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Antalya’s Eurasia Film Market gets thumbs up

The first film market ever held in Turkey ended yesterday in Antalya and was hailed as a success both by buyers and sellers, several of whom were clearly taken aback by the sheer professionalism of the organisers.
A combined total of some 200 buyers and sellers from approximately 30 countries attended the inaugural Eurasia Film Festival which took place over four days during the week-long 43rd Golden Orange Eurasia Film Festival.
The launch of the film market is a bold bid by the Turks to position Antalya as the key business event of the year for the exchange of feature films and TV programmes between Asian, American and European dealers.
Industry veteran and former Universal Studios executive, Mr Tony Watts, told filmfestivals.com that the initiative by the Turks could well pay off, despite fierce competition from other festivals not only in the region but elsewhere in the world.
“Turkey has a good tradition, a good background in film-making, and the way they’ve organised this film market shows they have the necessary expertise,” said Mr Watts. But he cautioned that competition will come from new quarters such as South America, particularly from Argentina, as well as from the established players. “Europe cannot rest on its laurels,” he warned.
Exhibitors at the film market agreed that the market place is becoming crowded, but seemed to feel that there is a need for major film market to bridge East and West, and that Turkey is the right place for it.
Hollywood Classics managing director, Mr David Llewellyn-Jones, whose firm represents major US studios and also has a portfolio of about 500 British films, said on day two of the market that it had already proved worthwhile for him.
“For a medium sized firm such as ours it is much easier for us to get access to the big buyers at a medium-size show such as this than at the very big markets. The show is working for us and we would definitely consider coming again,” he said, particularly if the organisers can attract more Turkish TV stations.
“ I would encourage the organisers to get local Turkish broadcasters more involved. Not all of them are here and they need to be if the event is to really take off,” he added.
Sandra Carter Global (SCG) Inc, a production and distribution company that also shows at MIPS, MIPCOM and NATP, echoed the view that the Eurasia Film Market had got off to a very good start but needed more TV buyers.
“Even though this is a film market there is plenty of TV product on show. We have seen Digiturk but we haven’t seen any of the five major terrestrial channels and none of the cable guys,” said director of international sales Ms Monique White.
“But having said that, this market has been exceptionally well organised and their idea to provide a bridge between Europe and Asia is pure genius. They are clearly on the right track,” she added.
Ms White pointed out that major industry players like BAC Films International from France, Hanway Films from the UK, Shochiku of Japan, and MediaTrade of Italy were among the 50 companies that had taken a booth.
“If the organisers could get Miramax, Disney and Universal to take a booth next year, then Antalya would really be in business. You only have to look at Berlin to appreciate that it can happen very quickly once the ball starts rolling,” she added.
Another seller said that they would give the show eight out of ten. “It’s been a very good show, amazing when you think it’s their first time, but I would like to see more buyers from Greece, the Balkans, East Europe and Russia next year.”
London-based High Point Films and Television, marketers of feature films and TV programmes, also appeared to be pleased. Sales executive Ms Tara Gaule said she had made most of her appointments with her preferred buyers before the show.
“And nearly all of them turned up,” she said, adding that she had met with genuine buyers from as far afield as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Turkey and Taiwan. “And the thing I like most here is that you are given time to do business, you don’t have buyers being rushed from one booth to the next all the time. I have made some good new contacts, consolidated existing contacts and I think it’s definitely worth coming back next year,” said Ms Gaule.
Story by JEREMY COLSON / pictures by Eurasia Film Market

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