Turkey waits for more Hollywood productions
ANTALYA- Anadolu Agency
Zeynep Santıroğlu Sutherland brought the shooting of Hollywood productions such as the Oscar winning ‘Argo’ and BAFTA winning ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.’Zeynep Santıroğlu Sutherland is a Turkish producer, who brought the shooting of famous Hollywood productions such as the Oscar winning “Argo” and BAFTA winning “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” to Turkey. Sutherland believes that it will pave the way for the Turkish cinema sector if foreign filmmakers make films in Turkey.
“The state should give incentives for this cause,” she said. “There are many producers and filmmakers who are waiting for incentives. They have plans to bring various projects to Turkey if the incentives are given by the state; there are projects to be done and finished,” she added.
Sutherland was also a jury member at the National Feature Film Competition 50th Golden Orange film festival, which was recently held in the southern province of Antalya. “It is a well-organized and successful festival, where good films were chosen,” she said about the festival.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, she noted that she is working for the production company AZ Celtic Films which she opened with her husband Alex Sutherland, and said they brought Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning film “Argo” to Turkey, and that Affleck chose Istanbul among some other cities in the world.
She said they were honored with the Oscar success of “Argo,” adding, “We felt the same happiness when ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ won awards at BAFTA Awards.
“The movie ‘The Two Faces of January”’ was also shot in Istanbul. There were many scenes that could have been shot in Greece but instead, but were shot here in Istanbul,” she added.
“Cinema is a global industry which makes people close to each other and everyone knows each other in this industry. If you can do your business properly, then this business brings others. We are very lucky we do this business in Turkey. We were not able to make use of it in the past because of political reasons but it seems we have proven ourselves. We are self-confident. We can find more movies to host with the reference of such successful films. This is very good thing for us and makes a great contribution to the country’s promotion, as well as provide employment. We are working closely with the Culture and Tourism Ministry,” she said.
Sutherland said with the places they setup for films, Turkey had become Tehran in the film “Argo,” Paris in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” the Italy of the 1920s in the film “Pinocchio” and Greece in the latest film “The Two Faces of January.”
Turkey has became Tehran, Paris, Greece
The cosmopolite structure, diverse fauna and geography in Turkey is suitable for every movie, Sutherland said, noting that it is possible in Turkey to set up the scene of every country from Russia to Saudi Arabia and European countries.
“For example we made a TV series for BBC titled ‘The Ambassadors’ and we created an imaginary country. We can shoot everything in Turkey. The only problem we have is the infrastructure. Our studios are insufficient; they are not the center the film industry will focus on, but we are progressing too fast. One of the most important features of our nation is that we learn too fast and have potential to improve ourselves. Therefore we have all kinds of opportunity to make films in Turkey. We also like hosting guests,” she said.
Sutherland said Turkey was a perfect country to shoot foreign films, but incentive is the biggest handicap.
“We are not following the world in terms of incentives. The Turkish government does not give enough incentives to the film industry. If the same incentives used in other countries are provided in Turkey, our film industry will develop,” said Sutherland.
Excited for the state incentives
She said producers who make films in Turkey only receive value-added tax, which is not enough. Regulations in terms of incentives will increase the number of films to be shot in Turkey, she said and added, “There are many producers waiting excitedly for incentives.”
She also said they employed some 4,000 people during the shooting of “Argo.” Sutherland also noted they are not working with every producer who wants to make a film in Turkey. “I have a filter in my brain. I look at the project through the eye of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. I try to see people’s reaction to a project. We sometimes directly say no to a project when it is not suitable for Turkey,” she said. Sutherland said “The Two Faces of January,” starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst would be released soon and most of Greece’s scenes were shot in Turkey. “It is an advantage for Turkey to be a stable country economically and socially.”