×

Turkish Film and TV Community on Edge After Airport Terror Attack

ROME — The three suicide attacks at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, which killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 200 Tuesday night, sparked fresh fears in the Turkish film and TV community Wednesday over the increasing impact of terrorism on the country and the industry.

Security concerns have already caused the cancellation of next year’s Discop Istanbul TV content market. Basic Lead, the event’s organizer, cited “ongoing geopolitical tensions” in the region as the reason for its decision earlier this month. Last year’s international section of Turkey’s prominent Adana Film Festival was also canceled because of safety concerns.

Over the past 12 months, terror attacks have resulted in more than 200 deaths in Istanbul and Ankara, the Turkish capital. The assault on Istanbul’s airport Tuesday is being blamed on extremists inspired or directed by the radical group Islamic State.

“These attacks affect first of all the psychology of the people,” said Basak Emre, co-director of Festival on Wheels, which promotes Turkish films. She noted the drop in number of both international guests and local attendees at the Istanbul Film Festival in April. “The reason is fear and anxiety.”

Those same worries have also caused a dip in local box-office grosses, as Turkish moviegoers become more reluctant to go into movie theaters, especially multiplexes. But “the film industry is still strong,” Emre added, “as the country’s screens and film releases continue to increase.”

“We are receiving solidarity messages from all over the world, from the artists and cultural operators that we collaborate with,” said Gulun Ustun, who heads the Istanbul fest’s Meetings on the Bridge industry side. “As always, we hope music, culture and the arts provide us with healing power.”

On Tuesday night, as the massacre at the Istanbul airport was unfolding, producer Muge Ozen was on the Istanbul set of a Turkish comedy, the as-yet-untitled sequel to  “Give Me a Break!” (“Yok Artik”), a local box-office smash.

“The current events affect the potential co-productions and shootings in Turkey in a very negative way,” Ozen said. “It becomes harder and harder to convince international crews to come and shoot in Turkey, where the economic and political stability, as well as the security conditions are questionable.”

Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner” was shot in 2014 in Turkey. So were “Argo,” Skyfall” and “Ghost Rider 2.”

But that was before the recent spate of major terrorist attacks cast the country in a less attractive light.

Turkish artist-auteur Kutlug Ataman, best-known on the international fest circuit for sardonic rural drama “The Lamb,” (“Kuzu”), struck a stoic note.

“The best answer to acts of terror is not to become alarmist and go on with the business of daily life and obviously reflecting on life,” he said. “This is exactly what I am doing.”

“People make films, and sometimes even better films, under more difficult conditions. We will certainly overcome these inconveniences and continue telling our stories.”

Arzu Ozturkmen, a performing arts professor with close ties to the Turkish industry, said that “Turkey has a long history of coping with street terror and terror in general.” She noted that turmoil has not slowed down production of widely exported TV series such as Kanal D’s female empowerment-themed “Fatmagul,” which are fueling Turkey ‘s current boom in the global TV market.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • 'Lizzie McGuire' Reboot Series in the

    'Lizzie McGuire' Reboot Series in the Works at Disney Plus

    Get excited “Lizzie McGuire” fans because a reboot series of the much loved Disney Channel teen show is in the works at Disney Plus, according to sources. Lizzie McGuire herself Hilary Duff is expected to announce the series at Disney Puls’ D23 Expo event. Created by Terri Minsky, the original “Lizzie McGuire” series ran for [...]

  • Disney Fans Lineup to Subscribe to

    Fans Line Up to Subscribe to Disney Plus at D23

    Disney fans lined up to be among the first to subscribe to the company’s forthcoming streaming service. The D23 Expo convention hall, filled with giant Marvel exhibits and cos-players also featured a kiosk to sign up for Disney Plus. The incentive? An offer to save $23 per year on a three-year subscription to the service. [...]

  • Cine-y-Series

    Chilean TV Grapples With Globalization

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Globalization was the key word in a TV panel held during Sanfic where Mega TV’s International Content chief Juan Ignacio Vicente, CNTV development head Ignacio Villalabeitia and DirecTV programming director Rossy Hernandez debated the myriad challenges Chile’s television industry faces today. Like its counterparts worldwide, Chilean TV is dealing with the spectre [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • PHINEAS AND FERB - "The Fast

    'Phineas and Ferb' Disney Plus Movie Details, Including Title, Revealed at D23

    Five years after summer ended for “Phineas and Ferb,” the show returns with a new movie on Disney Plus in 2020, new details of which were revealed on Friday at the D23 fan convention. In “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” currently in production for the new streaming service, stepbrothers Phineas and [...]

  • Brews Brothers Netflix

    Netflix Orders Comedy Series 'Brews Brothers' from Schaffer Brothers

    Netflix has put in an eight-episode order of “Brews Brothers,” a comedy series from creative sibling team Greg Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer. The show follows estranged brothers Wilhelm and Adam Rodman, who wind up running a brewery together. According to Netflix, each is a “beer genius … but they couldn’t be more different in their [...]

  • Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas.

    Jonas Brothers Shine a Light on New Jersey Via VMAs Asbury Park Performance

    The Jonas Brothers will pay homage to their New Jersey roots at the MTV Video Music Awards this Monday (Aug. 26) with a performance on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. The brothers — Nick, Joe and Kevin — were raised in Wyckoff, NJ. With the awards ceremony being held for the first time at the Prudential [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content