A new movie that looks at the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks carried out in the United States will hit theaters in Turkey, the U.S., Europe and the Arab world on May 1.
"Kelebek" (Butterfly), the debut film by director Cihan Taşkın, was shot in the United States, Afghanistan, Istanbul and the southeastern Turkish city of Şanlıurfa on a budget of $2 million. Nearly 900 actors appear in "Butterfly," including star Ghassab Massoud, a Syrian actor who played the role of Selahattin Eyyubi in famous director Ridley Scott’s "Kingdom of Heaven." Massoud, 51, who also acted in the Turkish film "Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak" (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq), plays the role of "Mevlevi grandfather Ibrahim" in Taşkın’s film. Massoud will come to Turkey at the end of the month to attend the movie’s gala premiere. Produced by Mahmut Bengi Ğ who also wrote the script Ğ Oktay Berber and Osman Demir, the film features Caner Cindoruk, Deniz Bolışık, Şahin Çelik, Münir Can, Tuncay Beyazıt, Gürol Güngör, Kadir Kırıcı, Serhat Yiğit, Ferda Işıl, Volga Sorgu, Sümer Tilmaç, Ergun Doğmacı, Sonat Dursun, Meredith Orlow, İbrahim Halil Azak and Lami Ateş.
"If I were to become humble at this moment, it would be unfair to my friends on the team," Taşkın said of his movie. "In my opinion, ’Butterfly’ is above the standards we have gotten used to for Turkish films. The story starts in Turkey, but it is a film that will receive interest in all over the world."
Taşkın took his first steps on the project in March 2007. Preparatory work on the script started in June and it was completed in eight months. In order to form a visual language for the film, nine significant pages of the script were specially chosen and preliminary shootings were made with various actors in different places, yielding 13 minutes of material.
When research to find a proper glass atelier for a filming location was unsuccessful, a team of 17 people, led by art director Özgür Kemertaş, built one in just under two weeks on an empty property in Istanbul’s Kuzguncuk district, using materials brought from more than a dozen places.
The Bazda Caves, which were used as the location of the terror organization’s camp, took 10 days and the efforts of 20 people to prepare for the 13-day shoot. The whole film was ready in a total of 42 days.
Life in wartime
Set in Afghanistan, where preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks started five years before the infamous event, "Butterfly" portrays the civil war and its effects on the thousands of people who lost their lives, their families or their homes Ğ a tragedy that brings the Turkish character Yusuf to Afghanistan as part of an aid effort. "It is said that when a butterfly flaps here, it causes a storm in the Atlantic Ocean," says Massoud’s character, grandfather Ibrahim, as he sees young Yusuf and his friends off to Afghanistan. "We, each of us, are like this butterfly. But with a difference: our butterfly does not cause the storm. It protects us from the storm with its wings." As the young men prepare for the journey, Osama Bin Laden is also crossing the border into Afghanistan, home of his new camp. He is just one of the thousands of people that Yusuf and his friends encounter in Afghanistan Ğ but the one who will soon be known all over the world.