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Highlights from the career of Erkan Kolçak Köstendil

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Highlights from the career of Erkan Kolçak Köstendil

26.03.2024

Text: Zeynep Naz Günsal - Illustration: Naz Tansel

Highlights from the career of Erkan Kolçak Köstendil

Actor, writer, director, musician, and footballer Erkan Kolçak Köstendil is one of the jury members for the “Festival Shorts” section of the 20th Akbank Short Film Festival. Additionally, within the scope of the festival, on April 2nd, he will participate in a panel titled “On Writing, Acting, and Directing,” where he will share the experiences he has gained in various fields of the industry. Let’s take a look at his clearly successful journey, where he has seized the right opportunities at the right time and place, as well as his upcoming projects on the horizon.

Erkan Kolçak Köstendil, born in Bursa in 1983, joined Bursaspor’s youth academy at the age of 6 and played as a goalkeeper throughout his high school years. At one point, he was almost transferred to Galatasaray. Still passionate about football, he even served as a backup for the famous Rüştü Reçber in an amateur match during the early days of the The Pit TV Series. In 2021, the artist joined Amsterdam Gençlerbirliği.

At the end of high school, Erkan Kolçak Köstendil initially planned to enter the Sports Academy but decided to focus on performing arts with the encouragement of his philosophy teacher and the actors Erkan Can and Ali Sürmeli, whom his teacher introduced him to. He came to Istanbul to take conservatory exams but failed to enter the school on his first attempt. He was about to return to Bursa when he overheard conversations between his aunt’s neighbor, Tuncay Özinel, and his friends Halit Akçatepe and Ayşen Gruda. They were looking for someone to sell tickets, and Köstendil came to their aid, starting to work as a ticket seller at the Barış Manço Cultural Center while continuing to prepare for the next conservatory exam. Around that time, thanks to his cousin Bülent Şakrak, who was acting in Yılan Hikâyesi, Köstendil stepped onto a professional set for the first time and quickly became an assistant director for the series.

During his studies at the Department of Performing Arts of Mimar Sinan University, Köstendil, who had already started joining tours with the legendary trio mentioned earlier from his balcony, developed a growing interest in working behind the camera. After finishing school, he worked as a second assistant director for a while, then shifted his professional focus to acting, dedicating his own time to the practical side of cinema. Investing what he earned from acting into his passion for cinema, Köstendil founded the production company Film Kumbarası, now known as Kumbara Film, and made a groundbreaking move in 2009 with Turkey’s first Facebook series, Mukadderat. This series, which would later be turned into a book, was followed by the short film Time (2010), depicting the ordeal of a village’s new mosque built by an imam. After winning awards at numerous festivals with Time, Köstendil released his medium-length project The Mystery of the Drugseller (2012), shot in Amsterdam and Istanbul. He continued to expand his filmography by portraying the tragicomic story of Murat, a richly imaginative character working in a relative’s coffee shop and appeared in series such as Mercy, Ulan Istanbul, Magnificent Century: Kösem, Familya, A Crazy Love, and of course The Pit. He also acted in films like Let’s Sin, Sibel, and Turkish Ice-Cream, further enhancing his career.

It would be remiss not to mention Erkan Kolçak Köstendil’s short film series titled Resmin Aklımda Kaldı Izdırap or R.A.K.I. The director, who explored international festivals such as the Los Angeles Film Awards and Amsterdam International Film Festival with the first three films of the series - Suma (2017), Water (2019), and Sugar (2022) - also wrote and directed mini-series Discourse (2020) and Pes Artık (2021) before tackling the final installment of the quadrilogy, Anason. Before delving into Anason, Köstendil also accomplished his first feature-length directorial debut with the film The Garage, released in 2022.

Erkan Kolçak Köstendil is also known for his work as a musician, which has garnered attention. He took the microphone for the theme song “Nemrudun Kızı” for the hit TV series The Pit and showcased his rap skills for a commercial film a few years later.

Additionally, Köstendil has another feature-length project on the horizon titled Ufukta Tezgah, where he will write the script, direct, and also act. The film’s shooting began in March, and it is known that Damla Sönmez, Rıza Kocaoğlu, and Şinasi Yurtsever will also be part of the cast.

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