Born in Turkey, Eylem Kaftan completed a B.A. in Philosophy at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. She then continued a Masters program at İstanbul Bilgi University in Cinema and TV. She completed another Masters program in film and video at York University.
Her first documentary, Faultlines, investigates the aftermath of the earthquake which hit Turkey in 1999. It won Best Short Film and the Jury Prize at the Planet Indie Film Festival in Toronto in 2002.
Kaftan then wrote and directed Vendetta Song (2005) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFxusefo6tE) produced in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. This documentary about her personal journey into the honour-killing of her aunt in a small village in Turkey was broadcast on Vision TV and Télé-Québec in Canada and has received several awards including CIDA Prize for Best Canadian Documentary on International Development at Hot Docs; the Quebec Film Critics Association Award for Best Medium Length Documentary; Best Documentary, Calgary International film festival. The film also won the 3rdprize at the International Women’s film festival in Torino, Italy.
Her third documentary Bledi, This is Our Home tells the story of the non-status Algerians and their struggle to remain in Canada. The film is made for the Quebec broadcaster Télé-Québec and premiered at the International documentary festival in Istanbul in 2006.
Kaftan has contributed to several documentaries on social and political issues ranging from immigration and women’s rights to mental illness and culture shock.
In 2010, Kaftan made a documentary series for Aljazeera documentary channel, called the Dreamcatchers.
Between 2011-2013 she worked for Al Jazeera Turkish and produced several short documentaries and three 44-minute films, which were shown at Al Jazeera English/World channel.
The first one is The Passion and Penalty, a film about the matchfixing scandal in Turkish football.
The second one is Sarajevo, My Love,(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmuqWmALnjoa) a film about a Serbian general who defended Sarajevo during the siege of the city.
Third one is Seeing isn’t Everything which is about four blind people living in İstanbul. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9KsI5SSmnk
In 2014 Kaftan produced docs for TRT documentary channel and Al Jazeera Plus channel.
She made The emptiness in me, which is about three non-Turkish sufis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dEJC79WHGM
She also worked as a presenter for a TV series for TRT Documentary on ‘urban farmers’, called Biçiftlik (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDEWpOSfvDo), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PR853wtJUE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2er5cRjKmEc
Her latest film is about the massacre in Rabia hospital in Egypt called Massacre in Rabia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BEp3hZl69I
Kaftan is currently working on a film about detox in Thailand.