Analysis of the Latest Regulations Related to the Cinema Industry in Turkey
Two new regulations covering the areas of cinema sector, shooting permits, and co-productions were published on the Official Journal dated 15.10.2019. Both regulations were drafted on the basis of The Assessment, Classification, and Support of Cinema Movies Act. The Regulation on Motion Picture Shooting Permits and Co-Productions is based on The Ratification of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production Act and establishes the principles and procedures which should be followed by the producers intending to shoot co-produced movies for commercial use. On the other hand, The Regulation on the Support of the Cinema Industry covers the types of supports, terms of application, supporting boards and commissions, eligibility criteria, and the liabilities of the supported person.
I. The Regulation on Motion Picture Shooting Permits and Co-Productions
As from the date of the publication of this Regulation, The Regulation on Cinematographic Co-Productions and National and Foreign Producers Intending to Shoot Movies for Commercial Use in Turkey, published in The Official Journal on the date of 12/08/2005, has been repealed.
This Regulation covers the main characteristics of co-productions, the application and assessment processes which will be followed for co-productions, permits which will be granted for the shooting of movies and dramas in Turkey, and the determination of the fee schedule for shooting.
The relevant provisions of the Regulation establishing the principles and procedures which should be followed by producers intending to shoot movies in Turkey for commercial use and involving the co-production are in compliance with “European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production”.
European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production
European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (will be referred to as “Convention”) has been signed by Turkey on 10 January 1997 and come into force with The Ratification of European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production Act which is published in The Official Journal on 14.04.2004. Contracting countries have undertaken to promote cinematographic co-productions in accordance with the terms of the Convention.
According to the Convention, to be considered as a co-production within the meaning of the Convention, it is necessary to achieve some specific conditions and also to apply to the competent authorities of the relevant contracting countries with the documents required in the Appendix of the Convention.
Even though the Regulation was based on the Convention, there are still some differences. While examining the Regulation below, some of those differences will also be mentioned.
Which conditions should be complied with by co-productions?
1. In the case of dual co-production, i.e. for motion pictures produced together by one national and one foreign, two producers under a co-production contract, the participation shares of parties shall not be less than 10%. According to subsection 6(2) of the Convention, where there are two co-production partners, the minimum participation share shall not be less than 20% and the maximum participation share shall not be more than 80% of the total cost of production.
2. In the case of multilateral co-productions, i.e. motion pictures produced by at least 3 national and foreign producers, the financial participation shares of parties shall not be less than 5% and more than 80%. According to subsection 6 (1) of the Convention, where more than two co-production partners are involved, the minimum participation share shall not be less than 10% and the maximum participation share shall not be more than 70%.
3. Country names of co-producers should be included in the opening credits, trailers, and advertisements of the motion picture.
4. The movie shall attend international festivals and competitions on behalf of the country of the co-producers which has the highest participation share. In the event that the participation shares are equal, the movie will attend the events on behalf of the country of the director. However, otherwise can be agreed upon by parties.
5. In the event of exporting to the countries imposing quotas, co-production shall be included to;
i. The quota of the country whose financial participation share is the highest,
ii. If the shares are equal, the quota of the country which can export the movie under the best conditions,
iii. If the above-mentioned conditions are not met, the quota of the country of the director.
What are the application and assessment process for co-productions?
After filling the form prepared by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the applications for co-productions shall be delivered to Cinema General Directorate. If the application is admissible, the temporary co-production certificate will be delivered to the applicant. The co-production certificate will be given to the applicant after the delivery of the documents requested by the Ministry of Culture alongside the final copy of the movie to the Ministry. Additionally, the co-producer with the highest participation share shall receive the temporary co-production certificate from its country’s competent authority. Otherwise, the application shall not be taken into account.
The applications for the projects that violate human dignity, have pornographic content and promote discrimination, hostility, and violence shall not be taken into account.
While there is a provision under the Convention stating that “Projects which promote the violence or have pornographic content or violate the human dignity cannot be granted with the status of co-production.”, this subject was also dealt with under the Regulation broadly.
During the assessment process, the producer’s financial and technical ability for the project, and the membership of the national professional associations shall be considered.
What are the requirements of shooting permits for foreign producers?
The applications shall be made to Cinema General Directorate minimum 10 working days before the commencement of shooting by filling the form prepared by the Ministry. If the application is admissible, a permit certification will be issued. Even though this permission is issued, it is still necessary to receive the other required permissions from the civil administrative chief in the highest position (The governor in cities) at the shooting place and additionally, if special permission is needed, the required permits should also be received from the relevant public institutions and organizations.
During the shooting of foreign motion pictures in Turkey, either a minimum one Turkish citizen must be employed as a guide or a service must be received from relevant companies.
How should national producers notify?
The shooting notification should be made a minimum of 5 working days before the commencement of shooting to the civil administrative chief in the highest position at the shooting place by filling the forms prepared by the Ministry. However, in situations where a special permit is required, a permit must also be received from the relevant institutions.
In the Convention, the durations for applications must be made a minimum one month before the commencement of shooting regardless of the stipulations under contracts.
In addition to that, in order to determine the requirements during the shooting of movies in Turkey and develop possible solutions, ensure the coordination between institutions, conduct business quickly and effectively and specify the fee schedule for shooting and stipulate the principles for ensuring the safety during shooting, the Ministry may form a Coordination Commission for Movie Shootings in needful cities. If needed, the commission may also invite civil organizations and private sector representatives to meeting in order to hear their ideas.
II. The Regulation on the Support of the Cinema Industry
The Regulation on the Support of the Cinema Industry regulates the principles and procedures for the development and strengthening of the cinema sector. As from the date of the publication of this Regulation, The Regulation on the Support of the Cinema Movies, published in The Official Journal on the date of 13.11.2004, has been repealed.
The support provided to co-productions which are subject to the Regulation on the Motion Picture Shooting Permits and Co-Productions is regulated in detail under Article 16. It is one of the conditions for the support that the local co-producer shall continue to be involved in the project as the co-producer until the conclusion of the project. The status of the co-production is also referred to under Article 24 which regulates the production support for the foreign movies by stating that “The local co-producer or the local producer providing service is required to sign a co-production contract or a production service contract with the foreign producer of the motion picture.”
Which areas shall be supported?
1. Production Support for the Animation Movie
2. Production Support for the Documentary Movie
3. Post-Filming Support: The support provided for any visual, sound, or similar works to the producer of cinema movies whose shootings were completed without having any support from the Ministry.
4. Support for the Distribution and Promotion: The support is provided in order to contribute to the domestic promotion, distribution, and presentation activities to the producer of a motion picture which has not taken any support from the Ministry or abroad.
5. Support for TV Series: The support is provided to producers of national TV series for their national TV series projects which are exported and contribute to the promotion of the country.
6. Production Support for the First Feature Movie: The support provided to a director which will shoot his first feature movie in order to support any stage of the shooting process from the pre-production stage to the date of release. (During the support, the director cannot be replaced or a new director cannot be employed.)
7. Production Support for the Short Film: The support provided for films which have a running time under 30 minutes.
8. The Support for Co-Production: The support provided to a local co-producer in order to support any stage of the making of a feature film that is accepted as a co-production in accordance with the international treaties or conventions to which our country is a party or international conventions that includes provisions relating to the co-productions and in which the local co-producer holds less share, from the pre-production stage to the date of release.
9. Support for Project Development: The support provided for any research and development activities that have been conducted until the stage of the shooting of the movie to the producer of a feature cinema movie whose shooting has not begun.
10. The Support for the Writing of Script and Dialogue: The support provided to the writer of the script and dialogue for the writing of a feature film scenario.
11. The Production Support for the Feature Cinema Movie: The support provided to the producer in order to support any stage of the making of a feature cinema movie from the pre-production stage to the date of release.
12. The Support for the Release of National Movies: It is the support provided to the cinema hall operator in order to enable the audience access to the domestic or co-produced feature films supported by the Ministry.
13. Production Support for the Foreign Movie: It is the support provided to the local co-producer or the local producer providing service for foreign feature movies, documentary movies, and series which will be shot completely or partly in Turkey in order to support any stage of the making of the movie from the pre-production stage to the date of the release, on the condition that the support shall not exceed 30% of the amount spent in the country and determined by the Ministry.
How will applications and assessments for the support be conducted?
The applications for the support will be made by natural and legal persons residing in Turkey to the General Directorate of Cinema. In order to benefit from production support, the movie should be ready to be released at the date of the announcement of the decision.
The applications made for the support of projects which have been found not eligible to be supported twice under the same category shall not be taken into account. During the same application period, more than one application for support cannot be made under the same category. The applicant cannot have support for more than one project in the same year.
What are the assessment criteria for support?
The support shall be granted by considering the following criteria:
1. The originality of the Project
2. The cultural, artistic and aesthetic value of the project,
3. Contribution of the project to the promotion of our country and national culture
4. National and international circulation potential of the project
5. The applicant's, if any, previous work and national or international achievements
6. The experience and success of the producer, director, scriptwriter and dialogue writer and other team members in their fields,
7. Budget and financial plan
8. Not being in violation of human dignity and principles established under the Constitution.
What steps shall be taken after the decision of support?
The person receiving the support shall apply to the Ministry in order to sign a contract within thirty working days following the announcement of the decision by the Ministry. Those who cannot sign a contract due to the fact that they did not meet the necessary conditions within one year from the date of the announcement of the decision, shall be deemed to have given up their right to benefit from the support.
In the event of the replacement of the director after the support has been received, the replacement request shall be made with the joint notification of the producer and the director. If the request is found acceptable by the Ministry or the commission, the director's rights and obligations shall cease to exist. In the event that another screenwriter is involved in the project or there is a substantial change in the scenario, the person receiving the support is also required to make a request to the committee or the ministry.
In 2019, there are essential steps that need to be taken in Turkey in order to support and develop the cinema industry. Both mentioned regulations are renewed in accordance with the 18.01.2019 dated amendments made on Law of Clarification, Elimination, and Supporting of Motion Pictures. Other hollows would be fulfilled with decisions and codes from relevant commissions.
Author: Selen Zafer Boztepe