“We’re basically like family,” says Demirtas, noting that Kirmizigul wrote and directed Boyut’s international breakout feature, “I Saw the Sun,” in the Miami flat where Demirtas spends half of the year.
The film deals with a Kurdish family forced to flee the war-torn southeast and their adjustments to life in Norway and Istanbul. It was Turkey’s 2009 Oscar entry for the foreign-language category, and it was Pinema’s first distribution deal with Boyut. Drawing 2.5 million viewers and $12 million at the Turkish box office, the film was the country’s second-biggest performer in 2009.
For Pinema Film founder Pamir Demirtas, personal relationships are the basis of the business. One of Pinema’s strongest connections is with Turkey’s Boyut Film, a venture that partners producer Murat Tokat with singer, actor and director Mahsun Kirmizigul.
“I’m not simply a distributor for them,” says Demirtas. “Mahsun felt like he was at home, and I was included from the start in discussions of the story.”
The next major project, 2010’s “Five Minarets in New York,”again written and directed by Kirmizigul, added a new dimension to the Pinema-Boyut relationship, as Pinema helped broker deals for worldwide distribution.
The film, which follows a Turkish Islamic cleric who settles in the U.S. but is extradited back to Turkey to face charges of terrorism, was filmed in New York and Turkey.
It features Danny Glover, Gina Gershon and Robert Patrick alongside major Turkish names including Kirmizigul, Haluk Bilginer and pop star Mustafa Sandal. It was Turkey’s biggest film of 2010, grossing $22 million at the box office. It was also sold, with the help of Pinema, all over the world.
Continuing this strong partnership, Pinema is releasing Boyut’s “Romantic Comedy 2: Goodbye to Bachelorhood” this week to coincide with Valentine’s day. This Erol Ozlevi-directed film is a sequel to the hit “Romantic Comedy,” which was Pinema’s second-best performer in 2010.
But there’s more on tap for the Pinema-Boyut relationship, with two Kirmizigul-directed features planned for release in 2013 or early 2014. Though Demirtas is tight-lipped about the details, he notes that, as before, they’ll be working like a family from start to release date.
Biz built on relationships | Timeline: Two decades of growth | Boyut Film tie is built to last