Eurasia builds film industry

Festivals brings money, production contacts

Given Turkey’s geography, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, the idea of bringing people together makes good business sense. And so it is that organizers of the concurrent Antalya Golden Orange and Eurasia film fests are ramping up their industry activities.

Launching this year is a script development fund designed to encourage co-productions between Turkish and international shingles. Projects from anywhere in the world are eligible with one proviso: They have a Turkish co-producer attached. Seven projects have already been selected, with the winning entry receiving $20,000.

Meanwhile, the Eurasia Film Market returns for a second year with a determined focus on bringing European and Asian — both Middle and Far Eastern — buyers and sellers together.

Despite the crowded October film fest schedule — Antalya/ Eurasia has virtually the same dates this year as Rome, Tokyo and London — fest organizers are reporting that the number of confirmed market attendees has topped last year’s figure of some 1,500 guests.

“It looks like a traditional market, and we have booths for buyers and sellers as well as screening and meeting rooms,” says fest director Esra Even. “But we’re not a traditional market. We try to give participants a chance to have meetings in a more relaxed atmosphere. For our Asian executives from the Middle East and the Far East, it’s much easier to come to Turkey for a market.”

Fest organizers are also bowing the Eurasia Production Platform, a partnership with the Gaul-based European Producers Club (EPC). This year, 15 producers have been selected to attend the fest and pitch their projects.

Antalya’s industry expansion has been aided significantly by increased coin from Turkey’s Ministry of Culture, the mayor of Antalya and private sponsorship from German supermarket chain Metro Group.

Ironically, while many of the initiatives have been designed with the international market-place in mind, the real fuel behind the boost to Turkey’s film biz comes courtesy of booming private TV nets.

It’s no coincidence that the largest single increase in attendees at this year’s market will come from Turkish TV execs keen to fill their grids. Given the fierce competition with other fests to attract buyers and sellers from around the world, the concept of charity starting at home never seemed more profitable.

“All the Turkish TV station buyers will be here,” Even says. “Even though there’s competition with other festivals and their dates, we will have a lot more Turkish buyers coming this year.”