It seems appropriate that Journey of Hope, this year’s winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar, is making headlines. The $2.3 million Swiss film was inspired by a headline — specifically, a newspaper item about a Kurdish family in Eastern Anatolia who sold their land and sheep to emigrate, illegally, from Turkey to a better life in Switzerland. ”I was writing a different script, says Xavier Koller, the film’s 46-year-old director-screenwriter, ”but the family kept getting stuck in my head and in my heart. I couldn’t concentrate. I was caught emotionally by this incredible true story and it bothered me until I wrote it down.” Four days later, while on his way to Paris to work on Eclipse of the Moon, a biopic about writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Koller wrote his Journey of Hope story. Three weeks later, when he compared what he had written with the newspaper journalist’s research of the actual event, Koller discovered that they were much the same. ”That was the kick for me to go further and make the production,” he says. The director’s next stop was the small mountain village near Maras in southeast Turkey and the home of the family whose story so inspired him. Koller found them to be cooperative: The film was shot in their house and their two sons appeared in the film. While Journey of Hope is a chronicle of heartbreaking loss, Koller hopes its realism will bring about a change in people’s attitude toward refugees. ”You, or me, or the audience, we think, ‘What’s my position? How do I relate to it? Do I have to change my attitude? Am I close to those people?”’ says Koller. ”For me, the hope is that this would change. It’s not enough to open your purse and pay guilt off with money, you have to open your heart.”
Posted May 17 1991 — 12:00 AM EDT
- 'Hannibal' music supervisor on working with Siouxsie Sioux for the finale's song
- Hugh Dancy explains that shocking 'Hannibal' series finale
- Ansel Elgort remembers former classmate after his death
- New 'Downton Abbey' trailer previews final season
- 'Les Miserables' actor dies at 21
- Jackson family remembers Michael Jackson on his birthday
- Amal Clooney says Egyptian Al-Jazeera conviction 'sends a dangerous message'
- 'American Horror Story: Hotel' First Look: 11 EW exclusive photos
- 17 photos of people you forgot hung out at the VMAs
- 24 Movies With Great Opening Scenes
- 'Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance' Cast Photos Revealed!
- Where is the cast of 'Can't Hardly Wait' now?
- Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and More!