Entertainment News

Exploring Turkish Drama With MADDNEXT

by mh musings

Brought to us by NATPE Virtual and MADD Entertainment, this is a virtual format that allows MADD, a joint venture between production houses Med Yapim and Ay Yapim for their drama distribution, to showcase some of their currently airing series to international buyers. Med Yapim (founded in 1993) is one of the first investors in the dizi world with classics like Adini Feriha Koydum, Anne, Kadin and more, whereas Ay Yapim (founded in 2005) has climbed the ranks as a premiere production house with series such as Kara Sevda, Ask-i-Memnu, Fatmagul and the list continues.

In this November 3 pre-recorded event moderated by MADD CEO Ates Inci, MADD showcased 4 of their currently running shows, with short interviews with select cast members and crew: The Agency (Menajerimi Ara), Abandoned (Cocukluk), Love is in the Air (Sen Cal Kapimi) and A Woman Scorned (Sadakatsiz). After a short trailer of each show, the team from the show was interviewed on their views on the stories and what they felt were the key success factors for the show.

THE AGENCY (Menajerimi Ara)

Giving insight into behind the scenes of Turkish drama while we witness a nice love story, The Agency is adapted from the famous French show, Call My Agent (Dix Pour Cent). Cast members Baris Falay, Ahsen Eroglu & director Ali Bilgin joined in the discussion. In a show where ratings are increasing (highest in AB after move to Sunday night from Tuesday), questions centered around why this show has such an appeal among the audience.

Baris plays the ‘shark’ in this adaptation of showing the edgy life of the celebrities as they navigate their careers. There is a father-daughter conflict between Baris and Ahsen’s characters (Kirac and Dicle, respectively), and the essence of drama is in conflict across the various relationships as Dicle comes to Istanbul to pursue her dreams. Despite being such a shark, we see the unexpected side of the father daughter relationship and it’s growth in dramatic ways.

Ahsen was asked if there was a lesson in the concept of a small town girl in the big city of sharks, who falls in love with a rising celebrity? Ahsen sees Dicle as a self-confident girl with big dreams and in order to realize her dreams she comes to Istanbul. Even though her father openly rejects her request for a job at the agency, she still gets hired into the agency. Working under the same roof, the father finds an innocence in his daughter that has gone missing from his jaded world, and there are many lessons to be learnt as this dynamic unfolds.

See the trailer here.

ABANDONED (Cocukluk)

Centered around the story of a group of abandoned children who have bonded during their life at an orphanage, under the care of the cantankerous Mahir, there is already great interest in this title from the buyers. The trailer shown was already subbed in Spanish, indicating a strong interest from and focus on the Latin American market.

Produced by Fatih Aksoy, who is the CEO of Medyapim and a well-known thought-leader in the industry, the dialogue about the show explores the early success in international markets. Ozlem Ozsumbul, a distributor and past buyer, says that the prior success of My Little Girl, also starring child star Beren Gokyildiz, creates great interest in this title as well.

Erdal Besikcioglu (playing Mahir) who is a big name in Turkey, performing in many plays and shows, suggests that as a Turkish adaptation, both from mathematical and fictional point of view, this project is unique. To have the opportunity to play with extraordinary little actors who are warm and welcoming makes it fun to be part of this project. He says “If viewers will spend two hours with me, I wanted to be part of a project that will raise awareness on an important issue. Children have been overlooked in many areas and I wanted to bring attention to the fact that so many children get abandoned.”

See the trailer here.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR (Sen Cal Kapimi)

Love is the Air has been the breakout success of the year as a Romantic Comedy, with the lead couple setting social trends as “Best Couple” every week. Producer Asena Bulbuloglu and cast members Kerem Bursin and Hande Ercel share their views on the success of the story, which doesn’t fit squarely into either a traditional drama nor a traditional romantic comedy.

Asena says that the team tried to design something that has a deep storyline and which leveraged the powerful acting from Hande and Kerem to create charming characters that has strong on-screen chemistry between the couple. She would call it a “Romantic Dramedy”, where we cry, laugh and teach. With strong personalities in the characters, the appeal to audiences have been wide, spanning from the youth to a more mature demographic.

Kerem says how several components coming together is key to the success. Script, co-star, producer and all of that blending into the dynamic and synergy that they try to portray in the way they want to has worked well. This requires to have trust in partners, and Kerem and Hande bonded outside of sets so that they could bring that dynamic as actors on the screen. The trust becomes the key factor in being able to portray the chemistry on screen. The producers also had the same vision and if the partners are solid, the story comes together.

Hande was asked more about the superior social media engagement and she expressed her shock at this unexpected response. Social media is expanding everyday and the team receives amazing messages. In turn, the social media engagement motivates the team as well and they feel encouraged. The audience loves the characters, and that’s what leads to the love for the show, making the team very thankful.

See the trailer here.

A WOMAN SCORNED (Sadakatsiz)

This is an adaptation of the famous BBC show Dr. Foster, which has become a conversation starter in Turkish society. This trailer was also dubbed in Spanish, indicating strong interest from Latin American markets.

Producer Fatih Aksoy and actors Caner Cindoruk and Cansu Dere weighed in with their thoughts about this story of a successful doctor whose picture perfect married life gets exposed for its fragility when she discovers her husband’s infidelity over the last two years while everyone around her but her knew the truth. The drama explores her reactions as the truth comes to light.

Fatih, on his third marriage in his personal life, talks about the the fact that it takes a lot to be husband and wife and the show is very well written from that perspective where it is the Turkish version of what it takes to have a marriage. The cast is great and their portrayal leads to many thought provoking discussions. Marriage is a fundamental institution and as such it speaks to many people.

Caner says “It is a hard job to create this character, who is contrary to who I am as a person but when strong characters get created, the story works. As a result of the infidelity, we have a strong woman who emerges, we get questions around how a man can indulge infidelity and I find it interesting to play such a role because now the show presents another agenda.”

Cansu talks about who she interprets the role of Dr. Asya Arslan, whose reaction is contrary to the emotional response we typically see from women on the wrong side of an extra-marital affair. She’s very calculating and able to control her feelings very well. She’s trained to take actions after a diagnosis and she’s going to do many things in a courageous way, where both her and her son’s interests are protected. There are many other facets of her personality yet to be explored.

See the trailer here.

Editor’s Note:

It is interesting to watch the industry respond to the new realities of the pandemic and resorting to such virtual platforms to promote a content marketplace that continues to thrive. Good shows continue to enjoy success, both in ratings and in sales, and the theme of trying to expand the reach of target demographics speaks to the strength of storytelling as a means to promote social dialogue on various topics. We look forward to the next NATPE/ MADD event and learn more about new shows in the pipeline.

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