By Mehmet Kara
ISTANBUL (AA) – An Italian director who has traveled to 35 countries and made short films and documentaries is currently in Istanbul to tell the story of the “Queen of Cities.”
Franco Dubini arrived in the Turkish metropolis two weeks ago and is attempting to explore the streets of the historic city to make comprehensive documentaries on Turkish culture.
“What is important for me with my camera is to destroy the stereotypes that people who don’t travel or who are just used to seeing things on television or reading about in newspapers are afraid of,” Dubini told Anadolu Agency.
Dubini hit the road with his camera four years ago and shot documentaries on many different subjects, from coffee producers in Indonesia to the difficult life of refugees in Greece.
He came to Turkey, which he had been curious about for years, and every day, he shares videos on his social media accounts from his first stop Istanbul, which he defines as "the center of the world for centuries."
“I was born in Switzerland, but I am Italian inside my bones because I was raised by Italian parents,” he said.
Later, he moved to Berlin, Germany, where he studied German and graphic design.
“I got a scholarship and I moved to Australia,” he said, adding there at the age of 23, he was “very lucky to find my real passion, which is filmmaking.”
“I quit the university. I saved some money. I was a waiter. I was cleaning bathrooms for Airbnb, saved some money, and bought my first camera,” he said, adding he traveled to Indonesia and the US to build his portfolio.
– Between Asia and Europe
Pointing out that he came to Istanbul at the beginning of June, he recounted his first impression of the city.
“I had to come to Istanbul because this is the center of the world. This was the center of the world for centuries.”
“This is where everything was happening, ships were coming in. There is Asia, there is Europe,” he pointed out while standing on the shores of the famous city.
“This is the place you feel the energy. This is what I am living for — visiting this place, meeting the people in all these places, and telling their stories,” he added.
“Istanbul is incredibly European,” he said, highlighting how cosmopolitan the city is.
"The culture is so rich in this place as well as in the food. You can find a different kind of food, you can experience Turkish food as well as Italian food,” he said.
Noting that he felt at home despite all the differences, Dubini said: “Here you can feel at home in Turkey as much as you can feel in Italy.”
“Taksim is the most touristic place here,” he said, referring to the city’s teeming attraction.
“I like this place as much as I like very hidden streets and to meet locals. Here you don’t see many locals. But what I do with my videos is not just interviewing artists but try to understand what they eat, what is the culture, how they see the world.
“All these characteristics make the Turkish people, and I am very curious about it and I want to share this knowledge with Italians,” he said.
Noting that people helped and warmly welcomed him during his tours and shootings in Istanbul, Dubini said: “Turkish people welcome you very well in their country. I believe it comes from being Muslim.”
He noted that he traveled to many Muslim countries and was always greeted with warm hospitality.
“People are looking forward to showing you their culture. That is amazing.
“Compared to many counties in Europe, I felt way more welcomed here than, for example — I have to say it — in other countries, more developed countries. Let’s put it down that way, that where people are not much interested in differences,” he added.
“Here you can feel the differences and you can feel how people are interested in you as a different person coming to their country and they want to show you what they have,” he said.
Dubini, who shares his observations in Istanbul with interesting short videos on social media every day, continues to work on making feature-length documentaries.