Calinos Grows Its Business in CEE with Fresh Finished and Format Deals
Asli Serim, Head of International Sales, Calinos Entertainment, tells TVBIZZ Magazine about their recent deals in the CEE region, new additions to the catalog for NATPE Budapest, and the pans for the upcoming 25th anniversary of one of the oldest Turkish distribution companies.
Asli Serim, Head of International Sales, Calinos Entertainment
Asli, Calinos Entertainment is celebrating its 25th birth- day next year. During that time you have sold more than 112.000 hours of content to more than 105 countries. What have been your latest deals in the CEE region?
Calinos Entertainment’s mission is to spread joy to global audiences, to make them “enjoy the drama” by enhancing the presence of Calinos dramas on all the platforms, in every country, with the newest content. Following this mission Calinos enwidens its catalog with content created by international producers in addition to Turkish dramas.

Recently, we have licensed Farah to Romania, Cherry Season and No:309 as finished content to Czechia, the format of No:309 to Romania and the Polish movie Squarred Love to Hungary. In addition to these, our negotiations continue with several countries in the region for Farah.

Which are your “strongest” markets and are you looking into expanding into new territories?
Calinos’ phenomenon dramas continue to enjoy the audiences in 5 continents and we can say that they are popular than ever. The business with the CEE region has always been good for Turkish drama distribution and it continues the same way, at the moment. In the CEE region we are working with every country. Romania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia are the countries where the Turkish drama has strong presence in CEE. We are at our best stage in terms of ready-made dramas. In addition to this, we have been working on format sales and evaluating co-production options since the beginning of 2020’s.

In formats and co-productions, Calinos has doubled its catalog in two years. We will be reaching 45 scripts out of the original 25 today. In 2021; Ruxandra Ion and Dream Film Production produced Adela, the Romanian adaptation of That’s My Life/ O Hayat Benim for Antena 1. The remake was a huge success and turned into a phenomenon in the region. This year, they’ve started producing the remake of No:309 as Room 609. Next year, That’s My Life will also get an African remake. Adela, Room 609 and the African remake of That’s My Life will also be distributed by Calinos Entertainment.

Next year, on our 25th anniversary, we are going to co-produce the new version of our first globally sold drama, founding strip, Wild Heart with Sinegraf. Also, we have been working on two formats from Korea, Penthouse and Lies After Lies, to be produced next year, too.

What are the highlights of your NATPE Budapest slate this year?
The Turkish drama star for the Fall/ Winter season is Farah which successfully finalized its 1st season at the end of May in Turkey and the global star is from Canada - Indefensible (Indéfendable), a hit Canadian crime drama. The third drama that will be presented first to global buyers at NATPE Budapest 2023 is EGO, a Pastel Film production, an unconventional drama with a great storyline.

Produced by O3 Medya, Farah is a strong story, supporting woman empowerment. Starring Demet Ozdemir and Engin Akyurek, Farah is the story of an Iranian woman, who had to run away from her country and is struggling to live in Istanbul, working as a cleaning lady in order to maintain the treatment of her son, but finds herself in the middle of the mafia-police war. Farah will continue to meet with its audience on FOX in Turkey with its second season in September. The global star of Calinos Entertainment’s international catalog is from Canada. Indefensible is a hit Canadian crime drama which stands out with its unique approach and has 2 successful seasons on Canada’s TVA. Produced by Pixcom in collaboration with Quebecor Content, Indefensible is plunging the audience into the world of Cabinet Lapointe-Macdonald and its criminal defense team. A realistic universe built of human dramas, from the smallest to the largest, all imbued with the same emotion: the fear of being condemned. The second season of the crime hit is in production and the channel has already approved the third season. EGO is a chain of dramas starting with an “indecent proposal” done by a beautiful, rich, young but an unfortunate woman. Produced by Pastel Film, starring Melisa Asli Pamuk and Alperen Durmaz, the drama is the adaptation of the Korean drama Temptation.


What have been the biggest challenges for the Turkish TV industry in recent years?
COVID and the earthquake were the toughest challenges. The production industry in Turkey has survived the first one smoothly. As you can remember, two years ago, all the productions stopped for months because of COVID but Turkish productions have never totally stopped. After a brief pause of about two weeks, the sets started shooting. But the earthquake has hit the whole country very hard. This terrible catastrophe deeply affected the productions, as it has affected all other industries. The country was in national mourning for a week and the channels didn’t broadcast anything but news from the region for weeks. Shooting was paused for more than two weeks and the talents got together to make donation campaigns even physically attend the rescue missions in the areas affected by the earthquake. The “winter” part of the Fall/ Winter 2023 season was a little bit delayed but not lost.

Tell us about the latest trends on the Turkish TV market and especially in drama production - what are the most popular themes explored in them?
At the moment there are two types of shooting technics or habits in Turkey: “Telenovela” style and “European Style”. Until the streaming platforms the global buyers and audiences met with “Telenovela Style Turkish Content”. But with the development of streaming platforms, the global audience got to know the “European Style Turkish Productions”. In total, all of these series reflect the power and potential of our production industry.

Turkish dramas continue to be very popular around the world. To what do you attribute their longevity in terms of international demand?
The classical Turkish drama works as good as it works anywhere around the world because it is based on “LOVE”. Love between men and women, love of a mother, love of a father, inaccessible love, forbidden love, broken love... Love, tears, betrayal, family ties, powerful families... This is a long-lasting list; why does it work? The answer is simple: because “Turkish drama” is the life itself.
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