Gallipoli pics do battle in Turkey

Centenary births dueling adaptations

ISTANBUL — With the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli just around the corner, Turkish audiences who want to relive the event onscreen will have options, with at least two adaptations of the 1915 WWI campaign set for release.

On Sept. 28, the nation-forging struggle between Ottoman and Allied forces over the straits of the Dardanelles, or what Turks call Canakkale, will first be brought to life in Sinan Cetin’s “Children of Canakkale.” Detailing the story of two brothers who fight on opposite sides in Gallipoli, the $5 million Plato Film project is set to premiere on 400 screens across Turkey.

On Oct. 18, Yesim Sezgin’s “Canakkale 1915,” based on the bestselling historical fiction by Turgut Ozakman, will be released on 1,000 screens across Turkey and Europe. Also boasting a $5 million budget, this Fida Film production focuses on the battle as a foundation for the Turkish Republic.

Both films should benefit from a recent surge in interest among Turks for historical dramas. This year’s “Conquest 1453,” detailing the conquering of Istanbul, grossed $31 million, to become the biggest film in Turkish history, and is being turned into a TV series. Historical series draw high ratings on Turkish TV, including “Magnificent Century” (dealing with the court of Suleyman the Magnificent), “Law of the Wolf” (covering the early Turkish Republic) and “Ottoman Mutiny” (relating the middle Ottoman period).

“Children of Canakkale” distinguishes itself from many Turkish war films by its antiwar stance. The film has already stirred controversy for its tagline, “Long live the children, too,” a likely reference to the popular nationalist chant “Long live the homeland.” Roughly a third of the dialog is in English, a choice the producers say highlights the shared horror of war on all sides.

“Canakkale 1915” marks out quite different territory with the tagline: “No enemy, army or weapon can be mightier than the love for a nation.” Producers stress the realism of the film, noting the authentic arms, costumes and locations, including the actual battlefields of the Dardanelles, for which they received special shooting permission.

Playing to an audience that enthusiastically embraces local product, these takes on the battle may be just the beginning of films on the subject, with at least three other major productions pegged at various stages of development.

So whatever the most appropriate tagline for all these works may be, it’s certain Turkish filmmakers are crying, “Long live the battle of Gallipoli.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a man who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Dan Trachtenberg

    Tom Holland's 'Uncharted' Movie Loses Director

    Dan Trachtenberg has exited the director’s chair for Sony’s “Uncharted” movie starring Tom Holland, with the studio taking meetings with top filmmakers and production starting early next year. The studio confirmed Trachtenberg’s departure Thursday. It also said Sony-based PlayStation Productions — headed by Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan — had come on to produce alongside [...]

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: Jennifer Lopez 'Hustlers' Heading for $25 Million Launch

    STX Entertainment’s “Hustlers,” a comedic thriller about strip-club employees seeking revenge, is expected to earn $25 million when it opens on Sept. 13, according to early tracking. The movie — starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Cardi B and Lizzo — will debut alongside Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch.” The drama, based on [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Lays Off 35 Corporate Staffers

    AMC Entertainment has laid off 35 corporate staffers and will not fill an additional 15 open jobs. The Kansas-based chain made the announcement Thursday as part of a previously announced “profit improvement plan” intended to achieve operating and administrative efficiencies. AMC, which operates more than 10,000 movie screens, had disclosed the plan on Aug. 8 [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content