It's the oldest and largest international film festival in Turkey organized by IKSV. It started as Istanbul International Film Days in 1982 summer with the incentive of Sakir Eczabasi and soon turned into a festival and screenings were moved to April. In the absence of a cinematheque which was closed during the coup d'etat, it has done a great deal of service to Turkish film enthusiasts some of whom would later become filmmakers themselves, by introducing classics while keeping them up-to-date on world cinema. It continued its growth and reached to a record audience in 2007 as the number of seats filled hit 170,000.
Every year Istanbul Film Festival organizes a national and an international film competition awarding the top films with Golden Tulips. The screenings are mostly held in Beyoglu on the European side but since mid 90s, theaters from the Asia side also host screenings