A Dream School in the Steppes

“A Dream School in the Steppes”

A dream school in the steppes

55 min.

Turkey, 2014


Turkish, English subtitles

Director: Güliz Sağlam
Producer: İlker Berke
Camera: İlker Berke, Frank Massholder, Güliz Sağlam
Editing: Güliz Sağlam, Özlem Sarıyıldız
Sound: Alper Tunga Demirel
Contact: gulizsaglam@gmail.com  / ilkerberke@gmail.com


  • 33th International Istanbul Film Festival, April 2014
  • 19th London Turkish Film Festival, May 2014
  • 7th Aegean Documentary Film Days,May 2014
  • Documentarist 7th. Istanbul Documentary Days, June 2014
  • 25th. Ankara International Film Festival, June 2014
  • 21st. Adana International Golden Boll Film Festival, September 2014
  • 59th International Valladolid Film Festival, ”Time of History” Competition Section, Spain
  • 9th Boston Turkish Festival Documentary and Short Film Competition,2014
  • 5th Malatya International Film Festival, November 2014
  • 17th International 1001 Documentary Film Festival, 2014, Turkey


  • 47th Film Critics Asssociation of Turkey – Best Documentary Film Award
  • 7th Documentarist Istanbul Documentary Days – FIPRESCI Award, 2014
  • 25th Ankara International Film Festival – Best Documentary Award, 2014
  • 5th Malatya International Film Festival – Best Documentary Award, 2014
  • 9th Boston Turkish Film Festival – Best Documentary Award, 2014


The passion to describe every moment of one’s life through images… Could it give the power to struggle against all kinds of obstacles to someone fascinated by cinema? Ahmet Uluçay, well-known by his idiosyncratic short films and his only feature film “Boats out of Watermelon Rinds”, had to face the fact that he had a brain tumor, and had his first operation 12 years ago. This documentary film, in accordance with Uluçay’s life between reality and dream, draws us from the half-lit corridors of a hospital to the village, to childhood and dreams, and into the world of a passionate cinéaste.

Director’s Statement

Güliz SaglamThe idea of making this documentary film goes back to the beginning of 2000’s. At that time, Ahmet Uluçay had just finished shooting his first feature film, ”Boats out of Watermelon Rinds”, and he was about to begin editing. The tumor in his brain was making his life so difficult that a medical operation was inevitable. Our aim was to make a documentary film in order to make him and his films known worldwide, and to provide him financial and emotional support for his second feature film. However, at that time, we were not able to finish the film due to financial problems.

After all this time, we decided to complete the film not only because we wanted to pay tribute to Ahmet Uluçay who had passed away in 2009, but also we were feeling uncomfrotable about not being able to finish it before. We had to bring to light all these valuable footage we had, and tell Ahmet Uluçay’s story, far from clichés, through his films and his brilliant cinematography.

Ahmet Uluçay says, ”Making a movie, for me, is like writing a letter, putting it in a bottle and throwing it into the sea. The letter will find the ones who need it. Sooner or later…” This film is an effort to read and understand these letters, and also to make his unlimited imagination and powerful cinematography known by a wider population.

We wanted to tell his story by his own words so that Ahmet Uluçay’s miracle story would be a hope for those who run after their dreams and passions. Our aim was to point out that sincerity and genuineness are hard to achieve, and yet indispensable to leave an indelible mark on cinema for the new generations and those who strive to be productive in filmmaking.

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