An Interview with Reza Hakan Takin, Turkey Ambassador in Tehran
Our Priority in Turkish Government Is Independent Cinema
Art and Experience-Gelareh Mohammadi-Arezu Ghorbanpour-Somayeh Ghazizadeh: Turkish Cinema attracted many welcomes from universal audiences during recent years, so we thought that it is good to have an interview with Mr. Reza Hakan Takin, Turkey Ambassador in Tehran who has lived here since ten months ago to talk about this issue and have dialogues to know mysteries of this development.
As a first question; what’s your opinion about the role of Turkish government in success of Turkish Cinema during recent years?
Ministry of culture and tourism which is principle for cinema too pays the budget for some films also some other filmmakers can fill the request for fund while they mostly prefer to support independent cinema or films which can have a chance in international film festivals to show Turkey at there. Although there is no exact rule for supporting independent film but maybe ministry of culture and tourism has some priorities. If some of the films be not qualified (artistic or subject) they consider all the aspects and then they decide about the general subject but rather than government support, today Turkish filmmakers find sponsors especially from Europe. Generally, filmmakers send their request and usually successful and famous directors attract fullfund for themselves and investment will be easier for them. As you know, independent filmmakers do not earn good money like Iran, or even the US. They find sponsor or make governmental fund.
What’s your definition of independent cinema? Does governmental support just include independent cinema?
Not always but I think this is a fixed truth. On the one hand, we have financial films, which have more audience and on the other hand, we have films which have high quality but less audience. I think there is no exact instruction, which says this is an independent film and this is not because some of the independent films find good sell in Box Office and are more welcomed than financial films while some others fail badly but I guess this issue is more related to artistic quality.How much a film is more philosophic and cultural, understanding them is more difficult.
During recent years, Turkish TV series have been replaced to Latino ones also Turkish film achieved international acclaims like Winter Sleep of Nuri Bilge Ceylan. What is the role of government in development of Turkish Cinema?
I should say that the role of government is not much. If I want to talk about the success of Turkish TV series, government has no role. These movements are completely related to finance. As you said, Turkish TV series achieved universal welcomes and as I know, they have stood on second rate after American TV series. This is very interesting eventfor us because we are not used to it and it has happened in this decade. Now exporting these TV series is one of the main exports of Turkey but you see that they are not the only cultural exports of our country while many of independent filmmakers never enter to financial game of cinema for example, when Nuri Bilge Ceylan you named him started his work in cinema he made some low-budget films and he used even his family members as the actors. He also tried to find money for his work by himself even by photography as he is a good photographer. I think this is a very common rule in every country that you have to fight for your dreams. Therefore, if I want to summarize my words I have to say that the role of government in development of cinema or independent cinema is the minimum one.
Is there any encouragement for filmmaking from government?
Yes, but you know, some of the filmmakers basically do not like to work with government because maybe some parts of it maybe has to be changed by the ministry but some taxfree encouragements are considered or providing some facilities like devices or locations.
While the television products has developed much recently and welcoming to cinema had been decreased I want to know how well is the quality and facilities of movie-halls in Turkey?
It is a good question. Previously, movie halls in Turkey had one hall and I liked that version more because it helped you to have more sense to watch a film and the theatrical atmosphere of it but after 90s everything has changed and each cinema changed to a complex. Now, I can say that today in Turkey we do not have any big-one-hall.
What is the situation of film festivals in Turkey?
Istanbul film festival is the most important international film festival in Turkey. I think it was started in 1982 and now it is a big and famous one in the world but the greatest one is Antalya Golden Orange festival. In addition, we have some more film festivals in other cities like Adana, Ankara or some subject-based film festivals like the one about women.