100 movies for 100 years of Turkish film
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Preparations for the 100th year celebration have already begun, with Turkish directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Uğur Yücel, Mahsun Kırmızıgül, Özcan Deniz and Çağan Irmak expected to make productions in time for the centenary.Players in Turkey’s movie sector have set themselves the ambitious target of producing 100 Turkish films next year as part of a plan to mark the 100th anniversary of the industry in the country.
Preparations for the celebration have already begun, with Turkish directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Uğur Yücel, Mahsun Kırmızıgül, Özcan Deniz and Çağan Irmak expected to make productions in time of the centenary.
The first recorded movie in Turkish history is Fuat Uzkınay’s documentary, “The Destruction of the Russian Monument in Ayastefanos” (Ayastefanos’daki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı), which was produced in 1915.
After years in the wilderness in the wake of the 1980 coup, Turkish films have gone from strength to strength in recent years, with Turkish films now competing with Hollywood productions for domestic audiences.
Some 91 Turkish films are on screen this year. In contrast, only 60 were produced last year, while only 75 hit theaters in 2011.
Turkish cinema increased its audience numbers and its box office numbers during the first half of the year. In the first six months of last year, 54 percent of cinemagoers opted for Turkish films, while in the first half of 2013, this number increased to 64 percent. Turkish cinema income has also increased 38 percent to 153.3 million Turkish Liras this year.
According to Culture and Tourism Ministry Cinema General Directorate officials, the number of films hitting screens in Turkey increased by 10 percent this year to reach 26.1 million.
Some 16.8 million viewers have come through the movie turnstiles this year, an increase of 32 percent. During the first half of the year, many Turkish productions attracted more viewers than foreign productions, according to figures.
Focus on foreign festivals
With its newfound strength, Turkish films are increasingly taking pride of place at international festivals, as evidenced by the Shanghai Film Festival’s recent decision to name Turkey the guest of honor at it 2013 edition. Among the films screened last month were “The Taste of Poetry” (Şiirin Tadı) directed by Savaş Baykal, which competed for a Golden Goblet award, as well as Ömer Can’s movie “King of the Cotton” (Toprağa Uzanan Eller).
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Can said it was very important to appear at the Shanghai Film Festival as the event is one of the most important international film festivals in the region. “It is very important for the Turkish film industry to reach the Chinese market because our film industry is not close to the Far East film industry.”
Can suggested it was important for the industry to continue its initiatives to help Turkish films break into the Chinese market.
Orhan Koçak, who worked on “King of the Cotton” in terms of visuals, said the Chinese market was very important because it was third largest in the world after only Hollywood and Bollywood. “Meanwhile, it took second place in box-office figures,” said Koçak, adding that in 2012, more than 800 films were created in China.
“That’s why the movie producers are creating movies considering the Chinese market. This is a must,” said Koçak.
The Shanghai Film Festival is the Cannes fest of the Far East and Asia, Koçak said. “Chinese producers eye film producers at the film festival very closely, and that’s why this is a very important moment for Turkey.”
Koçak also said this would be a great opportunity for Turkey’s future in the cinema industry.