Who is İlhan Mimaroğlu and why is he important?

The son of late Ottoman and early Republic period architect Mimar Kemaleddin, İlhan Mimaroğlu is among the most renowned composers to emerge from Turkey, who had a massive influence on modern music. A graduate of the Galatasaray High School, Mimaroğlu went on to study law, but the record collection of his late father changed his life. He developed an interest in jazz and modern music at an early age, and in moved to the United States in 1959 with Güngör Mimaroğlu, his lifelong partner. His compositions made him one of the leading composers of the then-nascent field of electronic music, and at Atlantic Records, he worked as the legendary producer of Charlie Mingus, among other celebrated jazz musicians. His music influenced such names as Federico Fellini, Frank Zappa and John Lennon, and Fellini used one of his compositions in Satyricon.  Never losing his ties with Turkey throughout his life, Mimaroğlu passed away in 2012. 

What is Güngör Mimaroğlu’s story?

Lifelong partner of Mr. İlhan, she is an activist who participated in rallies across New York with the likes of Yoko Ono. She inspired İlhan’s music with her political identity and turned her home in New York into a meeting point for all the new coming artists and politicians from Turkey, which inspired many more people. After being away for 50 years, she has returned to İstanbul following her partners death and has many stories to tell.

Why is the film titled "Mimaroğlu"?

Beyond the life and work of İlhan Mimaroğlu, the documentary aims to tell the story of İlhan and Güngör Mimaroğlu's romantic, creative and radical relationship—a story of the cross-pollination of avant-garde music nourishing each other.

Is "Mimaroğlu" a music documentary or a biography?

It is neither: the film will feature the never-written biography of İlhan and Güngör Mimaroğlu, but it promises more. It aims to examine the life of a multi-talented artist with interests in photography, street art and cinema in addition to music, through using collage and scripted experimental film techniques. Depicting a wild portrait of the 1960s, the documentary will also feature an in-depth story of Güngör Mimaroğlu's new life in the Moda neighborhood of İstanbul, which she left in her younger years.

In what ways does "Mimaroğlu" push the boundaries of documentary filmmaking?

Designed as an audio-visual experience, the documentary will have an episodic story layout and will feature original material from such different formats as 8mm, HD and iPhone, as well as footage from the archives of İlhan Mimaroğlu. This eclectic style is also in line with Mimaroğlu's avant-garde musical approach of sound collage which makes use of audio material from various sources. This episodic story will feature 8mm footage from New York, as well as animation, music videos and previously unreleased footage of İlhan Mimaroğlu's own documentary film.