky Tognazzi, Sergio Citti and Francesco Nuti. His first work was as Troisi's assistant director for Scusate il ritardo, followed by Ponzi's Sono contento, where he had a small role performing as a “madonnaro".[5]

His directorial debut was with Hamam, an Italian, Spanish and Turkish co-production. The movie, released in May 1997, was presented at the 50th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs session. The movie was presented in other international festivals and was sold for distribution in more than 20 countries around the world.

In 1999, he directed Harem Suare, set in his native land of Turkey, telling the tormented love story between the sultan's favourite, Safiye, and the eunuch Nadir, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the background. The story was written by Özpetek himself in collaboration with Gianni Romoli, who also produced the movie with Tilde Corsi and their R&C Production company. The film was presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as at the London Film Festival and at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2001, Özpetek directed The Ignorant Fairies (Le fate ignoranti), starring Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi, a sweet and easy to watch drama about homosexuality and bonding and friendship of several kinds of outsiders. The movie won numerous awards including three Globo d'oro and four Nastro d'Argento awards.[6]

Facing Windows (La finestra di fronte) was released in 2003. It starred Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Raoul Bova, Filippo Nigro and Massimo Girotti, in what turned out to be his last performance on film. The film won multiple awards including: five David di Donatello, four Ciak d’Oro and three Globo d'oro awards. The film's success in Italy and the rest of Europe, led it to be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics in North America.

Once again pairing up with producers Gianni Romoli and Tilde Corsi, in 2005, Özpetek directed Cuore Sacro, which received 12 nominations at the David di Donatello awards, where Barbora Bobuľová won the Best Actress award. The film also won the award for production design.

His next film, Saturn in Opposition, was released in 2007. It featured a very rich cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Luca Argentero, Isabella Ferrari and Ambra Angiolini, and also Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi with whom he worked earlier, in Le fate ignoranti. The movie won four Ciak d’oro, five Globo d'oro and four Nastro d'Argento awards. Angiolini, in her acting debut, won the David di Donatello award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

That same year, Özpetek served on the jury at the 64th Venice International Film Festival.[7] He also directed commercial ads, including a spot for the AIRL (the Italian association for cancer research) that featured Isabella Ferrari.

In 2008, Özpetek ended his partnership with producers Romoli and Corsi, and started a new one with Domenico Procacci and his Fandango company. Also, for the first time, he began work on a movie that was not based on his own original story idea. The film was based on a novel written by Melania Gaia Mazzucco called Un giorno perfetto. The film of the same name starred Isabella Ferrari and Valerio Mastandrea and was presented at the 65th Venice International Film Festival. It grossed 3 million euro at the box-office.

In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, dedicated a retrospective on him, screening all of his movies. He has been one of the few Italian directors to be given this honour.[8]

In April 2009, he directed a short movie called Nonostante tutto è Pasqua (Despite Everything it's Easter), a segment of the project L’Aquila 2009 - Cinque registi tra le macerie, in which multiple directors took on subjects regarding the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. Özpetek's short was dedicated to Alessandra Cora, an aspiring singer who died in her house's rubble.[9]

His next film Loose Cannons was released in 2010. It was co-written with Ivan Cotroneo and stars Riccardo Scamarcio, Alessandro Preziosi, Nicole Grimaudo and Ennio Fantastichini. It is a comedy concerning the family issues of a household in Lecce. This is one of the few movies Özpetek has set outside Rome, a city very close to his heart. On 22 May 2010 the city of Lecce declared Özpetek honorary citizen.[10]

The movie was presented out of competition at the 70th edition of the Berlinale as well as at the Tribeca Film Festival 2010, getting a special recognition of the jury.[11]

In 2011, he was asked to direct Giuseppe Verdi's "La traviata" at San Carlo Opera House, and performed in December 2012, starring Carmen Giannattasio and Saimir Pirgu. It filmed for TV by Unitel Classica, and Pal DVD release in Italian company CG Entertainment (2015).


Year English title Original title Notes
1997 Hamam Il bagno turco
1999 Harem Suare Harem Suare
2001 The Ignorant Fairies Le fate ignoranti
2003 Facing Windows La finestra di fronte
2005 Sacred Heart Cuore sacro
2007 Saturn in Opposition Saturno contro
2008 A Perfect Day Un giorno perfetto
2010 Loose Cannons Mine vaganti
  • Tribeca Film Festival Awards :Special Jury Prize
2012 Magnificent Presence Magnifica presenza
2014 Fasten Your Seatbelts Allacciate le cinture
2017 Red Istanbul İstanbul Kırmızısı (Turkish)[12] / Rosso Istanbul (Italian)
2017 Naples in Veils Napoli velata[13][14]
2019 The Goddess of Fortune La dea fortuna
2023 Nuovo Olimpo


  • Cebimdeki Yabancı (2018)

Assistant director[edit]

  • Il tenente dei carabinieri (1986)
  • Il maestro del terrore (The Prince of Terror- 1988, TV)
  • La Scorta (The Bodyguards, 1993)
  • Anche i commercialisti hanno un'anima (1994)
  • Il Branco (1994)


  • Rosso Istanbul (2013), Mondadori. ISBN 978-88-04-63346-4.
  • Sei la mia vita (2015),[15] Mondadori. ISBN 978-88-04-65301-1.
  • Come un respiro (2020), Mondadori, ISBN 978-88-04-71985-4.


Only awards won for best direction or best film are included.

  • 2008. Italian Medal of Merit[16]


  1. ^ "Turkish film director to receive Italian Order of Merit". Yeni Şafak. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Aramızda çok kavga ederiz ama Ferzan'la iyi geçiniriz". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 6 November 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Yönetmen Ferzan Özpetek, 15 yıllık erkek arkadaşıyla evlendi". Cumhuriyet (in Turkish). 28 September 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Ünlü yönetmen Ferzan Özpetek evlendi". CNN Türk (in Turkish). Doğan News Agency. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Ferzan Ozpetek". Giffoni Film Festival. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  6. ^ Prono, Luca (1 October 2001). "Gay Pride, Italian Style: Ferzan Ozpetek's Le Fate Ignoranti (Ignorant Fairies)". Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Ferzan Özpetek Venedik'te!". Milliyet (in Turkish). 20 July 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Filmmaker in Focus: Ferzan Ozpetek - MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Ferzan Ozpetek". Turkuaz Republic. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Lecce vatandaşlığı verildi". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 23 May 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Tribeca '10 - "Loose Cannons" Director Ferzan Ozpetek Keeps It All About the Family". IndieWire. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  12. ^ "'İstanbul Kırmızısı'nın tarihi netleşti". Milliyet (in Turkish). 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  13. ^ "'Napoli Velata', guarda il teaser del nuovo film di Ferzan Ozpetek". Rolling Stone (in Italian). 30 October 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Ozpetek gira il nuovo film, 'Napoli velata'". la Repubblica (in Italian). 12 May 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Ferzan Özpetek evlendi". Milliyet (in Turkish). 27 September 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Turkish film director decorated with a medal of merit by Italy". Today's Zaman. Anadolu Agency. 26 October 2008. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012.

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by Golden Orange Award for Best Director
for Hamam
Succeeded by