Movie director, scenarist, photography artist. Born on the 26th of January 1959 in Istanbul. After studying two years in Department of Chemical Engineering in Istanbul Technical University he entered in 1976, he took the exam again in 1978 and passed to Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department in Boğaziçi University. Here he joined movie, photograph, and diving and chess clubs. He took elective courses on cinematography. He shot passport photographs within the photography club to earn money. After graduating in 1985 he stayed abroad for some time. After his military service he obtained cinematography education in Mimar Sinan University for two years to improve his knowledge on movies. He acted in a short movie of his friend Mehmet Eryılmaz and participated to the technical process to improve his knowledge. Later he stepped into his director’s career with a short movie titled Koza in 1995. In this work he showed characteristics of his later movies even if at a minimum level. The movie was shown in Cannes Film Festival in May 1995 and became the first Turkish short movie to be chosen by it.
In 1980s his photographs were published in culture and arts magazines. He developed an original language to reconcile photography and cinematography in his movies. His movie in 1997 titled Kasaba and other movies were shown in several world film festivals including Berlin Film Festival. He advanced to a different integrity in his movie Mayıs Sıkıntısı (1999) protecting the biographical atmosphere in his first two movies. The movie shown in Berlin Film Festival’s competition section received awards in many branches. Ceylan’s movies shown in world film festivals drew attention of movie writers and critics. He built all his stories nourishing from his memories and original sources he saw and experienced in the environment he lived in. As a place he chose the country he was born and raised in and as actors not professionals but people of this country. With these characteristics he built cinematographic worlds which are enchanting in terms of pictures and in the same time peaceful, woven tightly and documentary-like.
The last piece Uzak (2002) of the trilogy called “Taşra Üçlemesi” received the Grand Jury Award in the 56th Cannes International Film Festival (Grand Prix). Leading actors of this movie, Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak, shared the best male actor prize, acquiring a rare success in the Turkish cinematography. The movie after Cannes became the most awarded movie of the Turkish cinematography, receiving a total of 47 awards (23 of them international).
Ceylan in his fourth feature-length movie İklimler (2006) shared the leading role with his wife Ebru Ceylan. The movie recorded with digital image technology was the highest budgeted movie of Ceylan shot until that time. He received the best director award in the 61st Cannes Film Festival with his 2008 movie Üç Maymun. The movie is in the same time the first Turkish movie to be one of the nine candidate movies of Oscar competition. He took place in 2009 Cannes Film Festival as jury member. He received the Jury Grand Prix of Cannes with his movie Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (2011), Kış Uykusu (2014), Ahlat Ağacı (2018).
Koza (Cocoon) (1995), Kasaba (Small Town) (1997), Mayıs Sıkıntısı (Clouds of May) (1999), Uzak (Distant) (2002, Book: 2004), İklimler (Climates) (2006, Book: 2009), Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys) (2008), Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) (2011), Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep) (2014), Ahlat Ağacı (The Wild Pear Tree) (2018).