WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING ON LOCATION IN TURKEY
Turkey is a magical place, attracting Hollywood and Bollywood international productions, thanks to its stunning locations. Arguably most famous for the city of Istanbul, considered to be the point where East meets West and has long attracted film productions that shoot against its picturesque backdrops. Turkey offers a broad range of location options, beyond the iconic architecture – ranging from the Black Sea mountains in the north to the Taurus mountains in the south- resembling The Alps, and the high plateau region of Anatolia in the centre. There are beautiful beaches, rocky shores, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, mountains, dry lands, modern architecture and unique cities, towns and villages, all within relatively close distance from each other.
Turkeys 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.
Airports across Turkey welcome thousands of International flights each week. There are over 90 airports on the mainland, over 20 of which are International airports. The Turkish Republic State Railway extends 10,985 kilometres across the country, including a high- speed line that connects Istanbul to Ankara.
Filming locations in this country are both naturally stunning and rich in culture as filmmakers can capture ancient scenes in the city of Istanbul or picturesque landmarks such as the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. If great food, friendly locals and a truly unique European experience sounds like the ideal setting for your production, then Turkey is perfect for your project.
Turkey generally is a very mild country with scorching hot summers between June- September. Winters can be cold and wet, particularly in the mountains. April- May and October- November provides near-perfect weather and are therefore the best months to film.
The official language of Turkey is Turkish, Kurmanji is widely spoken. Arabic and Zazaki are lesser- used languages of the country.
The lira (TL) is the official currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus. One lira is divided into one hundred kuruş
Safety & Travel
Despite most visits to Turkey being trouble-free, there are some cautionary travel advice related to terrorism, it is advised not to travel within 10km of Syria and the city of Diyarbakir.
TAX INCENTIVES & CREDITS
A new cash rebate of up to 30%, launched just before Covid-19 struck. Filmmakers shooting in Turkey can claim VAT on the money they spend on items and services for the shoot. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is considering offering up to a 25% tax rebate to filmmakers on the expenditure they make to encourage more film shoots in the country.
WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM EQUIPMENT CLEARNCE , FILM PERMIT ,VISAS AND WORK PERMITS
General film permits
Permits are required for filming in Turkey, accessed via the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, this process takes approx.. 2 weeks. Depending on the city of filming, the general filming permit is only the first layer of permits required. Companies or individuals visiting Turkey for filming a feature/short film, commercial, documentary, TV Show, music or corporate video and online content need to apply for a general filming permit in Turkey.
First thing to do before applying for a general filming permit is to get in touch with a local fixer or production company to assist and accompany you. Turkish Cinema Department states that “it is obligatory to have at least one host who is a citizen of the Turkish Republic” to apply for filming permission.
The local fixer deals with the authorities on your behalf, provides production services such as researching, scouting and securing locations, sourcing local-crew, cast, equipment, transportation or accommodation.
Once you have your local fixer partner, start collecting the necessary documents for the application.
The main documents you need for your application are:
– Passport copies: Copy of passports for each crew member traveling to Turkey.
– Synopsis: A single page document clearly stating the content of your project, available both in English and Turkish.
– Film script: Required if you are shooting a feature/short film or scripted TV series.
– Equipment list: If you are bringing your equipment into Turkey, you will need to provide a kit-list.
– Documents of your local production partner / fixer / service provider: These documents must include job status certificate and Turkish ID copy of your local producer.
Film equipment clearance into the country
Any professional filming equipment that you are bringing into Turkey should be declared at the Turkish customs office of your arrival and departure airports. Turkey is a member of ATA Carnet system, a document that allows you to temporarily bring filming equipment into the country, tax and duty free.
Accreditation for international film crew
If you are a foreign journalist visiting Turkey for news coverage, you should apply for a temporary press accreditation
If you are visiting Turkey for photography productions, the permits will be obtained directly through “Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism” offices.
Visas & Work Permits
Permissions to both visit and film in Turkey is required. You can apply for a visa to visit Turkey from the Turkish Consulate General.
Once your project receives a general film permit, the foreign production crew can apply for filming visa through the nearest embassy or consulate of Turkey in their home country.
Filming visa for Turkey is a special class visa application which is only issued through the embassies or consulates of Turkey. This class of visa cannot be issued at the airports or borders of Turkey.
As of October 2022, the documents necessary to apply film visa are:
– Copy of general filming permit
– Original passport of the crew member(s)
– Passport sized photo
– Visa application form
– Bank receipt of visa application fee’s (the payment methods may change depending on the country of application)
The required documents to apply for a filming visa may change depending on the applicants country, so we advise you to call the nearest Turkish embassy before your visa application.
Cost & Financing
A main advantage of filming in Turkey is the price. The country provides a cheaper location in comparison to remote or metropolitan destinations. Talent and equipment are cheap to hire, and the logistics of film creation are also not too expensive. The exchange rate offers excellent value for worldwide currencies, offering fantastic value.
WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM CREWS, EQUIPMENT AND TALENT
Turkey is a cheap place to shoot with competitive prices for equipment rental and crew, offering a favourable exchange rate. If producers are bringing in equipment, it is best to do so with an ATA Carnet. It is worth noting that most of the rental houses are based in Istanbul, if the crew is hiring locally.
Equipment is of the desired standard, there are many companies renting lights, cameras and film set equipment.
Talent is cheap to hire, there are many active actors in Turkey, many of which are incredibly talented.