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Leylak (film)

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Directed by
  • Scott Aharoni
  • Dennis Latos
Produced by
  • Scott Aharoni
  • Mustafa Kaymak
  • Dennis Latos
Written byMustafa Kaymak
  • Nadir Saribacak
  • Isabella Haddock
  • Gamze Ceylan
  • Samrat Chakrabarti
  • Tony Naumovski
Music byAhmet Kenan Bilgic
CinematographyLaura Valladao
Edited by
  • Scott Aharoni
  • Dennis Latos
  • Duo Entertainment
Release date
  • June 12, 2021 (2021-06-12) (Tribeca)
Running time
17 mins.
CountryUnited States

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Leylak is an upcoming 2021 short drama film directed by Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos and starring Nadir Saribacak. The film was written by Mustafa Kaymak who won the Short Film Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 for his previous short film, Green. [1] [2] Leylak was shot and edited during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the film is set.[3]

The film held its world premiere at the 20th Annual Tribeca Film Festival on June 12, 2021, where it won Special Jury Mention in the Best Narrative Short category.[4][5]


In present day Queens, New York, a Turkish gravedigger is unable to face a shattering truth, and risks losing the dearest connection left in his life.


  • Nadir Saribacak as Yusuf Çelik
  • Isabella Haddock as Renk Çelik[6]
  • Gamze Ceylan as Tulay Çelik
  • Samrat Chakrabarti as Abdul
  • Tony Naumovski as Markus
  • Ibrahim Traore as Ibrahim
  • Max Schuster as Cemetery Worker
  • Mark Lyons as Cemetery Worker
  • Onur Usluca as The Digger
  • Louis Pearlman as The Digger
  • Joseph Fernandez as The Digger


Development and pre-production[edit]

During 2020, Latos reached out to the Kaymak to conceptualize the film's story, using the emotional and mental impact of the pandemic on society, particularly in its setting of New York City, as the basis. The film is told within a 24 hour period, done to heighten the tension of the plot and intensify the situation the characters face in the midst of the pandemic. Latos further explained this, by saying: "We didn’t want the film to remain relevant for this year, or the next, but for many years to come – to remind us all that through loss and hardship, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel."[7]


Principal photography took place throughout August 2020. Laura Valladao, known for her work on Kevin Wilson Jr.'s Academy Award-nominated short film My Nephew Emmett, served as cinematographer.[8]


The film will held its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 12, 2021.[9]


  1. "Green by Suzanne Andrews Correa | Drama Short Film".
  2. "Shorts Awards Announced at 2019 Sundance Film FestivalAziza Wins Grand Jury Prize (L-R) Aziza, Credit: Elsy Hajjar; Green, Credit: Marina Piedade; Dunya's Day, Credit: Olivier Theurillat". www.sundance.org.
  3. Goldsmith, Jill; Goldsmith, Jill (April 22, 2021). "Tribeca Fest Unveils Shorts Selection; In-Person Screenings; Blondie To Perform Live After 'Blondie: Vivir En La Habana'".
  4. Dry, Jude; Dry, Jude (April 22, 2021). "Tribeca 2021 Reveals Shorts Lineup: Majority World Premieres and a Live Performance by Blondie".
  5. Hipes, Patrick (June 17, 2021). "Tribeca Festival Winners: Lauren Hadaway's 'The Novice', 'Brighton 4th', 'Ascension' Take Top Honors".
  6. McSorley, Nora (May 15, 2021). "Madison teen lands key role in Tribeca Film Festival featured movie".
  7. "Tribeca Film Festival – LEYLAK Director Scott Aharoni "Filming during the pandemic was a whole new experience for us"". Film & Television Business. June 3, 2021.
  8. "LEYLAK Portrays A Struggling New Yorker During The Pandemic | Queens Gazette". www.qgazette.com.
  9. "Leylak | 2021 Tribeca Festival". Tribeca.

External links[edit]

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