Bringing Hollywood to Turkey from Miami

With an annual turnover of 150 million dollars, in the Turkish film sector there is a fierce competition among the film distributors. Established in 1992 by a young entrepreneur Pamir Demirtas, Pinema is one of the major players in the sector. Distributing about 1000 films until today Pinema also distributed Alexander movie by Oliver Stone.
Having acquired a place by channeling his network in USA, Demirtas was featured in front-pages for bringing Oliver Stone to Turkey, which met harsh reactions form Turks for his film Midnight Express. During his visit, the director of Alexander expressed his sorrow and regret for breaking the hearts of Turkish audience.
Pamir Demirtas has distributed many box office successes movies in Turkey.

A close friend of Stone, Demirtas markets from his company in Miami Hollywood movies in Turkey. In his own words, sometimes he reads the script of the movie and purchases its screening rights, a gambling in a way. We interviewed Pamir Demirtas, who distributed many box office successes movies in Turkey, about his 20 year cinema experience.

How did you come to USA for the first time?
I came to America as a tourist first. I entered the film business in 1986. Then I became the purchase supervisor of a company purchasing films from abroad. With time, when I developed myself in the business, I started to think if I was able to do it by myself, and established by company PINEMA in 1992.
Of course, before venturing into such an enterprise, I thought that I had established good relations in America, and started to think about moving to US to further develop these relations, and moved to Miami. I established a business here. I obtained all necessary licenses and started to work.

What were the most influential advantages in your success?
You have to have a strong social life in the business world. Because I had big advantages in this respect, I could combine my business with my connections. This is very important in US. If you want to do something in the world of American business, foremost, you have to be honest. This brings you somewhere in America. The people that you are working with will see this. You have to stand behind your word. If you act in this manner, you definitely reach some place, and improve in your business. I attached much importance to this in my business. I purchased films to distribute without putting money down. Because the people, and the institutions you are working with do trust you. You become creditworthy, they become your references.

Why did you choose Miami and not Los Angeles?
Because of the advancement in technology you don’t have to be in Los Angeles, the heart of the film sector. I follow my business from Miami. I love this city, and I established my business here. But I have a liaison office Los Angeles.
Pamir Demirtas with Robert De Niro.

How do you choose the films you distribute? Whit what sort of a team are you working with?

I can say that our business is kind of gambling. Sometimes, you make a lot, other times, you loose. When we purchase a film, it is in the story phase. Sometimes we buy films in their scenario stage. Sometimes even the players are known. We buy films trusting the producer, and the director. Film producers open stands in Los Angeles and market their films to people coming from different places. Before the exhibition we calculate everything, what kind of a film I want, how much money I want to spend.

Dou you have many competitors in Turkey?
There are companies in Turkey who are in this business, but we are an independent distributor. When we purchase a film, we do the distribution ourselves. There is no intermeidiary. In our office in Turkey 6-7 people are working. We sell our films not only to movie theaters but also the TV and the video rights as well.

How many films did you bring to Turkey until now?
Until today, we brought close to thousand films. We brought eight films in 2005 and they were successful in the box office. Because there is pirate distribution in Turkey, we try to start movies the same time with US. We try to block out the pirates.

What are the problems of the movie industry that you observed?
Turkey could not become a movie set. Legislation, unnecessary tax regulations are the biggest obstacles to make this happen. Producers like Turkey, but the taxes and the legislation preventing them to work in Turkey. A movie production is a serious investment. You have to create such a working environment that the producer would come. Otherwise we will continue to deceive ourselves. If some improvements improvements are made, only then will the Turkish market improve. Of course, we want to bring Turkey in a good position in the market.

What would you like to say about the state of Turkish films in the international market?
Turkish films are not successful in the international arena, because you usually cannot grasp universal values in Turkish films. A film should incorporate universal values that the people of every nation could understand. There was a film shot recently, ‘Kurtlar Vadisi Irak’. Movie was only shot to make people of a country happy. I’m not saying it shouldn’t, but it should have its limits.

What is the image of the Turk in the American film industry?
I am in the American entertainment world. Our business was marvelous before, especially during Turgut Ozal. Doing business was easier and our image was good. With the things happened afterwards, it became bad. Time is needed to change the image of the Turk in America.

Can you talk about your new projects?
We are developing three projects with the famous Turkish director Osman Sinav. I brought together Osman Sinav and the American producer Peter Hoffman, founder of Seven Arts Pictures. The scenario has been chosen, they are working on the names. The will be on the screens within a year. We are also looking into improving production.
Demirtas with Oliver Stone in Istanbul.

Alexander, Good Night and Good Luck, The Wicker Man, Basic Instinct 2, The Good Shepherd, Slither, Penelope, Dreamer, Keeping Mum, Children of Men, Oliver Twist

Year           Number of Films
1997         195
1998         180
1999         145
1900         173
2001         155
2002         168
2003         188
2004         205
2005         221

Resource: Consolidated data of Fida Film WB, UIP, Ozen and other film companies (including independent films)

* Box office receipts of movie theaters in US were 8.99 billion dollars in 2005. Total proceedings of movie theaters worldwide reached 23.2 billion dollars.
* The average cost of the biggest seven production companies that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) 96.2 million dollars.
* Average movie ticket costs 6.41 dollars in US.
* In 2005, 549 new movies were screened in USA. This figure was 520 in 2004.
Resource: Theatrical Market Statistics Report

Buena Vista (Walt Disney Company)
Sony Pictures
Paramount Pictures (Viacom)
20th Century Fox (News Corp.)
Universal Studios (NBC Universal)
Warner Bros. (Time Warner)

Akün Film, Avşar Film, Belge Film, Bir Film, Can Uluslararası, Chantier Films
Erler Film, Feza Film, Filmart, Film Pop, Fono Film, Kara Film, Kılıç Film, Medyavizyon, Özen Film, Pinema Filmcilik , EPS Filmcilik, Sunar Film, UIP Filmcilik,
Umut Sanat, UNP, Warner Bros., Yeni Güven Film, Yeni Tual Film.

(July 2006, 21th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07