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Coffee Futures
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Coffee Futures

Coffee Futures weaves individual fortunes with the story of Turkey's decades-long attempts to become a member of the European Union. Promises and predictions made by politicians, both foreign and domestic, are juxtaposed with the rhetorics and practices of coffee fortune telling.

The widespread custom of coffee fortune telling in Turkey is an everyday communication tool. Coffee fortunes are a way of dealing with hopes, fears and worries, as well as a method of indirectly voicing matters usually left unspoken. Like any language, this narrative form has its protocols, rules and tropes; yet each fortune bears distinct marks of the teller's personal style and the individual fortune seeker's condition.

Thus, the filmmaker sets out to seek her fortune and flip her cup for a couple dozen people, both friends and strangers. These amateur fortune tellers all read her individual fortune as they might any other day, except that she also asks for their opinions on the future of Turkey and Europe.

July 31, 2009 marked the 50th year anniversary of Turkey's application to apply to the elusive European Union (maiden name: European Economic Community). On this seemingly endless path, Turkey's future is continually invoked and described, yet not quite within reach. Touching upon the psychology of collective waiting and anticipating a national future, Coffee Futures attempts to render the emotional texture of a society whose fate has been nationally and internationally debated - often in relation to its "Europeanness" - for a long, long time.

"Perhaps one way to cope with the never-ending European torture is to start enjoying it. Zeynep Gursel's film is a big step in that direction. I never thought the EU process could be so funny! " -- Haluk Sahin Director, Department of Television News and Programming, Istanbul Bilgi University, Columnist, Radikal newspaper

"With wonderful subtlety and grace Zeynep Gursel employs the traditional narrative of coffee-grounds reading to talk about the future of Turkey vis-a-vis the European Union. What is even more central to Coffee Futures is the bricolage of types, a broad canvas of Turkish citizens all united by the same custom, telling the future through their particular emotional and social approach. This is a timely, provocative and artful project. " -- Karen Barkey Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

"Coffee Futures is a delightful, engaging and brilliant short film about Turkey's ambivalent relationship with the European Union. Along the way, filmmaker and anthropologist Zeynep Gursel introduces us to everyday Turkish culture and society. Gursel deftly weaves together parallel narratives about personal fortunes in love and marriage and the future of Turkish-EU relations. This film is sure to both amuse and enlighten students about the problematic 'courtship' between Turkey and the EU. " -- Melani Cammett Associate Professor of Political Science, Brown University

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards

London Turkish Film Festival, Nov 2009

EurActiv Award for Debating Europe Nationally, Special Jury Award for Originality, Brussels, 2009

Week of Taste, Belgian Annual Food Festival, 2009

Middle East Studies Association Meetings, Boston, MA, Nov 2009

Turkish Studies Colloquium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2009

American Anthropological Association/Society for Visual Anthropology Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 2009

Women and the EU, European Parliament screening, Brussels, 2009

Australian Anthropology Society Meetings, Sydney, 2009

Durango Independent Film Festival, Colorado, 2010

Filmmor Women's Film Festival, Turkey, 2010

International Film Festival of Ireland, 2010

IF Istanbul Independent Film Festival, 2010

Ankara Film Festival, 2010

San Francisco International Film Festival, 2010

Running Time
47 mins
Nb videos
2 videos included