The Turkish virtual reality film, which received support from the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture, General Directorate of Cinema and came to life with an eco-feminist vision last March, has been selected within Cannes XR Development Showcase, that is a program from the Cannes FestivalMarché du Film’ dedicated to immersive technologies and cinematographic content.

Dr. Selmin Seda Coşkun

Produced by Virgile Film, a Turkish cinema production company founded by Virgile Mangiavillano, the project is the result of the collaboration of two eco-feminism visionists, Turkish director Özgül Gürbüz and French screenwriter Sonia Delhaye. The story, which is entirely based on local Turkish mythology, weaves a story that focuses on human rights, exploitation of women and protecting the environment, with eco-feminism as the central axis. The project was born during the extended Virtual Reality satellite program of the 77th Venice International Film Festival in Istanbul in September 2020, with the aim of addressing a large number of people about ecology. Desiring to create this experience together, this project starts in Patara beach in Turkey with an alternative scene in Göbekli Tepe, the cradle of civilizations in Anatolia.


Ak Ana Memory of Shell is an ecological tale inspired by Turkish mythology: "A dreamy dive into the depths of the ocean reveals a future where humanity is lost. We are presented with a key to prevent this curse from happening." The film is told through the eyes of a young teenager in a world full of meaning and solutions in which collective participation is important. We are representative of a self-destructing species in an imaginary future, but we are also potentially awakened beings who can still change the course of things. It is clear from the story that Gürbüz and Delhaye did not want to fall into a dark, hopeless dystopia, envisioning a dreamlike dive that would reconnect us with life and nature, as well as establishing a better balance between the feminine and the masculine. In the film, it is mentioned that the interactive power of immersion puts us in a position of responsibility, glorifying issues such as human rights, preventing the exploitation of women, and environmental protection awareness.


The film's primary target audience is Generation Z, for whom climate change is the main concern, according to a survey published in Forbes before the Pandemic. In a more general framework, it is aimed to reach all audiences who are interested in ecology and feminism and are already aware of these problems, and on the other hand, who want to raise awareness. “We would like to address this generation Z, where environmental concerns are at the forefront. According to Forbes, the Covid-19 pandemic has not changed environmental concerns. Rather, it inspired individual responsibility and motivated our younger generations to become agents of change in society. We want to accompany these young generations' dreams of a more just and sustainable world,” director Gürbüz and screenwriter Delhaye are saying. “The support of the TR Ministry of Culture will enable us to expand at all levels in Turkey and to measure the impact of our awareness distribution. Maritime museums and schools, as well as coastal communities, would be excellent displays. We also count on the participation of key youth representatives from independent organizations such as YEE, CliMates or GC Europe as supporters of our film,” they are adding.


The term virtual reality is technically used for computer-based 3D environments where individuals experience the feeling of being there. Users are included in virtual environments with tools such as helmet screen, hand control. From the moment they enter the environment, the users are disconnected from reality and experience the feeling of being in the environment where virtual reality is created. In the virtual reality movie, Ak Ana Memory of Shell, the user will interact in a 6-DOF environment through the movement of the hands, the triggered objects, and the positions in the environment, developed by the American-Turkish technical director Michael Barngrover. Hands enable to move and grasp objects in water. Head movements will direct the beam of headlights to illuminate dark places in the depths of the sea. Under development, the 1m30 pilot of the film is planned for September 2021 and the full production scheduled in winter 2021-2022. Currently the team is willing to expand its networks through new potential interested co-producer and partners to enhance the project and complete the production in order to compete within international festivals in Spring 2022.