Turkish production on the rise

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The new hot spot for shooting TV shows and commercials as well as feature films is Turkey. In order to stimulate the domestic film industry, the Turkish government implemented an incentive package in 2004. According to the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, domestic films produced in Turkey did in fact increase from 29 in 2005 to nearly 70 in 2011. However, the Chamber pointed out that 78% of the movies produced in Turkey since 2005 received no support from incentives sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The increase in the number of movies and TV productions has also stimulated an interest in acting among Istanbul's youthful population. Erol Bilge, a board member of the Casting Agencies Association (Kastder), said, "Istanbul is a crowded, dynamic and beautiful city with a young population. These young people are eager to earn more money.” He noted that there are currently 60 to 70 acting agencies in Turkey with a total of around 10,000 members.

Another benefit of the increase in production has been interest in purchase of foreign broadcast rights. Between 2005 and 2011, 35,675 hours of Turkish TV programs were sold to broadcasters in 76 countries around the world, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Programs were broadcast in the Middle East, as well as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, New Caledonia, Niger, Senegal, Singapore, Somalia, Vietnam and a number of Balkan countries. Television companies in Israel and Greece have also purchased Turkish TV programs.

CNN Names World's Best Cinemas
On Feb. 15, the blog site CNN Go published a short piece by Hoshan Chan on the ten best movie theatres in the world. I am pleased to see that five of the top ten are here in Asia.

No. 8: Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

CGV's contribution to the “dinner and a movie” concept. Dine on French-Italian cuisine, courtesy of a former Park Hyatt chef, while you sit and watch the latest blockbuster in seats made by the same company that provides private movie theatre seats for United Arab Emirates royalty.

No. 7: Prasads, Hyderabad, India
This may look like any other shopping complex, but inside is purportedly the largest IMAX 3D screen in the world (72 by 92 feet). Sydney has the largest IMAX in the world at 97 by 117 feet, but add Prasad's 3D technology capability and you get on this list.

No. 6: Uplink X, Tokyo, Japan
What makes this theatre unique is its small size—40 seats which can be moved around a "social seating" plan. The 10 various types of seats are not screwed into the ground, but can be moved within the space, making the movie-watching experience more interactive and social.

No. 5: 4DX, Seoul, South Korea
CGV takes 3D movies to another level by introducing seats that move and creating “wind” and various scents, making the moviegoing experience a 4D sensation for the equivalent of a US$12 ticket. 4DX theaters are now part of 14 CGV locations all over Korea.

No. 3: Raj Mandir Theatre, Jaipur, India
You might not see The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Pink Flamingos in this pink Art Deco building seating 1,200, but be prepared for the ultimate Bollywood experience. At US$1.90 per ticket, you can't beat that for watching a three-hour Hindi flick, standing and cheering the hero and heroine and bellowing out the Indian National Anthem at the beginning of the show.

A Busy Beijing
Lined up in blistery winter weather, 20,000 students from across China waited to take the entrance examination at the Beijing Film Academy on Feb. 8. The Academy is one of the largest institutions specializing in film and TV in China. Only 455 students will finally be enrolled.

Meanwhile, the second Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF) is scheduled to run April 23-28. There is no film competition this year; instead, BIFF will screen nominated and award-winning films from international festivals that ran in 2011.

Additional activities will include a film market, a film carnival/networking event and a seminar with major film studio executives.
The film market at last year's BIFF sealed deals worth nearly three billion yuan (US$476.7 million).

CFG Barco Chooses GDC Technology

You may recall back in August 2011, Barco and China Film Group formed CFG Barco (Beijing) Electronics Co. Ltd.—a joint venture among two Barco subsidiaries, Barco Visual (Beijing) Electronics Co. Ltd. and Barco China (Holdings) Ltd., and China Film Equipment Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Film Group.

Now GDC Technology has been selected by CFG Barco to provide 1,000 SX-2000A digital-cinema servers with Integrated Media Block (IMB) for deployment at movie theatres throughout the Chinese mainland. With this deployment, GDC Tech will now have deployed around 16,000 digital servers worldwide.

Contact Scott Rosenberg with relevant news stories at prdivision@gmail.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @scott_cos or on Facebook: D Scott Rosenberg.