Turkey has attracted numerous Hollywood, Bollywood and international productions in the last couple of years thanks to its variety of stunning locations and a new cash rebate of up to 30%, launched just before Covid struck.
“My mailbox is exploding with requests from all over the world,” says Chad Ozturk, executive producer at local production outfit Panda Films. “We are even quoting for productions from Belarus and Greece, who don’t usually shoot here. Many in the industry underestimate the locations and talent pool that Turkey can offer. It’s a hidden paradise for cost-effective production, even more so with our currency drop.”
One of the biggest projects to choose Turkey recently was Guy Ritchie’s feature Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre, produced by Miramax, which shot in the southern province of Antalya, including capital city Ankara, an area that is growing as a production hub.
The emergence of Netflix-backed local series such as Rise Of Empires: Ottoman has also boosted the country’s standing. “Turkey is a magical place,” enthuses Ronald L Carr, US producer of France-Turkey-US drama Scent Of My Daughter. “We filmed in the Hatay Province, near the Syrian border, including at a refugee camp, and the local crew and community were great.
“Turkey is also great at doubling for other locations, even Beverly Hills thanks to its high-end hotels and malls,” continues Carr, who has set up his own company in Turkey, Czar Pictures, and plans to shoot more projects in the country. “We travelled to Iskenderun, which is on the Mediterranean, and it looks like Nice.”
Turkey is arguably most famous for the city of Istanbul, which has long attracted film productions that shoot against its picturesque backdrops. Beyond its iconic architecture, Turkey offers a broad range of location options, ranging from the Black Sea mountains in the north to the Taurus mountains in the south and the high plateau region of Anatolia in the centre. There are natural wonders such as Cappadocia, where a lot of Hollywood and European films were shot in the past and is like an open-air film studio. Plus there are beautiful beaches, rocky shores, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, mountains, dry lands, modern architecture, unique cities, towns and villages, all within relatively close distance from each other.
Shooting in Turkey requires permits from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which usually take about two weeks. “However, producers should keep in mind that the general filming permit is only the first layer of permits,” says Mert Gurel at local production service providers Fixer In Turkey. “Other regulations and permits will need to follow depending on the city of filming.”
Turkey is arguably most famous internationally for the city of Istanbul, considered by many to be the point where East meets West. The city has long attracted film productions that shoot against its picturesque backdrop.
Beyond the iconic architecture of Istanbul, Turkey offers a broad range of location options, ranging from the Eastern Black Sea mountain chain in the north to the Taurus mountains in the south and the high plateau region of Anatolia in the centre.
There are natural wonders like Cappadocia, which is where a lot of Hollywood and European films were shot in the past and is like an open-air film studio. Plus, beautiful beaches, rocky shores, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, mountains, dry lands, modern architecture, unique cities, towns and villages, all within close distance of each other.
"Turkey is the ideal country to shoot nowadays because of the currency drop," enthuses Osturk at Panda Films. "Imagine a country where you can find all kind of beaches, mountains, valleys, pastures, fields and A level crew who worked on top class Hollywood and Bollywood productions. You can get an English speaking gaffer for €215 for a 12 hour shoot day. The country really is a hidden paradise for cost effective production."
"Turkey is unique: a transcontinental country with centuries of intriguing heritage boasting a great range of locations and a diverse array of casting possibilities," adds Yasar at Mental Film. "Turkey’s climate provides all four seasons at any time so you can shoot what you want, when you want it across a large variety of terrains."
Filming in Turkey requires permits from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which usually take about two weeks. However, producers should keep in mind that the general filming permit is only the first layer of permits; other regulations/permits will need to follow depending on the city of filming.
Turkey has an extensive and cost-effective transportation network with the Turkish Republic State Railways extending 10,985 kilometres across the country, including a high-speed line that connects Istanbul to Ankara. The network of highways and motorways also exceeds 10,000 kilometres.
Airports across Turkey welcome thousands of international flights each week.
First person to contact
Mustafa Selcuk Yavuzkanat, assistant general manager, General Directorate of Cinema
Turkey is a cheap place to shoot with competitive prices for equipment rental and crew and offers a favourable exchange rate.
If producers are bringing in equipment, it is best to do so with an ATA Carnet. If the crew is hiring locally, it is worth noting that most of the rental houses are based in Istanbul. The intention is to transform the laid-back Mediterranean beach resort of Antalya into a major shooting hub.
Antalya’s Expo exhibition space was used for the filming of Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre with approval from the local government.