Guney and his work were almost entirely unknown outside of his Turkish homeland until his 1981 escape from imprisonment in Turkey and his "discovery" the following year at the Cannes Film Festival for his autobiographical screenplay for "Yol," the festival's grand prize winner. Born in 1937 in a village near the southern city of Adana, Guney studied law and economics at the universities in Ankara and Istanbul, but by the age of 21 he found himself actively involved in filmmaking. As Yesilcam, the Turkish studio system, grew in strength, a handful of directors, including Atif Yilmaz, began to use the cinema as a means of addressing the problems of the people. Only state-sanctioned melodramas, war films and play adaptations had previously played in Turkish theaters, but these new filmmakers began to fill the screens with more artistic, personal and relevant pictures of Turkish life. The most popular name to emerge from the Young Turkish Cinema was that of Yilmaz Guney.