Every house is a set, every kid is a director.

The “Istop Motion” workshop, which introduces children to cinema, invites children to cinema workshops on the production of stop-motion animation. The founders state that Istop Motion has influenced the lives of children in many areas.

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It’s one of the most popular genres of stop-motion cinema, a type of animation that takes objects frame by frame and shows them as if they’re moving. While the stop-motion technique that came with the invention of cinema in the 18th century became famous with the 1933 film King Kong, it reached a wider audience with master directors Tim Burton and Will Vinton. Istop Motion, founded by Gürşat Özdamar and Mükerrem Yıldız, who introduced children to stop-motion technology, awakens a love of cinema in children at an early age and enables them to make their own films. We spoke to Gürşat Özdamar and Mükerrem Yıldız who are preparing the new workshops to be held at Atlas 1948 Istanbul Sienma Museum in Beyoğlu with age groups 6-8 and 9-14 on 23-24. April will be held via Istop Motion about children’s interactions with the cinema.

When we first asked about the history of Istop Motion, Gürşat Özdamar explained that the experience that started 20 years ago with cinema workshops with children at the Nesin Foundation has continued over time in schools, institutions, events and festivals. Özdamar explained that the words “stop”, an old child’s game, and stop motion, the beginning of cinema, came together and became the name of their workshop in which they turned cinema into child’s play, saying: “We shared this experience with different activities. We organized Turkey’s first free and open cinema camp. Zeki Alasya, who attended the camp, oversaw the shooting. LOOKING ALIVE! With the book Kino mit Kinder we have given children of all ages basic cinema knowledge. The new edition of the book is edited by Ayrıntı Yayınları.”



Mükerrem Yıldız talks about how this is affecting children’s interest in cinema, saying, “Their interest in cinema has definitely increased.” , more attentive and critical towards them. It also boosts their self-confidence. Her attitude in front of the camera changes and her interpretation improves. The parts where they start criticizing positively or negatively the films they see on TV or in the cinema often make us laugh. In a very short time they get motivated and start using expressions about the cinema and the environment, they enjoy it. They often use expressions like background, synopsis, scene number. As they make plans to reflect what they want to express in the scenes they prepare, believe me, they dominate the subject more than adults. “That’s what we want to tell you with a plan like this. So that’s our theme…” There are simple and clear forms of expression that develop spontaneously. This is the result of the clarity of their minds, the richness of their imaginations.”

Mukerrem star

When asked about his experiences with children during the event, Gürşat Özdamar said: “Nowadays, children are criticized for not dropping their phones or tablets. That’s true, but it’s also possible to positively influence children’s interest and skills in this technology.” He replies, adding: “Any child that downloads an application that we use in our studies and uses it on their Mobile device installed, can easily shoot an animated film. In other words, every house becomes a set and every kid a director. Children aren’t just interested in superheroes and princesses, as people think. For example, ecology is also on their agenda, children’s rights are also on their agenda. We encourage them to produce in these areas. The film about environmental destruction prepared by 9-year-old Ulaş was included in the screening program of the International Animated Film Festival and met the audience at the French Cultural Center. Of course we’re not going against them.”



Mükerrem Yıldız takes the floor again and explains what the “Istop Motion” workshop has contributed to the children’s lives as follows: “We make a work that includes not only films, but also dance, theater, philosophy, music, painting and fairy tales includes narratives. In fact, we’re doing some creative literacy exercises. The children start asking questions. You will feel the difference of working in an equal environment where there is no right or wrong, no unfair criticism and no unwarranted praise. No ordinary teacher, no boring and overwhelming rules. This strengthens their individual worlds. They realize that it is possible to take turns talking without raising your hand. They work together and help each other and internalize empathy. In the first lessons they point directly to Gürşat as a director. When I say that I’m also a director, “Director?” We can get reactions. With our work, this perception is also broken. For example, 6-year-old Meryem and 10-year-old Sude now say, “I’ll be a director when I grow up.” There are even people who say they will become an art director or a screenwriter.”

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