Support mechanism irritates all directors

Support mechanism irritates all directors

Şenay Aydemir ISTANBUL - Radikal
Support mechanism irritates all directors

Semih Kaplanoğlu’s Bal (Honey) movie is among art movies, which is not counted as ‘box office’ movies that the ministry will support as a part of the support plan.

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry is preparing to devote a major portion of its funding to supporting home-grown “box office and family” films, angering many in the cinema industry.

“2012 will be the beginning of a new and different process for Turkish cinema,” said Culture Ministry Cinema General Director Mesut Cem Erkul, according to Anatolia news agency.

“We should take action and start new initiatives. This month we will gather with different people from the sector and discuss what can be done to revive Turkish cinema,” he said.

Erkul also, however, said the main support would be directed toward family-oriented films and movies that were likely to do well at the box office, daily Radikal reported yesterday.

The announcement has led some of Turkey’s leading producers and directors to start a petition against the new plans.

“If this approach had been in place [beforehand], a number of the [Turkish art] films that have been internationally successful in recent years would never have received support,” according to a statement from those who have signed the petition.

Charging that the moves would open the way to “censorship and favoritism,” the group said, “It is unacceptable to restrict the nature of art with material conditions and ill-defined Turkish family values.”
Famous producers and directors such as Semih Kaplanoğlu, Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Zeki Demirkubuz, Derviş Zaim, Tuncel Kurtiz, Kutluğ Ataman, İnan Temelkuran, Ümit Ünal, Pelin Esmer, Özcan Alper, Hüseyin Karabey and Taylan Biraderler have all signed the petition.

The new mechanism is slated to be put into operation this year, Erkul said, adding that Turkish cinema had increased its efforts on the issue since Law No. 5224 “Evaluating Cinema Films and Classifying and Supporting Turkish Cinema” was enacted in 2004. “However, in 2011 the activities on these issues slowed down,” he said.

Budgeting problems

Art movies are experiencing many problems in terms of reaching the public, Erkul said. “We also have problems in terms of royalties for films broadcast on television,” he said, adding that the ministry was closely watching these problems, but added that there was currently little vision in terms of solving the problems. 

“After the necessary amendments are made, the history of Turkish cinema will be written again,” said Erkul, adding that 2012 would be a new era in terms of Turkish cinema. “We want to prepare a convenient base for those who would like to create movies in Turkish cinema.”

This will be the first part of the large project, Erkul said. “We also want to make the right evaluations in terms of budgeting. This means the state giving its support to the cinema sector. The support will continue.” 

“However, this time we will assist the cinema sector with a different type of supporting mechanism,” said Erkul, adding that blockbuster films would receive a different type of support.

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