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Behind the camera by Nancy Kolsti
Summer 2007   Go back to bios and film clips >>  


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Nefin Dinc ('05 M.F.A.) biography

Nefin Dinc spent more than 10 years working in the media in her native country of Turkey before enrolling in UNT's documentary film program.

When she was still an undergraduate at Ankara University, she was an editor for a monthly, 60-minute news program for Turkish Radio and Television that covered world events. After receiving a master's degree in media culture from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, she was an assistant director and casting director for Atlantik Film in Istanbul, working on Turkish TV commercials and a feature film.

But in 1999, she was commissioned to direct a documentary for Turkish Radio and Television. The film, Republic Train, followed a tour of museum artifacts from Turkey's War of Independence. For nine months, the artifacts traveled around Turkey via a train, which also included a theater that showed movies about the war. Dinc directed the documentary during the journey.

After Republic Train was named the Best Documentary for 2000 by the Turkish Journalists' Association, Dinc knew she would rather create films than commercials.

"I decided I wanted to focus on what interested me. Doing documentary films allows me to travel and to learn about other points of view," she says.

Two films she made as an M.F.A. student inform audiences about Turkish culture. Rebetiko: The Song of Two Cities tells of Greek and Turkish refugees who were forced to leave their countries at the beginning of the 20th century as a result of a population exchange. These refugees told their stories through music, called "Rebetiko."

Dinc's thesis film, I Named Her Angel, follows a 12-year-old Turkish girl who is learning the religion of Mevlevism, which was founded by Mevlana, or Rumi as he is known in the Western world. Mevlevis, who are part of the Sunni/Mystic tradition of Islam, are known to most of the world as Whirling Dervishes. In addition to learning Rumi's teachings, the girl is shown training in the art of "Sema," or whirling.

I Named Her Angel was shown on the Frame of Mind series on KERA-TV in Dallas, and at the Dallas Museum of Art and Dallas Video Festival. Outside of Dallas, it screened at the Hot Springs International Film Festival, the Tiburon International Film Festival near San Francisco, the MESA Filmfest sponsored by the Middle East Studies Association at its annual meeting and the Washington, D.C., Independent Film Festival, where Dinc received a Special Recognition Award for World Cinema. The documentary was also shown on Turkish television.

After receiving her M.F.A. degree, Dinc was hired as an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She continues to create films while teaching documentary film production.

Dinc hoped to travel to Turkey this summer to begin work on a film about the relationships and misunderstandings between Turkish and Greek citizens, who have been stereotyped as disliking each other for centuries.

"In the film, we will try to see why we have so many prejudices against each other," she says.



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