CLOSE ENCOUNTERS?: CONTEMPORARY TURKISH TELEVISION AND CINEMA

MELIS BEHLIL


Abstract: One of the most significant reason for the revival of Turkish popular cinema is possibly the proliferation of private television channels that started their broadcasts in the early 1990s. There are many different factors at play in the contemporary Turkish film production scene. Further research looking into individual firms in depth would benefit not only the scholars of Turkish cinema, but anyone interested in film industries in general, especially a film industry that have been able to claw a considerable space for their local production without the help of a quota system.


On any given day in the last few years, a stroll along Istanbul's main shopping street with its many movie theaters is bound to result in the same observation: cinema screens have been taken over by popular Turkish cinema. It has become commonplace to see a multiplex present Turkish films on all its screens. The number of local films released reached 50 in 2008, with 60% of the market share, placed fourth after the US, India and South Korea (Kaya 2009: 2)[i]. This figure would have been unimaginable in 1995, when the local films held 1% of the market share.

Turkish popular cinema, which had its zenith in the 1960s during the 'Yeşilçam' era, is experiencing this revival due to numerous underlying reasons. Possibly the most significant of these is the proliferation of private television channels that started their broadcasts in the early 1990s. Not only did these new channels familiarize younger audiences with the classics of 'Yeşilçam', but they also created an audiovisual industry where there had been next to none, providing film crews with much needed jobs. Additionally, a number of production companies that were initially affiliated with television series have produced highly popular films, eliciting criticism from a number of film critics for "pretending to make movies" (Güven 2004: 28). Since 2006, the influence of television appears to have waned, and the top-grossing films in the country have been created by production companies with a history in filmmaking rather than television. In this paper, I will firstly present a brief history of the Turkish film industry, followed by an analysis of the interaction between television and cinema, paying special attention to the production companies.

A Brief History of Turkish Film Industry

In order to understand the current dynamics underlying the web of relations in Turkish cinema, it is imperative to take a look at its history. The 'Yeşilçam' period, named after Yeşilçam Street, on which most production companies were based, started in the late 1950s. Its peak was reached in the 1960s with an average of 150 films per year and continued until the mid-1970s, when it averaged about 175 films (Arslan 2009: 85). In 1972, Turkish cinema set a record with 299 films, making Turkey one of the most prolific countries in the world (Directorate General of Press & Information 2009: unpaginated). A large number of the films were melodramas and comedies, with a strong star presence. 'Yeşilçam' was influenced greatly by other cinemas; Turkish film historian Giovanni Scognamillo claims that 90% of the nearly 300 films produced in 1972 were remakes, adaptations, or spin-offs (Gürata 2006: 242). This figure included both the cinemas of Hollywood and Europe in the West (Arslan 2009: 85) and India and Egypt in the East (Erdoğan 2006: 264).

While the earliest production companies were founded in the early 1920s, these were rather limited in their output, and it was not until the 1940s that the number of companies showed an increase (Tunç 2006: 12, 26). Following a tax break for local films that was instituted in 1948 [ii] many more companies entered the market. Of the 126 new companies from the 1950s, many were short-lived (Kırel 2005: 56). In the 1960s and the 1970s, 224 and 237 more firms were founded, respectively (Erkılıç 2003: 113, 134). In her in-depth account of 'Yeşilçam', Serpil Kırel lists 17 production companies that made 637 of the 1710 Turkish films released between 1960-69 (2005: 58). While 637 is a significant figure, it accounts for only 37% of the entire output. At their peak in the 1930s, the eight Hollywood studios produced roughly 95% of American films (Gomery 2005: 3). Unlike its American counterpart, the Turkish film industry has never been a strong oligopoly. Possibly as a result of this, the companies also failed to be long-lasting: out of these 17 companies, only four still survive today (Çilingir: unpaginated), and only two, Arzu Film and Erler Film are currently active producers[iii].

The dominance of local productions came to an end in the late 1970s for a number of reasons. After the 1973 OPEC crisis and the 1974 military intervention in Cyprus, the general well-being of Turkish economy deteriorated notably. As the ticket prices went up by 50%, the overall attendance at movie theaters declined by 45% (Scognamillo 1975: 351). The general unrest in the society that made the streets unsafe kept families away from the theaters (Çetin-Erus 2007a: 124), and the proliferation of television further abetted the decline of ticket sales. The number of registered television sets went from 50,000 in 1970 to 1,000,000 in 1976 (Erkılıç 2003: 124). The popularity of soft porn films, along with the musical 'arabesk' genre, both aimed at the poor male immigrants in urban areas helped keep production levels still relatively high popular in the late 1970s despite the drop in general admissions. All the same, number of films produced per year sharply declined throughout the following two decades. Concurrently, the number of cinemas also declined, and particularly, a large number of the smaller independent theaters closed down. From 2,242 in 1970, the number of cinemas dwindled down to 281 by 1991 (Erkılıç 2003: 125, 177), with an enormous 87% drop.

After the coup d'état of 1980, Turkey underwent enormous social changes. In the film industry, many of the smaller companies shut down, giving way to new producers that targeted the newly flourishing video market (Tunç 2006: 70). Attempts at a quota system by the post-military government were stifled, allegedly due to prompt intervention by the US Embassy (Çokyiğit 1989). At the same time, the structure of distribution was drastically altered. The changes made to foreign capital regulations in 1987 allowed foreign distributors to enter the Turkish market without an intermediary (Çetin-Erus 2007b: 6). In 1989, Warner Bros. (WB) and United International Pictures (UIP) started distributing both local and foreign films in Turkey. Throughout the 1990s, the prominence of these foreign distribution firms was seen as one of the reasons why Turkish cinema could not recuperate its former health[iv] (Açar 1996: 1186, Evren 1997: 102). While films were still being produced in Turkey, getting distribution was a significant problem. Out of 37 films produced per year in 1995 and 1996, only ten were released in theaters each year (Erkılıç 2003: 177).

Rise of Television and the Turkish Cinematic Renaissance

It was one of the 10 films released in 1996 that is now often seen as the turning point for the country's film industry. Yavuz Turgul's Eşkıya (The Bandit) was released in November, ultimately with over 2.5 million tickets sold. The closest until this time was Amerikalı (The American, Gören 1993) with 400,000 tickets (Çetin-Erus 2007a: 125), and as the box-office numbers from 'Yeşilçam' era were not properly maintained, Eşkıya was considered the highest grossing film in Turkish film history (Mengü, İnci 2000, unpaginated). Since then, 34 local films have sold over a million tickets. While the market share of Turkish films does fluctuate, there has been a steady overall increase since 2002[v]. More importantly, the overall number for movie-going audiences showed an increase of over 50%[vi].

The intense production environment brought about by the proliferation of private television channels in the 1990s laid the foundations for this brisk activity in the Turkish film industry. Turkey's national public broadcaster, The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) started its first television channel in 1968 and it had a complete monopoly over the country's airwaves until 1990. The first private channel, Magic Box, started its broadcast from Germany via satellite, as the regulations at the time did not permit private channels. The constitution of 1982 clearly indicated that radio and television channels could only be founded by the state and run as an independent incorporated body (Yalçın 1999: unpaginated). The said article was annulled in 1993, but until then, 11 channels had already been founded (Serim 2007: 8).

The content for these new channels initially consisted of news and entertainment programs, foreign (largely Hollywood) series, and 'Yeşilçam' films that had been purchased in bulk from now defunct production companies. In the second half of the 1990s, the demand for locally produced series intensified, resulting in an industry of a considerable size (Çetin-Erus 2007a: 126). Among the noteworthy producers of the 'Yeşilçam' era, Erler Film was the first company to notice the shift to television, starting to produce content for television as early as the late 1980s (Scognamillo, 2004: 408-409). During the earlier half of the 1990s, a number of production companies also have had pre-sales deals with the new television channels but this practice was discontinued after the economic crisis of 1994 (Erkılıç 2003: 167).

As of December 2008, the official number of private national channels in Turkey totaled 20[vii]; with three news channels and one music television. Despite the recent competition from reality shows and contests, 11 channels (including the national TRT) regularly broadcast Turkish series, creating a very large demand for local productions. According to a report released by the Istanbul Chamber of Certified Public Accountants (ICCPA), 11 national networks broadcast 63 series in 2008, creating an economy of 1 billion TL (455 million Euros) (ICCPA 2008: 1)[viii]. Some of these series are exported to other Middle Eastern countries, providing a new funding source for production companies. This expansion in television has led to a similar growth in advertisements, the largest component that contributes to television channels' revenues. The increase in advertising production further expanded the audio-visual sector in Turkey, and contributed to the betterment of local film laboratories, which also cater to theatrical releases.

In her essay on the influence of television in contemporary Turkish cinema, Zeynep Çetin-Erus argues that popular cinema in Turkey is largely shaped by television and advertising. She asserts that whilst the television sector provided a haven for members of the cinematic workforce during the period when filmmaking was at its nadir, this intensely close interaction between television and cinema has a number of negative consequences (2007a: 131). According to Çetin-Erus, the most significant of these is the inevitable moulding of feature films in the form of TV series, with too many characters without any depth and a series of events with no clear cause-and-effect relations. Her investigation focuses on 17 films released between 1996 and 2005, all with over one million admissions. Her analysis shows that 14 of these films were produced by companies that are heavily involved in television and/or advertising, and that their crews consisted largely of individuals from the television sector (Çetin-Erus 2007a: 123).

Production Today

Çetin-Erus' conclusions, while not untrue, do not fully reflect the present situation. The influence of television is significant, although especially in terms of production companies, it has waned since the mid 2000s. Extending Çetin-Erus' research into 2009, I have examined not only the producers, but also cast, director and content of all films released. My results show that while there is a strong affiliation between film and television on some levels, there is an increasingly stronger presence of production companies and directors who work only in theatrical releases.

Casting proved to be the site for the highest amount of interaction between cinema and television. The borders between the two sectors are porous, as the percentage of acting personnel in cinema who often work for television varies between 76% and 85% for the 192 Turkish films that were released between 2006 and 2009[ix]. TV series often provide acting talent with a steady paycheck and function as a training ground for the young and unestablished actors. Yet, as the performers are often the most visible components of audio visual texts, their presence across the different media reinforces the preconception that most feature films now look like TV series (Çetin-Erus 2007a: 123).

Showing a much lower rate of overlap than the cast, a little less than half of the directors of feature length releases also work for television. One should note that since directors' work in advertising is hardly ever acknowledged on any database, this percentage may actually be higher. Also, a number of Turkish filmmakers such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan or Zeki Demirkubuz, as well as a newer generation of directors that follow in their footsteps, prefer to work within the framework of "art cinema," producing their films with support from institutional structures such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism or Eurimages, and distributing them within the network of film festivals[x]. Nonetheless, some of those filmmakers are also involved with television, especially advertising[xi]. The assistance from the Ministry, established in 2004 (Binatlı 2005: 133) has proven to be rather significant within the last decade, as I will illustrate briefly.

In terms of content, there is a rather wide-spread assumption that nearly all popular TV series are eventually adapted to cinema (Güven 2004: 28). Converting TV series into feature length films is a familiar strategy that is often employed in Hollywood, as popular series come equipped with a potential audience for the film. Of the 192 films analyzed in this paper, only seven were directly adapted from existing television material. It is significant however, that three of these have been the top-grossing films at the box-office in 2006, 2008 and 2009, possibly creating the impression that TV series are translated into cinema more often than they really are.

While television has played a significant role in the initial renaissance of Turkish cinema, direct intersection between film and TV is presently lower, also in terms of production companies. Çetin-Erus' analysis of the top grossing films shows that only companies that dealt solely in theatrical releases produced three of 17 most popular films between 1996-2005. Since 2006, however, of 17 films with over one million admissions, film companies created eight. Although still less than half, this figure shows more than 250% increase over the previous decade. Looking only at commercially successful films may seem limiting, but these pictures account for a substantial part of contemporary film culture in Turkey. For instance in 2008, six highest grossing films accounted for 66% of all tickets sold for local productions and in 2009, three films accounted for over 70%. When all films are taken into account, the number of films made by production companies that also produce television content is even lower, resulting in the following percentages: 27% in 2006, 29% in 2007, 20% in 2008 and 16% in 2009.

Mitigating Circumstances

It has already been noted that television has provided a refuge for members of the audiovisual field during the period when filmmaking was hardly possible. What is less visible, and hardly documented, is the informal support from the industry's resources given to young filmmakers who make their cinematic debuts on shoestring budgets. Serkan Acar, producer of Sonbahar (Autumn, Alper 2008) notes that it would not have been possible to make that award-winning film without the aid of personal connections with companies that supply the technical equipment [xii]. These filmmakers, who start their careers as production assistants on various television sets, be it for advertising or for a series, can receive cameras, lighting equipment, and access to post-production facilities at much lower rates because of the relationships they have built during their employment with television productions. In turn, these technical facilities owe their livelihood mostly to the growth of television production since the 1990s (Köstepen 7).

Another possible factor for the revival of Turkish cinema that involves television directly has been the wide availability of online material from television programs. Popular television series are uploaded online by channels soon after their initial broadcasting, allowing the fans to not only catch up or view shows repeatedly, but also to discuss them on the online forums. Additionally, online advertising and public relations has made it possible for films with relatively lower promotion budgets to reach potential viewers. The most noteworthy case has been Recep İvedik (T. Gökbakar 2008), which is currently the second-highest grossing film in Turkish cinema, surpassed only slightly by its sequel Recep İvedik 2 (T. Gökbakar, 2009) and potentially, Recep İvedik 3 (T. Gökbakar, 2010). Comedian / actor / writer Şahan Gökbakar[xiii] created the character of Recep İvedik for his variety television show Dikkat Şahan Çıkabilir [Attention Şahan] in 2005, producing skits involving İvedik for about a year. Between mid-2006, when the show was put on hold in favor of a news parody program by the same crew and early 2008, when the feature film of Recep İvedik was released, clips from the İvedik skits became widely available on Youtube and other video broadcasting sites. Without a major star -other than Gökbakar, for whom this was a first leading cinematic role-, a large budget, any special effects, or a traditional promotional campaign, the first film of the series reached over 4 million viewers in Turkey alone. The sequels also emulated this success.

Arguably the most visible and significant influence to fire up Turkish cinema in the 2000s is the support system set up by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. After years of complaints from the industry about how the state never provides any help to the cinematic sector, "The Law for the Evaluation, Classification and Support of Feature Films"[xiv] was passed in July 2004, followed by the "Regulation for the Support of Feature Films"[xv] established in November of the same year. Since 2005, the Support Board has been convening twice a year to determine the projects to be supported in development, production and post-production.

While there is also support for short films and feature documentaries, the greater part of the funding the Ministry provides is allocated for feature films, ranging between 200,000TL and 400,000TL[xvi]. These amounts are to be repaid to the Ministry only in the case that the film can recuperate its production costs at the box office. Although producers who are unable to repay their support are not allowed to apply with a different project for three years, if their film is invited to a competitive feature film festival or wins a significant award, this waiting period is deferred. The selection board evaluates feature film debut projects separately, presenting new filmmakers with an opportunity to demonstrate and establish themselves. The support for a first feature film has been fixed at 200,000TL for all projects. While the amounts handed out may be only a portion of the films' budgets, they do provide a good starting point, and beyond the economic stimulus, the entire process of application and pronouncements produce excitement, motivation, and much debate for the filmmaking circles (Köstepen 7).

I have stated earlier that the current production environment in Turkey allows for the existence of a relatively large number of production companies. The state support structure further strengthens this environment, as applications are allotted funds not according to previous experience, but based on individual projects. In 2008, the 50 films released were (co-) produced by 52 different firms and in 2009, 68 films by 70 companies. Many of these are minor ventures that work on a small scale, often associated with a single project. The commercially successful films demonstrate who the bigger players are, creating a cycle where films that earn money at the box office allow the companies to invest further into production. From the 'Yeşilçam' era, only Arzu Film remains among the noteworthy production companies, and has been involved with five of the largest productions since 1996. In addition to Arzu Film, several of the new bigger players (producers of films that sell over a million tickets) stand out in this revival era.

New Players Big and Small

Özen Film has also been producing films since the fifties, although its core business has traditionally been distribution. Despite having lost its position as the largest distributor in Turkey to UIP after 1989, it is still the strongest company in terms of distributing local productions, where its share is 40.48% as the market leader in 2009. Additionally, it owns a chain of multiplexes, and is thereby the only company that reflects the vertical integration model of classical Hollywood with interests in production, distribution, as well as exhibition. Özen Film produced no more than two feature films per year, but its involvement in the Recep İvedik series, as well as a few other major hits throughout the 1990s and 2000s has helped establish it as one of the largest producers of Turkish popular cinema.

Despite Özen Film's involvement in distribution and exhibition, Arzu Film and Özen Film are both dedicated to cinema alone. Among the significant newcomers, Böcek Yapım and BKM are rather different in this sense. Böcek Yapım was founded in 1998 to produce mostly advertising films and music videos. Since it started its feature film production in 2006, Böcek Yapım has been involved with four films, all of which have attracted over a million viewers each[xvii]. Three of these were co-produced with BKM (Beşiktaş Kültür Merkezi - Beşiktaş Cultural Center), another new entry that has proven to be significant with six feature films, five of which with over one million tickets sold[xviii].

Founded as a theater company in 1994, BKM has been creating original stage shows that have become immensely popular. Its TV shows, which use the same cast and similar material, have been airing since 1995 - many of them similarly admired. BKM Film was then established in 2000, again functioning with the same cast and crew as the original theater troupe. Between the two of them, Böcek Yapım and BKM cover most aspects of television production: Böcek is still involved with advertisements and music videos; BKM still produces numerous TV shows. Their feature film productions have proven to be successful enough to stand on their own, without having to rely on income from television to continue their cinematic endeavors. Yılmaz Erdoğan, one of the founders of BKM, who also writes, directs and stars in many of the films, states that features were always their main goal, and theater was in a sense a preparation before the ensemble was "ready" to make the transition to cinema (Sarıkartal 178).

The most notable entry in the field, however, is also one of the most recent; Fida Film co-produced eight of the biggest Turkish films since 2004, when it released its first film. The twelve films it has released by the end of 2009 have so far sold over 19 million tickets. Its closest competitor would be Arzu Film, but all six releases Arzu has had in the same period were already co-productions with Fida. Within the same period, BKM released five films that reached 11.5 million viewers.

Fida Film was founded in 1965 in order to distribute commercials in movie theaters and currently holds 96% of the national market in this domain. It is furthermore affiliated with three other companies in the sector. Cinemaj, founded in 1997, provides laser subtitling, as well as logistic support to the leading distribution companies. LDI Lisans A.Ş. is the official exclusive licensing agent of Warner Bros., Sony, Marvel Pictures, Paramount, New Line, and 20th Century Fox consumer products among others, and has been operating since 1999. The most recent affiliate, PRA Film, was founded in 2003 and acquired theatrical, home video and television domestic distribution rights from studios and sales companies such as New Line, Lionsgate, Summit, and Mandate Pictures[xix].

The decision to embark upon production had been taken by Fida Film due to its long term involvement with the country's distribution and exhibition systems (Erkal). In this sense, it makes business sense for a company that already possesses detailed market data and know-how about consumer choices to engage in the production process. Fida Film's first co-production was in 2004, with Hababam Sınıfı Merhaba ( The Class of Chaos, Tibet); the next year, it released Hababam Sınıfı Askerde (The Class of Chaos in the Army , Eğilmez). Hababam Sınıfı was the remake of a classic Yeşilçam era comedy series from the 1970s. Both of these films were co-produced with Arzu Film, the original producer of the series. Entering a new field with an experienced partner was a conscious choice, as was choosing a beloved franchise that audiences already had a rapport with. Moreover, the release of potential hits that would increase overall audience numbers in Turkey would be (and has been) further beneficial to Fida Film, which stands to gain from this growth in terms of its advertising distribution business.

Between 2006 and 2009, Fida Film co-produced 13 films. Eight of these have sold over a million tickets each, Yahşi Batı (Sorak, 2010),has surpassed 2 million tickets. All co-productions have been with established film production companies, where Fida Film supplied 50% of the financing. In addition to its six films with Arzu Film, Fida has worked with Aksoy Film, another company dedicated to theatrical releases. Co-productions are advantageous in more ways than one for Fida Film: they provide the production experience and know-how from the other party, while splitting the risks in the rare chance that the film fails at the box-office. The company may take on smaller projects where it will be the sole producer, but there are no concrete plans at the moment (Erkal).

It is rational for a company like Fida Film to enter production, creating a synergy that would also benefit its other businesses. A globally more common strategy is for media conglomerates to purchase studios and enter the film business, as Hollywood is run by "entertainment megacompanies" (Aksoy, Robins 1992: 17). The Turkish counterparts of News Corporation or Sony are major media corporations such as Doğan Holding or Doğuş Group. Doğan Holding currently owns eight newspapers, three national television channels, a digital TV platform, numerous radio channels and magazines. Its production company, D Productions, has created over 30 TV series, and has entered feature film business in 2003 with the aim of "realizing at least four Turkish films per year."[xx] In 2003 and 2004, D Productions did indeed complete four productions, with two of them leading the box-office[xxi]. Nonetheless, Doğan Holding has not been involved with any other feature film since.

Similarly, despite its concerns in six television channels, the only cinematic release originating from within the Doğuş Group has been Mustafa (Dündar / Duranoğlu, 2008), a high-grossing documentary about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk that was produced by NTV, Doğuş Group's national news channel. This apparent lack of interest in cinema on the part of the country's largest media conglomerates may be explained by the volatility of the market. While local films fare exceptionally well at the Turkish box-office today, the situation was completely different only a decade ago. Additionally, independent companies and not the conglomerates' production divisions often produce even the commercially successful films based on TV series.

As I have stated earlier, while the bigger companies are more visible because of their higher-profile productions, much smaller companies that have no involvement in any other sector such as television make majority of the films. The funding for these films come from a variety of sources: Ministry support, international co-productions, and in some cases, private savings. A famed example is the case of Narsist Film, founded by Hakan Karahan in 2007 to produce literary adaptations. Karahan had been the CEO of a major Turkish investment bank until 2003, but quit his position when he decided to pursue a career in acting. Consequently, funding for his films comes largely from his personal wealth [xxii].

Many of the directors within the festival circuits have their own production companies, allowing themselves to work independently. Semih Kaplanoğlu, who won the Golden Bear in 2010 with Bal (Honey), is also the owner of Kaplan Film, which only produces his projects. Kaplanoğlu justifies the founding of his company by pointing to the negative experiences during the shooting of his feature debut, which was externally produced (Özbatur 146). Nuri Bilge Ceylan produced his own films through NBC Film until 2006, when he started working with Zeyno Film, an 'arthouse' production company founded by an independent producer who specializes in international co-productions. Similarly, Yeşim Ustaoğlu founded Ustaoğlu Film in 2003, and Derviş Zaim established Marathon Filmcilik in 1996 to produce only their own films. The financial backing for these productions comes from the traditional 'arthouse' structures: state support, international funds, as well as rewards won at festivals[xxiii]. Reha Erdem's Atlantik Film is an interesting case in the sense that while it is similar to the independent companies (the only feature films made by Atlantik Film are Erdem's), it also produces a massive amount of advertising films, which then becomes its prime source of funding. Erdem directed his feature debut in 1989, and until his second feature in 1999, he established himself as the leading advertising director of the country. His unique position sets Erdem apart as possibly "the most independent director" of the country.

There are many different factors at play in the contemporary Turkish film production scene. Further research looking into individual firms in depth would benefit not only the scholars of Turkish cinema, but anyone interested in film industries in general, especially a film industry that have been able to claw a considerable space for their local production without the help of a quota system. As long as Turkish films continue their takeover of multiplexes, there will be plenty of new companies that would fairly command an academic interest.


About the author: Melis Behlil teaches in the Radio, Television and Cinema Department at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, and is a film critic for Acik Radyo.

Contact: melisb@gmail.com

Top 10 highest-grossing Turkish films [xxiv]

No

Title

Year

Production Company

Tickets sold

1

Recep İvedik 2

2009

Özen Film - Aksoy Film

4,330,714

2

Recep İvedik

2008

Özen Film - Aksoy Film

4,301,641

3

Kurtlar Vadisi-Irak

2006

Pana Film

4,256,567

4

G.O.R.A

2004

Böcek Film - BKM

4,001,071

5

Babam ve Oğlum

2005

Avşar Film

3,837,876

6

A.R.O.G

2008

CMYLMZ - Fida Film

3,457,966

7

Vizontele

2001

Böcek Film - BKM

3,308,120

8

Vizontele Tuba

2004

Böcek Film - BKM

2,894,802

9

Hababam Sınıfı Askerde

2005

Arzu Film - Fida Film

2,586,132

10

Eşkıya

1996

Filmacass

2,571,133



Notes:

[i] Nearly 70 films were released in 2009, a figure not seen in Turkish cinema since the 1980s.

[ii] Taxes on revenues for imported films was 70%, as opposed to the 25% tax imposed on revenues from local productions.

[iii] The four companies are: Arzu Film, Erler Film, Erman Film and Saner Film. Arzu is the only one that specializes in feature films, Erler works largely in television. Erman imports films for theatrical release, and Saner sells the screening rights to its old films.

[iv] In 2008, UIP held a market share of 34.62% out of a total of nearly 37 million tickets, while WB's share was 14.18%. Their biggest competitor is Özen Film, Turkey's second largest distributor with 26.69% market share in 2008.

[v] Market share figures for Turkish films are as follows: 8.5% in 2002, 22.9% in 2003, 37.4% in 2004, 42% in 2005, 51.8% in 2006, 38.1% in 2007 and 60.1% in 2008. This figure is likely to see a slight drop in 2009.

[vi] From 25,257,326 in 2000 to 38,528,956 in 2008.

[vii] This number, as determined by the election board for the purposes of campaign regulations concerning the local elections in March 2009, was published in the Official Gazette. Available at: http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/eskiler/2008/12/20081228-9.htm. Accessed November 15th 2009.

[viii] This number is further raised by series produced for the digital platforms, a more recent development that was pioneered by Türkmax in 2008.

[ix] These figures include the documentary features, exclusion of which would make the percentages even higher.

[x] Turkey has been a member of Eurimages European Cinema Support Fund since 1990. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/eurimages/About/MemberStates_en.asp Accessed November 19th 2009.

[xi] The most remarkable one among directors who earn their money in advertising and spend it on their feature projects is Reha Erdem, whose Beş Vakit (Times and Winds, 2006) and Hayat Var (My Only Sunshine, 2008) have won awards at Mannheim-Heidelberg and Berlin Film Festivals, respectively.

[xii] Panel discussion, International Film Festival Rotterdam, January 24th 2009.

[xiii] Togan Gökbakar, who directed all three films, is the younger brother of Şahan Gökbakar.

[xv] Available at: http://www.kultur.gov.tr/teftis/Genel/BelgeGoster.aspx?F6E10F8892433CFF03077CA1048A1834F4736C8164F90731. Accessed March 2nd 2010.

[xvi] Approximately between 100,000 Euros and 200,000 Euros. Within the first two years of the support, the amounts handed out were more varied, goins as high as 475,000TL (230,000 Euros).

[xvii] All figures are from Antrakt Weekly: http://www.antraktsinema.com.

[xviii] The sixth was Beynelmilel (The Internationale, Önder/Gülmez, 2006), a political black comedy. In addition to its respectable box office of over 400,000 tickets, it has become a prestige project for BKM, winning numerous awards at all the major national festivals.

[xix] Fida Film corporate information is available at: http://www.fidafilm.com/. Accessed November 5th 2009.

[xx] Information available at http://www.dproductions.com.tr/yerliyapimlar/. Accessed November 21st 2009.

[xxi] Asmal ı Konak: Hayat (Oğuz, 2003) and O Şimdi Asker (Altıoklar, 2003)

[xxii] Narsist Film has made two films so far, both directed by Ümit Ünal, a leading director and scriptwriter. Karahan functions as the producer, as well as the leading actor. The first production by Narsist Film, Gölgesizler (Shadowless, 2009), also received state funding.

[xxiii] In addition to Eurimages, Hubert Bals Fund established by the International Film Festival Rotterdam, has been a major source for various stages of funding for Turkish filmmakers. In terms of festivals, the oldest and most established national film festival is held in Antalya every fall, and its Best Film prize comes along with a 300,000 TL (150,000 Euros) award. The same amount is also given to the Best Film in the Yeşilçam Awards since 2008.

[xxiv] All figures are from Antrakt Weekly. In comparison, Titanic (Cameron, 1998) has sold 2,844,022 tickets and Avatar (Cameron, 2009), over 2,300,000.

References

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