First Films First


LACUNA / Turkey


Selman Nacar is a filmmaker, currently pursuing his MFA Film in Directing at Columbia University in New York and teaching fiction filmmaking course at the same university. He graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University Law Faculty in 2015 and Film & Television Faculty in 2016.

He wrote and directed 4 short films, which were awarded at many international film festivals. Also, he is an alumnus of Berlinale Talent 2019.

Selman co-produced \’The Pillar of Salt\’ in 2018, which premiered at 68th Berlin Film Festival in Forum Section and produced \’Belonging\’ in 2019, which premiered at 69th Berlin Film Festival in Forum Section.


Kadir migrates to America because of a hardship in Turkey. In order to stay in the US legally, his uncle, Musa, recommends that Kadir should marry Zeynep and have children right away. Soon, Kadir starts to secretly meet with his long-lost cousin, Jee, who has been working as a bar tender in New York City for many years. During one of these outings, he meets a woman named Mel. The more time Kadir spends going to the city, he is caught between New Jersey and New York, Zeynep and Mel, Musa and Jee. When Zeynep learns about Kadir’s relationship with Mel, she has a miscarriage. Because of the loss of his unborn child, Kadir decides to return to New Jersey. With his family ties weakening, Kadir tries to be accepted back into the family, but nothing is the same as it was.


I created this story while self-reflecting on my experience moving from Turkey to New York. Often in the US, I found myself in situations where I couldn’t define exactly who I was, which made me contemplate the question of identity. This is the reason for wanting to write the story of a character who questions the feeling of belonging. Lacuna is the story of Kadir: an immigrant who is forced to come to the US because of hardship in Turkey and finds himself trapped between two worlds. In the film, Kadir goes back and forth between his new wife Zeynep and lover Mel, his uncle Musa and cousin Jee, and New Jersey and New York – trying to figure out where he belongs. It seems like neither the place he came from nor the place that life brought him can make him happy. For this reason, I would like to create a visual differentiation between Kadir’s time in New York and New Jersey. Kadir’s distinct feelings of quiet life in New Jersey and fast-paced life in New York will direct the camera movements and the rhythm of editing. The frame and art direction will reflect the sensation of Kadir’s being stuck. The story will always follow Kadir’s perspective. I recently directed a short film titled Kadir in order to build up the characters of this film. Even though I would like to shoot this film from the subjective perspective of Kadir, I will keep a critical distance and will not delve into his personal ethical dilemma. This is because I don’t want to focus on the results of Kadir’s choices but rather on the process of choosing. At the end of the film, I want the audience to feel the freedom of Kadir’s choice. After all, this film is not about the choices we have to make on our different paths, it’s about the path itself.

Writer: Selman Nacar
Producer: Burak Çevik (Kuyu Film)
Funding: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, Production Support; Malatya Film Platform, Development Support – Best Project Award
Training and co-production markets: Antalya Film Forum, Malatya Film Platform

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