Baltic Event Co-Production Market
A nurse who has tried everything to have a genetic child despite her illness, travels to Georgia for surrogacy as a last resort and finds herself in a new adventure with an orphaned refugee girl disguised as a boy.
Kenan, who runs a restaurant in Urfa, and Merve, a nurse, have been married for 9 years and couldn't have children due to health problems. After 6 failed IVF attempts, Kenan, who thinks in more traditional ways, seeks alternative medicine. Merve, who thinks scientifically and rationally, wants to have a genetic child through surrogacy in Georgia as a last resort. Since she was raised by a stepmother, she does not agree with Kenan's idea of adoption.
One day, a fight breaks out in the bazaar and Kenan is forced to help a Syrian refugee boy-Rahim, aged 9. When he realizes that Rahim is sick and staying in a shack, he takes him in and gives him a job and a place to sleep at the restaurant.
When Merve and Kenan travel to Mardin for Eid al-Adha, they have to take Rahim with them too. Rahim, who is constantly holding his stomach, asks Merve for help to take a shower. At first, Merve finds this request strange, but as she helps him take a shower, she realizes that Rahim isn't a boy but a girl.
Kenan, the owner of a restaurant in Urfa, has been married to Merve, a nurse, for 9 years but they have been unable to have children due to health issues. After 6 unsuccessful attempts at in-vitro fertilization, Kenan is considering alternative medicine which he sees as more traditional. However, Merve is more scientifically minded and wants to explore surrogacy in Georgia as a last resort. Since her stepmother raised her, Merve disapproves of Kenan’s adoption inclination.
One day, due to a fight in the bazaar, Kenan helps a Syrian refugee boy named Rahim, who is 9 years old. When he realizes that Rahim is a sick child in a shack, he takes care of Rahim and gives him a job and a place to sleep in the restaurant.
Merve and Kenan embark on a journey to celebrate a festival in Mardin. Along the way, they realise that Rahim has secretly hidden in the back seat of their car. He complains of stomach pains and asks Merve to help him shower on the morning of the festival. Initially finding this strange, Merve later discovers that Rahim is not a boy but a girl who is experiencing menstrual bleeding for the first time. During their stay in Mardin, Merve and Rahma develop an emotional connection and bond. With Merve's encouragement, Rahma starts wearing girls' clothes and leaves her boys' clothing behind.
In reality, Kerim (aged 12) and Rahma were both orphaned when their parents were killed in the bombing of Aleppo. While trying to flee to the Turkish border, they were attacked by ISIS, and Rahma was kidnapped. However, she managed to escape by shaving her hair and disguising herself as a boy. Meanwhile, Kerim found his cousin Nidal at the Turkey border, and together they searched for Rahma. Eventually, they find Rahma working at Kenan's restaurant. Despite being attached to Merve, Rahma leaves with her brother Kerim and cousin Nidal. Merve, who experiences motherhood for the first time with Rahma, is deeply affected by her departure.
Nidal wants to give his cousins to a European family on the pretext that they will have a better future. Merve travels to Georgia with her husband to try her healthy embryos in a surrogate mother as a last resort. On the way, Rahma realizes Nidal's true intentions and escapes with her brother. She reaches Merve by phone. Now that Merve is so close to the border and the nitrogen that freezes the embryos is about to run out, she has to make a decision. She chooses to meet Rahma.
I have been working on this project since 2019. Kenan and Merve’s story is similar to my personal journey of having children with my wife. We were able to have our twins only after nine years and there was no way we didn’t try. In addition, the misery of unprotected and orphaned children I encountered during the filming in Africa and Syria led me to think about the ordeal of coming to the world from a mother’s womb and the adventure of endless migration from one homeland to another and to create a film on this. The title Rahma originally comes from the womb of a mother and at the same time the mercy of God. In the region, we live in and in different parts of the world, unfortunately, women and children are the most injured in wars and conflicts. The main message I want to say in this film is that the salvation of our own child is in fact subtly tied to the salvation of someone else’s child. In other words, the mercy and love we will show to the weak and helpless others will bring new hope.
The Rahma film project will open up the issues of being a refugee and being a resident, with its different dimensions, from the reproduction of human beings in the modern era to founding a family and the search for a homeland, to the fact that international borders make people desperate from time to time, and to the responsibilities of bringing or not bringing a child into this world, which is a very universal and critical issue today. Since it focuses on the artificial reproduction problems of humanity, the drama of homeless children left on the streets after the war, and the destruction of families, will attract the attention of the audience and non-governmental organizations from all over the world and will be instrumental in evaluating these issues from different perspectives. We believe that parents and young people will love the film and follow it closely because it points to a contemporary wound in these modern times where children are increasingly losing their family ties.
Born in 1979 in Batman, Faysal dropped out of the Faculty of Medicine in 2000 to become more interested in poetry and cinema. Between 2003-2007, he did his master's degree in Tehran cinema and in the same years in Van on literature. He produced 4 short films in Iran. In 2008, Soysal received a scholarship to attend the New York Film Academy, where he produced four additional short films. He was selected for the Talent Campus of the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2009.
Silenced Tree, 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11808250/reference/ Crossroads, 2013 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2219370/reference/ Missing Times, 2015 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5360938/reference/ Dreams of Lost Time https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2783272/reference/ Umut Apartmanı, 2015 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6107972/reference/
Ivan Tonev graduated in cinematography and directing from Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (1989). In 1999 he created his own producer company ARS Digital Studio. He has been working as a producer since 2005. He has been Chairman of the Association of the Bulgarian Cinematographers since 2006, and in the period 2008-2015, he was Vice President of the European Federation of Cinematographers (IMAGO). He has been a member of the National Cinema Council since 2012.