ISTANBUL - Veteran actor of Turkish cinema, Türker İnanoğlu, the founder of Erler Film company and known as ’Mr Cinema,’ did not only produce films throughout his career but also brought many artists in Turkish cinema sector
The year was 1950 when a young student of the Fine Arts Academy began walking to his mansion in Istanbul’s Kanlıca at the end of a school day. He didn’t know then that this short trip to home would become a turning point in his life. In the door of the next mansion he met with the famous producer of the time, Necil Ozon, a director of Armenian descent, Nişan Hançer and art director Mr. Zaven. This meeting was the beginning of a career for İnanoğlu, who as "Mr. Cinema," left an indelible mark on the history of Turkish film.
He founded his own film company
After nearly three years of apprenticeship, İnanoğlu founded his own company, Erler ***** in the beginning of 1960s. More than 200 films have entertained Turkish audiences thanks to this company. For the first time in Turkish cinematic history, İnanoğlu expanded his business abroad, worked on common projects with Greece, Italy and Iran.
He did not only produce films but brought many artists to Turkish screens. Most of these artists are the stars of today. Until the beginning of 1980s, when the effects of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup began to be felt and the censorship mechanisms began to threaten the country, İnanoğlu continued to bring together audiences and local productions.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on his long-time cinema journey, İnanoğlu said: "We had to stay for long days for each film that we sent to the censorship mechanism. This mechanism used to react to even the smallest detail and prevented it from being screened. Also, people could not even go out because of the atmosphere of terror and anarchy that pervaded for many years in the country."
Movie theaters were closed down, videos entered homes
The effect of the pressures and censorship was felt until the middle of 1990s. Many movie theaters were closed down in this process and those that wanted to survive began to screen erotic movies. İnanoğlu found a solution to this problem by bringing cinema to the public. He founded Turkey’s first national cinema company.
"The effects of censorship continued for very long years. This is why there appeared productions mostly aiming to amuse people. This process still continues," İnanoğlu said.
Despite all this, Turkish cinema began to make its name heard all around the world in recent years. "This is very pleasing," İnanoğlu said, adding: "There are still films aiming to entertain people and to gain box-office success but there are also productions with very important plots. Most of these productions compete on the world stage at international festivals. Box-office films will pave the way for high-quality ones."
İnanoğlu said the films produced in his period were mainly reflections of Turkish people’s daily life, and explained the reason why those films still interest people 30 years on. "I think the reason for this interest is caused by the sincerity of the work. The themes of these films were innocence, love, friendship, solidarity and honesty. I think people are still longing for this lifestyle."
İnaoğlu said friendship had an importance not only in films’ themes but also in the production process. "During my career I have worked with many artists from Armenians to Greeks. Not our identity but our friendship was important. We, with Hançer and director of photography Kriton İlyadis, passed on our experiences to this industry. Turkish cinema has become richer thanks to it."
A memoir about Hulusi Kentmen
İnanoğlu told of one of his more memorable experiences: one of the masters of Turkish cinema, actor Hulusi Kentmen was a sergeant in the navy and the director of Kasımpaşa Maritime Prison at that time. Taking casual leave, he used to go on set to shoot films. One day, one of the commanders saw him on a film set by chance. Worrying about the situation, Kentmen went to his unit before the commander. Sometime later the commander came next to Kentmen and asked, "A few minutes ago, I saw a person resembling you on a film set. Might he be your brother or something?"