The Way Back Home has won five awards at the Christian Film Festival (CFF) in Virginia, USA. Though produced in Turkish, and a film of complex metaphors, the short film has made an international impression.

The Way Back Home is a film that will awaken many emotions in anyone who has faith, love, and hope in their hearts,” says Director Ali Kerem Gülermen. Adapted from the book Dialogue With God On The Way Back Home by Ismail Serinken, the 20-minute film tells a story of one man’s journey, towards finding the love of existence, through a series of visions.

“The story using proceeds with in-depth metaphors and monologues. It is magnificent in terms of literature but adapting it into a film? That was the tricky part,” explains Gülermen. He describes the book as being quite abstract, and he thought the adaptation would not be possible until he reached the very end of the story.

“The missing pieces were connected in my mind. Matthew 7:7-8* is one of my favourite verses – after having finished the book, I realised that this had to be the theme of the film.”


The Way Back Home initially premiered on 21 September 2017 at a small gala in Istanbul. Hosted by the SAT-7 TÜRK team, around 100 people attended the event. When asked how the short film had gone from an intimate premier to being nominated by an American film festival, Gülermen replied:

“We use a system called FilmFreeway. It allows you to do everything online and it’s very practical – you can send many films to many festivals. You compete with a minimum of 800–1000 films, and if your short film is only 20 minutes long like ours, your chances of winning are even slimmer.”


The film has been an ‘official selection’ at various festivals, including:

  • NearNazareth Film Festival, Israel
  • San Mauro Film Festival, Italy
  • KSF Niepokalana International Catholic Film and Multimedia Festival, Poland
  • Short to the Point, Romania
  • Nafplio – Bridges International Film Festival, Greece
  • Izmir International Film Festival, Turkey
  • Christian Film Festival (CFF), Virginia, USA
  • International Christian Film and Music Festival (ICFF), Florida, USA

The Way Back Home was a semi-finalist at both film festivals in Israel and Poland. The ICFF is the largest Christian film festival and is considered the ‘Christian Oscars.’ Here the film has been nominated for Most Inspirational Short Film and Best Short Film – a great achievement in itself after being selected from hundreds of submissions. At the CFF, it won Best Foreign Film, Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Child Actor. Gülermen said he was surprised that it had resonated with such an international audience.

“The film highlights more visual aspects of the story and flows around three characters with intricate dialogue. I thought that non-Turkish speakers would have issues following the subtitles. However, we are proud to see our film being watched on an international platform.”


Gülermen is a graduate of Cinema and Television from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Marmara University. He has previously produced a documentary and another short film entitled In A Trench, but he says he had never worked on something as big as The Way Back Home in terms of time and scale.

“It was totally different. We travelled a lot to find the place where the story would be told most effectively. We used high tech equipment and worked with the best film colourist in Turkey. The Way Back Home has more than five scores that were specially composed for the film!”

Among the many congratulations, the CFF commented:

“Congratulations Mr Gülermen and everyone who was in and helped make this awesome movie. It was very well done and had great acting!”

*“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

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