Turkish cinema has not only achieved success in filming and at the box office but has also secured significant accomplishments on the international stage.
It is widely accepted that the film depicting the destruction of the Ayestefanos monument in Istanbul on November 14, 1914, recorded by Fuat Uzkınay, a soldier with the army, marks the beginning of the Turkish Cinema. Subsequently, production continued in collaboration with Special Production Companies, giving rise to a specific cinematic approach rooted in Turkish literature adaptations and historical films.
The subsequent years of production have largely revolved around these core themes. An increase in the number of movies marks the period between 1960s-1975 which in now called the Golden Age of Turkish Cinema. The 1960s marked the pinnacle of production efficiency in Turkish cinema, a period characterized by the consistent release of high-quality Turkish films, coinciding with the emergence of a distinct national identity in cinema.
However, in the 1970s, the growing interest in television began to draw audiences away from cinemas, leading to the closure of many movie theaters and a contraction in the film industry. Starting in the 1980s, the “star system” waned, and films were no longer identified by their lead actors but rather by their directors, signifying a transformation in Turkish cinema.
The Turkish cinema industry faced the economic crisis in the 1990s, and production dropped to fewer than ten films per year. In the 2000s, changes in audience preferences were observed, prompting notable shifts in storytelling among filmmakers. The technical quality of Turkish films reached international standards, and Turkish films began attracting audiences numbering in the millions.
The Turkish film industry has been incentivized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism since 2005. The purpose of these incentives is to promote the development of the cinema sector, increase the number of high-quality and original productions, and introduce new directors, producers, actors, and screenwriters to the industry.
As a result of this support, the quantity of domestic films released has increased from 18 in 2004 to 189 in 2022, and the number of viewers increased from 29 million in 2004 to 35.8 million in 2022. In 2022, the domestic film share reached 51%, compared to 9% in 2002.
In recent years, Turkish cinema has not only achieved success in production and at the box office but has also secured significant accomplishments on the international stage. Turkish films have won awards at some of the world’s most prestigious international events such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, and Tokyo Film Festivals, as well as the Asia Pacific Film Awards, increasing its profile worldwide.
In recent years, with the rise in both the audience and film numbers, a growing diversity in production, and the accumulation of international awards, Turkish cinema is steadily advancing on its path to establishing itself as a recognized brand.
One of the most important manifestations of the growth of the audiovisual sector in Türkiye after the 2000s has been TV series. Growing fast enough to become an industry in its own right in a short period of time and gaining an international dimension, the series film sector has not only presented the most watched programs on national televisions, but also turned into productions that are exported across borders.
Dozens of TV series are produced in Türkiye every year, and these series are exported to more than 150 countries. It is estimated that Turkish TV series, marketed all over the world from the USA to Chile, from China to Russia, especially in the Middle East and Balkan countries, already have a viewership of 700 million viewers.
Broadcast in more than 150 countries, the Turkish TV Series have had a significant impact on Türkiye’s profile, which cannot be measured solely by the profits of the industry.
PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN TURKISH
In addition, the Turkish language is widely promoted as most countries broadcast TV series in original Turkish, leading to a significant increase in the number of people who aspire to learn and speak Turkish. The widespread broadcast of numerous TV series aids in the establishment, development and promotion of Türkiye’s image.
Türkiye has gained popularity as a favored participant at the world’s leading series and content exhibitions such as MIPCOM, Singapore ATF and Dubai expos.
It should not be ignored that Turkish TV series exports have the potential to generate a great impact on other sectors. Film tourism is an important field in this regard.
The impact of our TV series on the increase in the number of tourists coming to Türkiye is clearly seen in tourism statistics, the number of visits to filming locations and the wedding tourism that has recently started to be a phenomenon.
FILM PRODUCTION HUB: TÜRKİYE
Türkiye has a rich history and natural riches, is naturally considered as a country-wide set from end to end. With up to 300 sunny days, diverse filming locations, competitive pricing advantages, advanced technical infrastructure, experienced and qualified workforce, and an incentive system, Türkiye offers very significant advantages to film producers.
In this context, the New Cinema Law, enacted in January 2019 and put into effect, aims to make the growth and development of Turkish cinema sustainable, enhance the industry’s international competitiveness, and turn our country into one of the film production centers. With the changes made, up to 30% of the amount spent by foreign film producers in Türkiye can be reimbursed as an incentive. Foreign producers can also benefit from VAT refunds.
Both the new regulations and the impact of promotional efforts have led to significant productions being filmed in our country, especially in recent times. Additionally, Türkiye has become a destination for renowned film celebrities and producers who visit to scout suitable locations for their films.
RECENT FILMS SHOT IN TURKIYE
The entire shooting of Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre directed by the globally acclaimed British director Guy Ritchie and starring Hollywood’s renowned action star Jason Statham, took place in Türkiye.
Similarly, the filming of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, highly anticipated film directed by Guy Ritchie and featuring Hollywood’s beloved star Henry Cavill, was also carried out in Türkiye this year. A massive set was built in Demre district in Antalya for the filming of the movie. The film is expected to be released in 2024.
A significant portion of the third installment of the Tiger series, featuring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, two of Bollywood’s most prominent figures, was also shot in Türkiye.
With its stunning locations, qualified workforce, technical infrastructure, and attractive incentives, Türkiye is poised to become one of the most important hubs for film production in the coming period and it seems that international cinema productions will continue to be filmed in Türkiye.