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Film Screening: Green Yayla-A Festival Story

  • Silk Road House 944 University Avenue Berkeley, CA, 94710 United States (map)

Presented and translated by Kutay Derin Kugay

Get tickets here.

A project of the Gola Culture, Arts and Ecology Association, GREEN YAYLA: A FESTIVAL STORY is a documentary directed by Ilkay Nisanci and edited by Kutay Derin Kugay. This 90 minute film tells the story of the Green Yayla Festival, from its conception to its final event in a dramatic narrative showcasing an abundance of music, dance, social and ecological themes. This film offers a poignant glimpse into the traditional indigenous Laz Culture of the Eastern Black Sea region. 

The Green Yayla Culture, Arts, and Ecology Festival was established in 2006 by Gola Culture, Arts, and Ecology Association, a Turkish NGO based in Istanbul. This multi-disciplinary festival featured music, dance, film, foodways, visual arts, handcrafts, and storytelling, as well as ecological presentations and excursions taking place in villages along the Black Sea coast and highlands (Yayla/Gola) of Northeast Turkey. This region is called Lazona (home of the Laz people) by the locals. Lazona is one of the most geographically, ecologically and culturally striking places in Turkey. 

The Green Yayla Festivals landscape is the home of generous, kind hearted, witty and energetic peoples whose indigenous culture and language is endangered. The festival sites are also the home of majestic glacial mountains, pristine pure water springs, rough seas, misty highlands, and dozens of shades of green color in its flora, and diverse animal life as well. Each year the Yayla Festival cultural program was organized around a particular natural theme or themes, such as rivers, stones, winds and reeds, fruit trees, bees, etc.

A FESTIVAL STORY was released and was recently shown the first time at Golas 10th year anniversary event in Istanbul to great public acclaim. Kitka and Silk Road House are pleased to host its first US screening.

Gola Culture, Arts and Ecology Association is a civil society organization with a particular focus on Eastern Black Sea region: "Gola" means highland in Laz, the ancient language of this area ("yayla" in Turkish). As an organization, Gola is open to all the diverse cultures encountered in the country. It strives to be non hierarchical as well as multicultural, and to maintain a transparent and open structure.

Gola aims to attract an intellectually open, generous-spirited, and diverse public with their cultural activities. Gola is also committed to principles of non-violence between both ethnic groups and humans and their natural environment. 

Gola upholds respect and understanding of local cultures a universal value through activities that cultivate understanding between people in relation to their locale. Through celebrating and documenting the diverse cultural traditions of the Black Sea Shore, Gola makes these culture known to others, and preserves them for future generations. 

Gola was the host of Kitkas 2013 LAZONA LULLABIES project in Arhavi/Artvin, Turkey.

The film will be introduced by its editor and Music of the World (KPFA/Berkeley, Açk Radyo/Istanbul) host Kutay Derin Kugay.