Why does Turkish Yeşilçam look like Hollywood?



The Turkish Tinsel Town, better known as Yesilçam, is getting a second life with the release of Blu TV’s most ambitious series, dedicated to the life of one of the biggest film producers of the 60s of the last century. But why, instead of Kadir İnanır,  do audiences see the local Marlon Brando counterpart? No, it’s not a mistake or an accident.

Turkish digital platform Blu TV, which is teaming up with US streaming service Discovery + this month, has launched massive commercials for its first historical series, Yeşilçam, starring Çağatay Ulusoy, Afra Saraçoğlu and Selin Şekerci. Moreover, advertising is being conducted not only in Turkey, where giant banners of the new project appeared in all major cities, but also in the Middle East. As it became known, the show will have subtitles in English, Spanish and Arabic.

The platform management has very ambitious plans. Having united with the Americans, they plan to go beyond Turkey, counting primarily on the Middle East and Latin American markets.  At the same time, the platform’s development strategy involves close collaboration with other digital platforms. In particular, HBO and Netflix.

According to Blu TV CEO Doğan Yalçındağ the Yeşilçam series is being prepared not only for the release on Blu TV, but also for active sales on other digital platforms and TV channels. Moreover, the project has very high chances of sales abroad, as there are already preliminary agreements. It is no coincidence that Turkish viewers have already noticed that instead of their favorite stars of the Yeşilçam era, Kadir İnanır and Türkan Şoray, they see Marlon Brando and Grace Kelly in promos of the show. The project is being prepared for export and references to old Hollywood are quite conscious.

Blu TV General Sales Manager Deniz Şaşmaz Oflaz also confirmed that filming of the second season of the project will begin soon. Moreover, this is the first series of the platform, which received approval for the second season even when the first one was not filmed. The script for the first season was ready back in April last year, and as soon as the platform’s management managed to agree with Çağatay Ulusoy, who is one of the biggest stars in Turkey, work began on the script for the second season. It was completed last fall.

The series follows an ambitious Yeşilçam-era producer, Semih Ateş, who will lose everything, but will not give up. He will rise from the ashes with a new production company he founded after a terrible setback. The series will show us not only the magical atmosphere of the old Turkish cinema, but also the social and cultural processes in Turkey in the 60s of the last century. According to Çağatay Ulusoy, he was very pleased to work with the director Çağan Irmak, who loves his work and feels that time. He reads between the lines, observes life in all its aspects, and lives the emotions of that period on the set. Behind the camera and in front of it, the team works as one, they exist in that time.

As Çağatay admits, Semih Ateş is his favorite character, whom he played in his entire career. For the career of Afra Saraçoğlu, this role can become fateful. Hearing about the girl’s work in such an ambitious project, advertisers literally attacked the young star. As it became known, she has already signed three large advertising contracts, worth 3 million Turkish lira. It seems that the Turkish business wants to reserve an actress, whose popularity in case of success of the project may go far beyond Turkey.

The first season of Yeşilçam will premiere on Blu TV’s digital platform on April 22nd. Whether it will be successful we will find out in the very near future.

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