Turkey Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews
Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Turkey? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Turkey
For an introduction to shooting in Turkey see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Turkey Film Locations
Turkey has a rich architectural heritage dating back thousands of years ranging from contemporary modern through to ancient ruins. As well as a wealth of unique looks, Turkey also offers visiting productions many locations that double well for other countries.
Turkey has hosted feature films including Argo, Skyfall, Not Without My Daughter (1991), and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
The film locations of Turkey can be divided into the following regions:
Istanbul is the main film production centre in Turkey. It is a city where old and new, Middle Eastern and European coexist and blend together. Locations of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Bosphorus, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Camlica Mosque. Istanbul also has a colourful side.
Çanakkale is the gateway city to the ruins of ancient Troy and Assos, as well as the Galipoli Peninsula.
The Marmara region is home to many of Turkey’s olive groves and vineyards which can easily double for Greece or Italy.
The Turkish Riviera is known for its beautiful beaches, turquoise water, and mountainous backdrops. Ancient Greek ruins of note include Pergamon, Ephesus, and Didyma. Pamukkale is known for its otherworldly terraced pools. Bodrum Castle was built by the Crusaders. Izmir is the region’s capital. Aliaga has a ship breaking yard.
The Turkish Black Sea coast is known for its mountainous natural beauty. Its verdant, forested landscape has been used to double Britain. The spectacular Çoruh River empties into the Black Sea. Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery situated on the side of a cliff. Amasya is known for its Ottoman-period Yalıboyu houses. Amasra is a beautiful seaside resort. Rize is the heart of Turkey’s tea growing region. Burj Al Babas is an abandoned housing development of hundreds of identical castle-style buildings.
Ankara is Turkey’s capital. Locations of note include Anıtkabir (tomb of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and Kocatepe Mosque. Not Without My Daughter (1991) filmed Ankara for Iran.
Central Anatolia is also home to natural wonders such as Cappadocia, and Lake Tuz. Egirdir is a beautiful town in Turkey’s lake district. Manazan is a village carved into a rock face.
Turkey is known for its beautiful beaches and mountainous terrain. The Taurus mountains have doubled for the Alps. Beach areas of note include Ölüdeniz, Patara, and Antalya. Lycian Rock Tombs are carved into the side of a cliff. Mamure Castle is an impressive film location in this region. The Fortress of Kızkalesi sits on a rocky island close to shore. Aspendos Greco-Roman ruins are also located in Mediterranean Turkey.
Mount Ararat is Turkey’s highest peak. Lake Van is Turkey’s largest lake. The city of Van is famous for its breakfasts. Turkey has several ski resorts available for filming including Mt Palandöken and Sarıkamış. Ani is known for its medieval Armenian church ruins. Ishak Pasha Palace is an abandoned Ottoman palace. Eastern Anatolia is also home to a large Kurdish population.
This part of Turkey is the most Middle Eastern in terms of landscapes and people. Southeastern Anatolia therefore offers visiting productions a safer alternative to filming in places like Syria or Iraq. Nemrut Dagi (Mt. Nimrod) is a UNESCO World Heritage site with head statues on its summit. Diyarbakir Prison is known to be one of the world’s worst prisons. The eastern part of the region has a large Kurdish community.
Turkey also offers a great variety of agricultural looks including wheat, cotton and barley fields, olive and apple groves, and cherry farms, to name a few.
Turkey Film Location Permits
Visiting productions are required to have a Film Permit from the Directorate General of Cinema. The application must include a project synopsis, crew and equipment information, passport copies, and the name of the Turkish fixer / service company you will be working with. Allow at least 1 week for processing. Once you have the film permit, your fixer / service producer can go ahead and apply for permission to film at specific locations. Depending on the location, several levels of permitting may be required from the relevant municipalities and government departments. Small handheld, b-roll shoots might be able to get away with filming without permits, although for a smooth shoot, we highly recommend securing all required permits.
Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Turkey is a large country with wide climate variation. The hot, dry summers run from June to September. The mild, rainy winters run from December to March. Winter conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior with snow in the mountain region common. Spring (April to May) and fall (October to November) are generally the best months to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Turkey is home to a variety of modern and cultural events. Of interest to filmmakers and photographers are the:
• Camel Wrestling Festival in Selcuk in January.
• International Music Festival in Ankara in April.
• Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournaments in June.
• Kadirga Festival in July.
• Ramadan is observed although unlike much of the Middle East during this time, Turkey remains open for business.
• Mevlana Festival in December.
• Whirling dervishes perform at the Rumi Festival in Konya in December.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Turkey.
Unique Local Stories
Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.
If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.
If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Turkey is one of the least expensive of the European Mediterranean countries. Istanbul’s depth of European and Middle Eastern looks allows those looks without the additional travel costs. The Turkish Lira remains relatively weak against most major currencies helping make Turkey a cost efficient place to shoot for many projects. On the whole Turkey offers a fairly high production value. Our Turkish fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. Turkey offers a rebate of up to 30% based on local spend for feature films, documentaries and TV series.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Turkey has a good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Turkey has a camera union but as it is not strong, rates are negotiable. Turkish crews are skilled and hardworking. For western producers the process may appear to be somewhat chaotic but as many repeat visitors will tell you, Turkey can be trusted to deliver the final product. Turkey’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those technical and creative crews should you ever need to look further.
Contact us if you are looking for an Istanbul or Ankara based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Turkey.
Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable.
Turkey has a variety of Mediterranean talent looks available of both Middle Eastern and European appearance. The Kurdish people are Turkey’s largest minority. All other talent is best brought in from abroad. Turkey’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further. Contact us for recommended casting directors and talent agencies in Istanbul.
Turkey Film Equipment
Equipment. Turkey has all the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally including specialised gear such as underwater housing, car and heli mounts. Some equipment such as the Technocrane needs to be brought in but given Turkey’s close proximity to major European production centres, importing is easy. For productions looking to bring in their own film equipment Turkey is an ATA carnet country. Contact us for special rates on film equipment rental.
Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.
Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.
For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction. The best art directors in Turkey are of an international standard but they are also expensive. On the whole, art department in Turkey is good, of course depending on what your project requires.
Studios. Turkey has a range of dedicated film studio facilities including sound studios. Contact us for recommendations based on the specific needs of your shoot.
Post Production. Turkey has some good facilities. Contact us for recommendations based on the specific needs of your shoot.
Visas & Work Permits
Technically speaking, film crews entering Turkey must first have their film permit, which they would then take to their local Turkish consulate to have their passports stamped so they can enter as film crew. Given that this process is time consuming, some crews just fly in as tourists. Western passport holders choosing that option can enter Turkey visa-free or with an e-Visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure is all up to known and expected world standards. Road conditions outside of the cities vary and travel by night is not recommended. Turkey is serviced by several international and regional budget airlines.
Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. From the morning call to prayer, through to partying the night away at a rooftop bar, take a few days to explore all that Istanbul has to offer.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Turkey, please see below:
Hire Turkey Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Turkey, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Turkey, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.