When it comes to famous film studios of the world, most people think of Hollywood in Los Angeles, Bollywood in Mumbai or the charming French city of Cannes that holds the annual film festival attended by some of the most significant stars in the world.
People rarely mention the Turkish film industry, which despite producing some classic blockbusters and cult films within the country has failed to become a global player. While it would be easy to write them off as nonstarters, certain people within Turkey are not prepared to accept anything less than first place when it comes to being a worldwide phenomenon on screen and off.
The Turkish government fully recognises the benefits of being a superstar filmmaking destination. Of course, the iconic status is an excellent attribute to have but making films does wonders for business and tourism.
So the Turkish government wants to turn the Mediterranean hub of Antalya, into Turkey’s version of Hollywood. They want it to be a favourite hangout place for celebrities and a destination where overnight you can become a global star, whether you make films or appear in them.
Antalya Film Studios
Academia, an American social website for academics calls Antalya, an emerging Eurasian film centre. They say the city, that is the second most popular tourist destination in Turkey already has all the required attributes to match the likes of Hollywood including a beautiful climate averaging 300 days of sunshine a year, a 12-month tourism season, and a delectable blend of ancient and modern landmarks.
Indeed, Antalya is not a newcomer to the film industry. Having run the Orange Film Festival since 1964, the idea to turn it into a filmmaking hub was first floated about in 1957, by a Turkish film director called Behlul Dal.
But it just stopped there. No-one seemed willing or able to take on the king of the Turkish film industry, Istanbul. That is until now with the proposal of the Bogacayi project.
Will Antalya Become Turkey’s Version of Hollywood?
Roughly 4 years ago, members of the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey visited Universal Film Studios in Hollywood and also met with representatives from various American companies to talk about what a film studio needs to become globally famous.
In a follow-up visit to the USA by the Mayor of Antalya and the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they talked about a 5,000-hectare film studio that would fulfil three purposes:
1: To become a leader in the global filmmaking industry
2: Open as a touristic attraction
3: Form a cinema academy to train students to be the best filmmakers, directors and actors in the world.
The chosen location of a possible studio was within the scope of the Bogacayi project, that will be in the Konyaalti district and include among other facilities a brand-new marina. Citing that many international and domestic investors are interested in the project, in later years, the plan is to make the Antalya Film Festival, just as famous as the Oscars and the hope is that Antalya’s nickname will be the film city of Turkey.
One may wonder why Antalya has such high hopes and expectations that they can take on Hollywood and win. The answer is that the rewards are too big to ignore.
If Antalya can become a major centre of film and arts in the world, money is going to pour into the country through business, and tourism. The fact that Antalya’s film studios will be more than ten times the size of Universal Studios in the USA isn’t a fluke of nature either, but instead a well-planned concept and show of strength.
The knock-on effect on the economy could well generate billions of dollars and help Turkey in its endeavour to become one of the top ten economies of the world. Turkey has already shown its ambition and eagerness to be a global player through its mega projects of which the new Istanbul third airport is just one example.
Little is known about the film studio project, and it seems to be still in the stages of infancy, but given Turkey’s proven determination and drive, we can’t see them passing up this source of lucrative income so watch this space. In 10 years’ time, it is entirely possible for Antalya to be globally recognised as a leading destination for the films and arts industry.
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