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The venue was spectacular. The crowd was enormous – dressed “dark and chic” as the invitation requested. The cameras flashed, the Jameson and Beefeater flowed and the air buzzed with anticipation.

Me on the red stairs

On the red stairs

Son Umut electronic banner

Son Umut electronic banner

When the stars appeared in front of the velvet curtain at the Zorlu Centre’s main theatre, a venue usually reserved for large scale musicals and opera, the crowd erupted in spontaneous applause. “Let’s push ‘play’ and get on with it” said Russell Crowe and we were away.

The cast take the stage in Istanbul

The cast take the stage in Istanbul

Throughout the film all around me I could hear sniffling and sobbing, followed by gasps, and plenty of laughter. There was a round of applause for Cem Yilmaz’ on-screen toast to Kemal Ataturk, the much-loved father of the Turkish nation.

The guests dressed "black and chic"

The guests dressed “black and chic”

When the final credits ran and the lights came up the crowd stood on their feet and turned to Russell, Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, Olga Kurylenko and producer Andrew Mason and applauded wildly. Muzaffer Yildirim, head of Mars, the distributor of Son Umut (The Water Diviner) in Turkey put on a spectacular show and has every reason to be smiling this morning.

Here is video of some of the highlights from SonDakika.com in Turkey.