First Films First


(Turkey, Germany, Serbia)


Producer: Nefes Polat (Nefes\’ Films), Selcen Ergun (Albino Zebra Film)
Co-Producers: Michael Eckelt (Riva Film), Milos Ivanovic (Set Sail Film), TRT, Ezgi Mola, Florent Herry (Intercam Upgrade), Tolga Yolcu (Boş İşler Yapım), Hasan Ormanlar, Nail Aydın (Set Pozitif Filmcilik)
Screenwriters: Selcen Ergun, Yeşim Aslan
Cinematographer: Florent Herry
Editor: Çiçek Kahraman
Production Designer: Osman Özcan
Original Music: Erdem Helvacıoğlu
Sound Designer: Cenker Kökten
Cast: Merve Dizdar, Saygın Soysal, Asiye Dinçsoy, Erkan Bektaş
World Premiere: Toronto Film Festival 2022 – Discovery


Aslı is a recently appointed nurse to a small, distant town, where the winter has become seemingly endless this year and raised rumors of bears awakening early from their winter sleep. When a man from the town goes missing, Aslı finds herself surrounded by power relations, secrets, and doubts.


In a small, snow-covered, remote town in Turkey winter has always been tough, but this year it doesn’t come to an end – in an almost surreal way. Leaving the roads blocked due to heavy snowfall. Rumor has it that bears have risen early from their winter sleep and killed some animals around. Though no one has really seen them, people are afraid that they will come to the town soon. Aslı is a young nurse who has been appointed here recently for her obligatory service. One cold night, a man from the town goes missing. In this small town – where the biggest problem for the gendarme prior to the incident has been bats haunting the police station – the sudden disappearance of a man creates all sorts of rumors. Step by step, Aslı finds herself in the middle of a whirlwind of power relationships, secrets, and doubts.


\’Snow and the Bear\’ leads us into the microcosm of a remote Turkish town, getting increasingly cut off from the world by an endless harsh winter – which I wanted to use as a metaphor. Here, everyday life is still defined by conservative social structures and traditions. It is the story of a young woman who has to find her way in a rural society conditioned by patriarchy. It is the story of her confrontation with the unknown, doubt and guilt, and her crash course in discovering a side of her that is as tough as the winter itself. Setting all these in the cold counter-fairy tale atmosphere of an isolating, overwhelming winter, I am interested in exploring the limits that one would overcome when looking for a way out of entrapment. In this film, I want to explore all the feelings of fear, confinement, struggle, and hope – which many people consistently face in various places on earth to different extents – in a small isolated town where they become more tangible. Places matter. In this microcosm, intertwined relationships and power struggles come to light easier than usual.

The way we treat nature and all its creatures is another important theme. Winter is a major figure in the story: beginning as a calm peaceful atmosphere, it evolves into an embodiment of the unknown. It shrouds the rumors, and the rituals of burning fire and rattling tins to keep the bears away. Although the bear is in the leading role as an enemy created by the fear of the villagers, the growing fear around the “arrival” of the bear is bigger than the enemy itself.


Selcen Ergun is a director and screenwriter from Turkey. She obtained her MA in Screenwriting and Directing at Istanbul Bilgi University, after studying Industrial Design and Visual Culture at METU and is a Berlinale Talents alumna. Selcen began her career as an assistant director, working in many national and international productions. Her short films \’Confrontation\’ and \’A Sunny Day\’ have been selected by several international film festivals (including Munich, LUCAS Frankfurt, Brussels, Los Angeles, !f İstanbul, Ankara, Adana Golden Boll) and awarded prizes. She was selected for the Medienboard Nipkow Artist-in-Residency in 2019. \’Snow and the Bear\’ is her debut feature film; a Turkish, German, and Serbian co-production supported by Eurimages.

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