Beta Film, the European production and sales outfit that counts series such as Babylon Berlin and Grand Hotel in its lineup, is expanding its operations in Turkey, one of the fastest-growing regions for television production worldwide.
Beta on Wednesday named Sarp Kalfaoglu its new representative for the region. The former head of drama at BluTV, the streaming platform owned by the Turkish network Kanal D that specializes in Turkish TV series for the international market, Kalfaoglu will be based in Istanbul and work to build up Beta’s production and distribution activities in Southeast Europe.
“We have been following the Turkish market for quite some time and are impressed by its vividness and creativity,” said Veronika Kovacova, Beta Film vp international sales and acquisitions for Eastern Europe and Turkey. “Hiring Sarp Kalfaoglu, an expert of the Turkish industry, reflects our commitment to plow even more into the market in Southeast Europe, its premium productions and developments.”
Beta has seen success with its Turkish series Persona, a mystery thriller featuring Turkish star Haluk Bilginer (Halloween, Winter Sleep) as a man who spent his career working as a court officer in a small town and who is troubled by an unspeakable crime committed against a little girl, which was covered up by corrupt officials. When he is given a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s, he decides to spend his final days of clarity hunting down and killing everyone involved in the cover-up. The performance won Bilginer an International Emmy in 2019. Deutsche Telekom picked Persona as the first-ever Turkish series to stream on its Magenta TV platform in Germany. A deal with a U.S. streamer is in the works.
Turkey has been a power on the international television scene for several years now, and the local industry’s shift from telenovela-style soaps to high-end, streamer-friendly dramas — Inter Medya’s The Ambassador’s Daughter sold to Spanish-language media giant Univision; Netflix has commissioned Turkish-language originals including fantasy drama Atiye, the Gift and sci-fi drama The Protector — suggests there is still plenty of room left to grow.