A Bridge to the Next Melody

Istanbul has ascended as a key global city for contemporary art since the emergence of the Istanbul Biennial in 1987. New Orleans has an even younger biennial in Prospect. We view an exchange between Istanbul and New Orleans as a way to connect two historic port cities engaged in moments of rapid transition relative to infrastructural and demographic constitution, cultural visibility, and the politics of urban space.  

Our vision is for a multidisciplinary exchange with programming occurring in both cities and predominantly centered around contemporary art. After the screenings of Winter Sleep in New Orleans in 2014, A Bridge to the Next Melody will take shape as a residency opportunity for both New Orleans and Istanbul artists, followed by an exhibition of contemporary artists from both cities. 

In December 2014, the Arts Council’s International Projects initiative officially kicked off with two screenings of 2014 Cannes Palme d’Or winning film, Winter Sleep, first at Second Line Stages and then at the Prytania Theatre. We are proud to announce that the New Orleans screenings were the film’s premiere in the Southern US and the first screenings outside of New York.


The screenings of Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s award-winning film signaled the beginning of the Arts Council’s cultural exchange with Istanbul titled A Bridge to the Next Melody. This program was supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society

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About the Film

Set in vast, snowy Anatolia, Winter Sleep is a gorgeous, emotional, and epic study of relationships. Allegedly inspired by Chekhov’s fiction, it largely takes place at a small hotel in Anatolia, although the looming city of Istanbul is always at the psychic heart of the film. Filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s 2011 Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, and his 2008 Three Monkeys won him the Best Director award. Winter Sleep is his seventh film.