Derviş Zaim

Derviş Zaim
Born 1964
Famagusta, Cyprus
Occupation Filmmaker/Novelist
Years active 1995–present

Derviş Zaim (born Derviş Zaimağaoğlu in 1964 in Famagusta, Cyprus) is a Turkish Cypriot filmmaker and novelist, who has twice won the Golden Orange for Best Director for Elephants and Grass (2000) and Dot (2008); Golden Oranges for Best Film and Best Screenplay for Somersault in a Coffin (1996); and the Yunus Nadi literary prize for his debut novel Ares in Wonderland (1995).[1][2]


Derviş Zaim was educated at Famagusta Namık Kemal High School and graduated in Business Administration from Boğaziçi University in 1988. He attended a course in independent film production in London and made experimental video Hang the Camera (1991). He subsequently wrote, produced and directed numerous television programs starting with the documentary Rock around the Mosque (1993). He completed his master's degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick in 1994. His first novel, Ares in Wonderland (1995), won the prestigious Yunus Nadi literary prize in Turkey.

Somersault in a Coffin (1996) was his debut as director and screenwriter, which won awards at film festivals in Antalya, Montpellier, San Francisco, Thessalonika and Torino. He followed it with Elephants and Grass (2000), which won awards at film festivals in Antalya and Istanbul, and Mud (2003), which won the UNESCO Award at the Venice Film Festival.

He co-directed the documentary Parallel Trips (2004) with Panicos Chrysanthou, in which the two directors, from opposite sides of the divided island of Cyprus, recorded the human dramas that unfolded during the war of 1974 and the legacy that remains today. He later produced the Greek Cypriot director's fictional feature debut Akamas (2006) about a love affair between a Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot.

He made a trilogy of films, themed around traditional Turkish arts, consisting of Waiting for Heaven (2006), which was nominated for the Golden Tulip at the Istanbul International Film Festival, Dot (2008), which won awards at film festivals in Antalya and Istanbul, and Shadows and Faces (2010), which won the Turkish Film Critics Association Award at the 47th International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

He also teaches at Bilgi University and Boğaziçi University.


Films, Television & Video
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1991 Hang the Camera (Turkish: Kamerayı As) Yes Yes Yes Experimental video.
1993 Rock around the Mosque Yes Yes Yes Television Documentary.
1996 Somersault in a Coffin (Turkish: Tabutta Rövasata) Yes Yes
2000 Elephants and Grass (Turkish: Filler ve Çimen) Yes Yes Yes
2003 Mud (Turkish: Çamur) Yes Yes Yes
2004 Parallel Trips (Turkish: Paralel Yolculuklar) Yes Yes Yes Documentary made with Panicos Chrysanthou.
2006 Waiting for Heaven (Turkish: Cenneti Beklerken) Yes Yes Yes
2006 Akamas Yes Fictional feature debut of director Panicos Chrysanthou.
2007 Dot (Turkish: Nokta) Yes Yes Yes
2010 Shadows and Faces (Turkish: Gölgeler ve Suretler) Yes Yes Yes
2012 Cycle (Turkish: Devir) Yes Yes Yes
2014 Fish (Turkish: Balık) Yes Yes Yes


  1. "Dervish Zaim". Turkish-Cypriot Online Museum of Fine Arts. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  2. "Turkish Film Festival". Madison Association of Turkish Students. Retrieved 2010-11-21.

External links

Preceded by
Aykut Tankuter-Artun Yeres
Golden Orange Award
for Best Screenplay

for Tabutta Rövaşata
Succeeded by
Barış Pirhasan
Preceded by
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Golden Orange Award
for Best Director

for Filler ve Çimen
Succeeded by
Zeki Demirkubuz
Preceded by
Fatih Akın
Golden Orange Award
for Best Director

for Nokta
Succeeded by
Reha Erdem
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