WorldScreenings: Kanal D International


Kerim Emrah Turna, executive director at Kanal D International, talks about the new and time-tested titles that comprise the company’s slate.

A remake of the U.S. series House, Hekimoğlu stars Timuçin Esen as acclaimed infectious diseases and nephrology physician Ates Hekimoğlu, who is antisocial, witty, arrogant and undeniably talented. Produced by Karga Seven Pictures, written by Banu Kiremitçi Bozkurt and directed by Hülya Gezer, the Turkish version of the medical drama leads Kanal D International’s vast catalog of drama titles.

Hekimoğlu has dominated the prime time of Tuesday nights as number one in the rankings,” says Turna. And although the coronavirus pandemic forced filming delays, it won’t be long until the cast and crew can pick up where they left off in following the equal parts frustrating and genius doctor. “The production had to stop shooting after the ninth episode of the first season, but starring Timuçin Esen, Okan Yalabık, Ebru Özkan, Kaan Yıldırım, Damla Colbay and Aytaç Şaşmaz, Hekimoğlu is preparing to resume shooting in the middle of July,” reveals Turna.

Turna believes that COVID-19, which has halted productions like that of Hekimoğluthat are restarting amid a new normal, is going to fundamentally change production habits for the foreseeable future. “I believe that in the upcoming period, the new productions will be shifted to the titles where the actors and crews will be able to work in a more controlled environment,” he says. “As a result of this, the subjects will of course be affected.”

“Not only have the production habits changed but the whole way of doing business has changed,” adds Turna. “There will be a domino effect starting from production and ending with linear and nonlinear consumption.”

Hekimoğlu wasn’t the only title on Kanal D International’s slate affected by the global health crisis. New Life (Yeni Hayat), starring Serkan Çayoğlu and Melisa Aslı Pamuk, was set for a March premiere that will be rescheduled. The promising drama opens with Adem, a former member of the Special Forces, getting a business opportunity to protect the young wife of a rich and powerful businessman while ostensibly being able to live a happy life with his wife and daughter—yet it’s not long before the opportunity proves itself to be a nightmare in disguise.

Making its premiere on Kanal D today (July 9) is the romantic comedy Romance Next Door, which carries “the essence of the old Turkish movies,” according to Turna. Produced by Mia Yapım and starring Furkan Andıç, Ezgi Şenler, Yiğit Kirazcı and Nilay Deniz, it’s both a love story and the story of friendship between four young people from different social classes and cultures.

Last year saw the debut of the Avşar Film-produced Ruthless City (Zalim İstanbul), which centers on a woman named Seher whose mother-in-law sells one of her daughters to a wealthy man from her hometown. The series, which has aired two seasons in Turkey, has been distributed across Europe and Asia. Love Trap (Afili Aşk), starring Burcu Özberk and Çağlar Ertuğrul, premiered last June and “turned into a rating-booster romantic comedy and was met with great enthusiasm both on TV screens and social media until the end of its grand finale.”

In addition to the fresh titles hitting the screens and captivating new audiences, Kanal D International boasts a deep bench of dramas that have long been familiar across the globe. “Thanks to our great library, we offer the largest drama catalog from Turkey,” says Turna. “We have many all-time favorite hit dramas like Price of Passion, Forbidden Love, Fatmagul, Wounded Love, For My Son, Waves, Meryem, etc. These dramas continue their journey all around the world with their premieres and reruns. After their debut years ago, today many of the stories are [returning] to the screens with different time slots in most of the countries and having the same impact in terms of ratings with their second runs.”

Wounded Love (Vatanım Sensin), well-received at MIPCOM 2016, continues to broaden its international reach; Price of Passion (Siyah Beyaz Aşk) is on air in Lebanon and will bow soon in Romania. Fatmagul (Fatmagül ’ün Suçu Ne?) has sold into more than 150 countries, and the remake of the title will be produced in Spain by Atresmedia as Alba; and Forbidden Love (Aşk-ı Memnu) was recently re-released on Kanal D to much fanfare.

See Kanal D International’s Summer 2020 Showcase here.