Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ministry-supported films take awards

Turkish films made with the support of the Ministry of Culture are garnering international acclaim and awards.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is pleased with the support being given to the rejuvenated Turkish film sector both internationally and by filmgoers in Turkey. According to a 2006 survey, the percentage of those attending domestic films in theatres rose to 52 percent from a mere 8 percent.

Among the award-winning movies supported by the Ministry are: “Uzak” (”Distant”), “İklimer” (”Climates”), “Takva”(”A man’s fear of God”), “Beş Vakit” (”Times and Winds”), “Babam ve Oğlum” (”My father and son”), “Dondurmam Gaymak” (”I scream for ice cream”), “Eve Dönüş” (”The return home”), “Eve giden yol” (”The road that leads home”), “Hacivat ve Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü?” (”Why were Hacivat and Karagöz killed?”) “Son Osmanlı-Yandım Ali” (”The Last Ottoman- I’m in trouble Ali”). The Ministry of Culture’s cinema manager, Selahattin Ertaş, indicated that the ministry is successful at supporting the right projects.

In 2005 the ministry supported “Babam ve Oğlum” with over YTL 2 million in financing. In 2006, 33 movies including “Takva” and “İklimler” were supported with YTL 6 million in funding. In the event a movie wins awards at international festivals or if they are simply unable to make a profit, the ministry will void the repayment of financing. While many of the films supported by the ministry have won awards from international festivals, none to date have been unable to make a profit. Their producers, thanks to renewed support at domestic cinemas, have been able to pay back the loans.
Ertaş noted the importance of the increasing the volume of Turkish movie viewers, adding the amount of Turks watching Turkish films has exceeded the amount that prefer Hollywood films. Ertaş said: “A sizeable community that usually never go to movie theatres started doing so with the revival of Turkish cinema.” Ertaş noted they would continue to support independent films, and were doing so with many important projects slated for release in 2007. Ertaş said that movies such as “Azul” (”Immigrant”), “Mavi Gözlü Dev” (”Blue eyed giant”), “Sis ve Gece” (”Fog and night”),”Ademin Trenleri” (”Adam’s Trains”), “Şanjan” (”Iridescence”) and “Sevgilim İstanbul” (”My love İstanbul”) will be premiere in 2007 and they expect each one of them to be a success. Ertaş said that although they were criticized for some of their choices in movies, the movies in question ultimately became huge success stories.

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