Can Ulkay’s debut feature Ayla: The Daughter of War has been selected as Turkey’s official candidate for the best foreign-language film at the 2018 Oscar.
The film tells the story of a soldier (played by Ismail Hacioglu as the young soldier, and Cetin Tekindor as an older man) who risks his own life to save a young girl Ayla ( played by Kim Seol as a young girl and Lee Kyung-Jin as an older woman) he finds half-frozen and on the verge of death, smuggling her into his army base. Despite being unable to communicate with each other, the two form a strong bond. When the war ends and the soldier must return home, he cannot bear to abandon the girl but is forced to hand her over to an orphanage, hoping one day to be reunited with her. The pair were finally reunited 60 years later.
The film is based on the true story of Korean War veteran Süleyman Astsubay.