Movie director, scriptwriter. He was born on February 3rd, 1959, in Istanbul. He went to Italy to study Cinema History at Sapienza University of Rome in 1976. He attended art history and costume design classes at the Navona Academy. He also attended directing classes at the Silvio D'Amico National Academy of Theatre Arts. In 1982, he worked as Troisi’s assistant director for Scusate il Ritardo, and later as Maurizio Ponzi’s for Sono Contento, where he had his first role performing as a street artist. For about fifteen years, he worked as assistant director of different directors such as Ricky Tognazzi, Lamberto Bava, Francesco Nuti, Sergio Citti, Giovanni Veronesi and Marco Risi.
His first move İl Bagno Turco - Hamam, which was an Italian and Turkish co-production, and which he himself produced in collaboration with Maurizio Tedesco, won recognition of critics and it was presented in festivals both in Italy and other countries. The movie was released in Italy in May 1997 and at the same time it was presented in the Quinzaine des Realizatuers section at the Cannes Film Festival, the most prestigious section of the festival. In 1996-97, the movie was regularly shown in Italy and it was presented until its videocassette was released in February, 1998(39 weeks). The movie was distributed to many countries, especially to France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and the USA. In many countries such as Turkey, Norway, Sweden, the movie broke box office records.
In 1999 Tilde Corsi and Gianni Romoli, Marie Gillain and Alex Descas produced Ferzan Özpetek’s second movie, Harem Suare. The story written by Özpetek himself in collaboration with Gianni Romoli tells the tormented love story between the sultan’s favorite, Safiye, and the eunuch Nadir, during the reign of Abdülhamit, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in Istanbul where the director was born. Harem Suare was admired by both critics and audience and was presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in the same year and was invited to the London Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.
Ferzan Özpetek’s third move Le Fate İgnoranti - Cahil Periler, starring Margherita Buy, and Stefano Accorsi was the most important movie of 2001 with his box office, international success and compliments of critics. Cahil Periler was the most important agenda item of 2001 and the movie won numerous awards including three Globi d’oro and four Nastro d'Argento awards. La Finestra di Fronte – Karşı Pencere, starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova and Filippo Nigro, was admired by the audience critics and it achieved an international success in 2003. The film won multiple awards including: five David di Donatello, four Ciak d’Oro and three Globi d’Oro awards. In 2005, Ferzan Özpetek’ fifth movie, Cuore Sacro - Kutsal Yürek pairing up with producers Gianni Romoli and Tilde Corsi, starring Barbara Bobulova achieved numerous successes such as 12 nominations at the David di Donatello awards. His next film, Saturno Contro – Bir Ömür Yetmez, was released in 2007. It featured a very rich cast: Stefano Accorsi and Margherita Buy, Pierfrancesco Favino, Serra Yılmaz, Ennio Fantastichini, Ambra Angiolini, Luca Argenter, Lunetta Savino Luigi Di Berti and Isabella Ferrari. Bir Ömür Yetmez accomplished an international success and won numerous awards like other movies of Ferzan Özpetek. Özpetek served on the jury at the 64th Venice International Film Festival and he also directed commercial ad for the AIRC, the Italian association for cancer research that featured Isabella Ferrari.
2008 was a milestone for Ferzan Özpetek’s career. For the first time, he worked on a movie that is not based on his own original story idea but based on a novel written by Melania Gaia Mazzucco. Un Giorno Perfetto – Mükemmel Bir Gün starred Isabella Ferrari and Valerio Mastandrea, in corporation with Gianni Romoli and Tilde Corsi, Domenico Procacci from Fandango created a tremendous impression. It was presented at the 65th Venice International Film Festival. It grossed 3 million euro at the box-office and it became the most trend topic and surprised critics. In 4th December 2008 – 12th December 2008, the Museum of Modern Arts in New York City (MoMa) dedicated a special retrospective on him, screening his seven movies. He was the first from Turkey and one of the few from Italy to be given this honor.
In 2009 he directed a short movie called Nonostante tutto è Pasqua – Her şeye Rağmen Paskalya (T.N. Despite Everything it's Easter), a segment of the project L’Aquila 2009 – “5 Directors Under the Debris”, in the memory of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. Özpetek dedicated his movie to Alessandra Cora, an aspiring singer who died in her house’s rubble.
In 2009 Ferzan Özpetek directed Mine Vaganti – Serseri Mayınlar co-written with Ivan Cotroneo and starred Riccardio Scamarcio, Alessandro Preziosi, Nicole Grimaudo, Ennio Fantastichini, and the movie was set in Lecce, Southern Italy. It is a comedy concerning the family issues and its world premiere was at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, Panorama Section between 11th February – 21st February 2010 and in March 2010 it was released in Italy. Upon its success, Ferzan Özpetek was declared as an honorary citizen by the city of Lecce. It was distributed to more than thirty-one countries including England, France, Austria, Germany, Japan and the USA. Özpetek was nominated for eight Academy Awards with his latest movie Magnifica Presenza – Şahane Misafir, released in 2012.
Hamam (1997), Harem Suare (1999), Cahil Periler - Le Fate Ignoranti (2000), Karşı Pencere - La Finestra di Fronte (2002), Kutsal Yürek - Cuore Sacro (2005), Bir Ömür Yetmez - Saturno Contro (2007), Mükemmel Bir Gün - Un Giorno Perfetto (2008), Serseri Mayınlar - Mine Vaganti (2010), Şahane Misafir - Magnifica Presenza (2012).