Oray, Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay, 97’, Germany,  ZDF 26.8.2019, OV with German subtitles

For his graduation film, Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay first looked for a subject that wasn’t expected of him because of his origin: “At some point, I had to admit to myself that I want to tell my stories. It is precisely these stories that shape my life and concern me as a citizen of this country, and which are then labelled as post-migrant. My compromise: I tell stories only as I want to.” And in doing so, he succeeds in making an important film about the normality of Islam in Germany, in which Muslims aren’t reduced to their faith. Oray, a young man from Hagen, breaks up with his wife temporarily and moves to Cologne. There he finds acceptance and support in the Muslim community. However, when the Imam advises divorce, Oray has to make a decision.

Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay (*1987) is a German-Turkish author, director and producer. After a few short films, he made his directorial debut Oray (2019) in cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel, which received the award for best first film at the Berlinale and was shown at festivals in Germany and abroad. As producer, he was involved in the 2022 documentary Love, D-Mark and Death by Cem Kaya, which had successful screenings at festivals and in cinemas. Büyükatalay is currently working on his second feature film in cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel.