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"Onar Films" lives again
Topic Started: Jun 30 2015, 03:01 PM (2,686 Views)
jnfernal
Advanced Member
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If you check FB, you'll notice mr. Levent Cakir and Ali Murat Guven and Kunt Tulgar's plans to start a new line of DVD releases starting from next October 2015....they have a huge catalogue of titles meant to be reissued every 2 months in a limited run (500 copies each).

The new company name is Aztek Production. hey gave a list of 15 titles to be released at the moment.

The good think is that Leven Cakir (the main actor of the Zagor turkish films) is really active in this project....after a few years of troubles, he's back in action with full energy and renewed enthusiasm...

I'll be in Istanbul for a couple of months from next October....if you need more information, I will be on the spot overthere soon!

check the link here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1461349037508640/1467854296858114/?notif_t=group_activity
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jnfernal
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well, it was the only label who put out some gems of old turkish cinema on DVD: the turkish Superman, a few Killing movies, the turkish Death Wish, a bunch of thriller and horror....until the sudden death of its founder, Bill Barounis.
More movies were planned but everything was put on hold until now, when the original partners of Bill, Ali Murat Guven and Kunt Tulgar (with the addition of Levent Cakir) decided to start again from where they stopped.

Three years ago I met them and they were really intended to keep on the path but they hadn't enough resources to restore the movies....we were talking but then I kept on travelling so I lost contacts with them. Now it's already 2-3 months that the news is spreaded and through Facebook there are already plans and work in progress

If you like old turkish cinema - wester, superheroes, masked heroes, crime, action, rip-off of famous movies, then you should give a try and discover the craziness of the good ol' turkish cinema

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jnfernal
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they will all include subtitles as well as much material as it could be found: trailer, reproduction of original posters, interviews, backstages, according to what can be found and whose actors/directors are still available for new interviews.

Subtitles will be properly done and also in the air there is a new DVD edition of the 2 Zagor movies with improved subtitles, rmastered negatives and additional bonus material.

The list is still a work in progress: Levent Cakir - who's really active on the "Our Man in Sitanbul" FB page provided a long choice of titles that are already in the hands of Aztek Production (former Onar Films), some already remastered, some already belonging to the back catalogue of Onar (which couldn't be released due to the loss of Bill) and other new founds which need some restoration.

There is already a long list of titles submitted to the fans: those who will get more votes will be released but - as I hope - if the project has success, I don't doubt they will release them all.

There are specific lines: Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, so I guess they will try to fill all these series with many titles.

The FB page is still active since a couple of months and there are news and updated everyday, thanks to the revamped Levent Cakir who's putting an incredible energy in this project

Unfortunately my PC is old and almost dead....scrolling back to the previous news became almost impossible (script errors, slowing downs, continuous blocking when I open FB) so I checked only a few news backwards....I am sure Levent Cakir submitted to the fans other titles to be eventually released.

Among the few titles I checked (actually I am following this page since it's beginning but I never wrote down the full list of titles submitted to the fan's poll), there are:

-Ringo vs la Gestapo
-Karpuzcu (turkish remake of Mr. Majestyk)
-Flying saucers UFO in Istanbul
-The revenge of Turkish Bruce Lee/Ejderin intikami
-Badi
-Turkish Star Trek
-Behcet commando
-Tough guys/4 hergele/4 for all (with Richard Harrison and Gordon Mitchell, co-directed by Giulio Giuseppe Negri, maybe this is a supposed turkish version/edit)
-Yilmayan Seytan/The deathless Devil
-Gizli kuvvet/The hidden force
-Ceko
-Seytan/The turkish exorcist
-Kizilmaske/The Phantom
-Maskeli Ucler/The masked three (with Levent Cakir)
-Dracula in Istanbul
-Bedmen yarasa adam (with Levent Cakir)
-Killing vs Mandrake


Now, as far as I remember, when I met Kunt Tulgar and Ali Murat Guven 3 years ago, they told me that Bill's widow still has a 12-15 copyrights in her hand and all the title announced as "trailer" in the previous Onar DVD releases are still available for an actual DVD edition.
Now, more titles are added to the list and some of them got huge response by the fans on FB...

For sure Killing vs Mandrake and Ringo vs Gestapo are not in pristine condition but others are. In any case - as we can read on FB - they will try to offer each title in the best condition possible and with the most bonus material that could be gathered.

But the best thing is to join the FB page "Our Man in Istanbul" and be active in the discussion...Levent can speak a really good english and he's really active on that page, he already posted a deadline for each release (once every two months but I hope it will be monthly if the project gets success)....and....well, I will be there for the first release, I really want to met the Aztek Productions team and see what's going on :)
Edited by jnfernal, Jul 1 2015, 07:55 PM.
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jnfernal
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the official forum of Aztek Productions is this one here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1461349037508640/?fref=ts


You see in the banner Mr. Ali Murat Guven shooting with a gun :D
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jnfernal
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Let's see. The first batch of DVD should be available on October. There aren't any relevant news on the "Our Man In Istanbul" facebook page, so I guess they're working on the DVD edition at the moment
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jnfernal
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I guess you have to contact the Facebook group as they will be sold mainly through that channel

Otherwise if you wait 3/4 weeks I'll be there in Istanbul and see how to do
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jnfernal
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but those involved in the Aztek Production, Ali Murat Guven and Kunt Tulgar were also in Onar...at least Murat Guven told me he was in charge of restoration of the films for Bill....

I don't say Aztek is the natural reincarnation of Onar but at least 2/3 of the team is the same and they have the same duties they had with Onar (restoration, cleaning, subtitling, finding bonus materials on location). So if it is correct to remember Bill's great job, it must be also noticed the job of the other team fellows too. At least for what was told to me, they hadn't a minimal or marginal part in Onar work at the time.
Let's also not forget that all the money coming from the sales of the last stock of Onar dvds were sent to Bill's widow by his teammates, which means something, imho as I think they didnt make any money on them and - on the contrary - they devolved everything to Bill's widow, which to me has the same moral value as Bill's financial sacrifices to make this dream come true. I don't want to put Bill's work down but at the same time I don't want to say "there was him and him only" behind the project. Even if he hardly mentioned his collaborators in his blog or writings.

I part for nobody and I dont know the story behind Onar. Maybe Ali Murat Guven and Kunt Tulgar are just a bunch of liars and cheaters and they never had any contact with Bill. Or they really teamed up without being credited properly. For what I've been told they had a part in it and it has been not small even if they were hardly mentioned or credited.
I come from a similar situation in China where me and my brother made something like 25 CDs for a chinese label (contacting the bands, getting the masters, restoring, cleaning, making artwork, interviews and more) and the owner got all the glory, fame and credit and we never received a simple thank you or refund from our job, at one point he even denied we worked for him. In any case he never mentioned us to anybody and he never refund the money we sustained for his project. I mean: it's ok to say "this is my project" but some credit to your collaborators should be due. Expecially if you also substain and share costs, on a certain level or another.

I never met Bill but I met Murat Guven and Kunt Tulgar and these people seemed very passionate both in remembering their job with Bill (or "for Bill", if you prefer) and in trying to keep going on from where he left. I don't see them as "newcomers" or some greedy vultures who just want to exploit Onar and Bill's job. Or even "somebody else" popped out from nowhere. They were part of the same team, at the time. And I hope they can go on, because I think some "commercial" title can push the sales a little bit up.
As you can see in other independent label such as Camera Obscura, for example, they are focused on lost gems and hard to find titles, but as people working with it repeated many times, they have to add from time to time some "more commercial" title to keep sales up, otherwise they would fold on too soon. It's a commercial logic - bad or good - that nobody can escape. And I don't think a "Dracula in Istanbul" can be too much "commercial" compared to .... Captain Swing (which had already a DVD release shortly before the Onar or right after, which doesn't make too much difference). Also the few spy movies and even "Cellat" and other titles couldnt be defined as "lost" or "unknown" being already quite well known through Youtube or other channels before their DVD release...I don't see too much difference in rarity between a Cellat or a Drakula Istanbul'da...

Then...as for the 10,000 euros that was what it was asked to me when I showed interest in joining the project 3 years ago when I was in Istanbul....maybe they wanted to make some profit on me (you know, the same story of the foreigner with money....) and it was totally out of balance for me. And I don't know how much does a copyright really cost. I know that the same amount (even a bit more: 12,000 US$) were asked to me for the copyright of the indonesian superheroes Rama, Darna and Gundala...so I guess it's a sort of standard price. I really have no idea.

In any case Aztek is planning to release also all those titles which were bought by Bill at the time and that couldn't be released due to his passing, too. And for what I've been told at the time, the profit will be given to Bill's widow, at least for the copyright costs which are undoubtely due to her and Bill's family. But to me this Aztek is just a natural evolution of Onar, unless we want to deny Bill's teammates job at the time and just see them as "newcomers" or even "exploiters"

Edited by jnfernal, Aug 31 2015, 01:11 AM.
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jnfernal
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yes he made an horrible end if I remember well....his head was smashed by a brick felt from a roof. I can't be 100% sure if it was him or somebody else but Ali Murat Guven told me he was "another victim of Turkish movies curse" and - laughing - he told me he'll be the next one....

anyway....back to the sales of these new titles

I was reading on some italian forums that some italian labels print even 200 copies per some specific title and sales of other titles hardly reach 50-100 (!) copies

Now...as I work in CD production, I saw how smaller and smaller is becoming the "disk" market nowadays. Back in the 90's thousand of copies were considered unsatisfying for a business. Now there are more and more new labels coming out which print 200-500 copies and they hardly sell them all. At least not in a blink of an eye.

Ok, the market is smaller and smaller. But if I print 500 copies and I sell them all, didn't I reach my target?

500 people or 1000 people on a population of over 6 billions on earth doesnt make much difference.

When we work on some very specific products - and turkish cinema undoubtely is, as well as some music generes - we should be aware that our potential customers are a very restricted, limited, small audience.

I don't think Bill's target was to expand the knowledge of turkish cinema to big audience but simply to preserve or dig out from oblivion a wonderful and imaginary cinema for those who could be interested. And considering that most of those releases are now sold out, I think the target was reached. Of course it takes time - 500 copies are few but it's utopistic to sell them in one year...it can take more and usually this kind of products are a sort of "evergreen": I mean, they will always sell in the future, there will always be somebody - not here, not now - who in the future will search for a personal copy of Cellat or Kilink Istanbul'da...if so, if the interest keeps alive, then it's just a matter of time. And time proved that almost all release has centered the target. And you cover the costs and you can go on with a new releases, may it take one month or 6 months or 3 years.

Then, as I told you, I don't think Bill's choice was determined by a strict selection of exclusive and rare-at-any cost titles. That modern horror movie (I forgot the name) can't be considered anti-commercial and elitist, some titles had already a DVD release before (Captain Swing and the announced two Zagors) and others were already spreaded through youtube or other channels. So, I can not understand why a "Cellat" was a specific title and these "Drakula Istanbul'da" or "Turkish Star Trek" not....in both cases tere were (are) people who try to make the best edition possible, with english subtitles and interesting extra materials, excellent artwork and a possible worldwide distribution.
Because even "Drakula Istanbul'da" is very hard to find in Turkey - I tried for months to put my hands on the first DVD release (with no enslish subtitles, no bonus material, no extra at all) and I never came across it...so more than welcome a new DVD release as it is hard to find for any potential international customer. Same for "Turkish Star Trek" and others. But as I've seen from the list posted I can't say these titles submitted are "commercial", compared to the ones printed by Bill. Titles like "Kiling vs Mandrake" or "Ringo vs Gestapo" can't be considered easy to find.
And in any case - whenever there's a youtube version, now we have the chance to get a proper DVD release with subtitles and lots of extra. This is the point.
Otherwise - by paradox - there's no title that can be defined as "rare" and worthy of a DVD edition, because sooner or later they would be available on youtube and who cares of a DVD edition.

I think the team Guven-Tulgar-Cakir made a really interesting selection of rare, not too rare and sought-after titles, following the same guidelines as Bill's: restoration, extra material, proper subtitles.... in this and because of the people involved in it, I can see a follow up to Onar, I think there's nothing bad in it.

Then, if you say they never had part in it, I believe you. But they told me they made the restoration of Onar's titles, so a little part in it they probably would had.

In any case...if they press 500 titles and they slowly sell all of them, I think the target is reached
Edited by jnfernal, Aug 31 2015, 02:32 AM.
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jnfernal
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No, as I told you....I can't remember if it was him or another turkish researcher.
I was told by Murat Given that already 3-4 people involved in researching and preserving old turkish movies died and in not a good way. Bill, Metin Demirhan and a couple more.
Now, I can't remember if it was him who had such a horrible end or another one, I will ask him again when I'll be in Istanbul. Possibly it was another researcher, he made a lot of names and I wasn't too much into these things at the time. I only remember he told me it happened at the base of the uphill to Galata, in the small square between the Galata Bridge and the uphill to the tower, a place that I know quite well and - in fact - since then I was always a bit scared walking there, when I stayed in Istanbul for a couple of months. And Murat told me h was walking just beside this other researcher when he saw his head exploding like Mr Majestyk's cucumbers because of this brick. But honestly I canět remember the name he made, I could be wrong but he was 100% another turkish movie researcher involved in hunting old prints and old materials all over the country, I remember he introduced me other 3-4 people (I have a picture with them all)

but he was talking about a "curse" that was striking those who were trying to rediscover old turkish movies and he said "I'll be the next one"

Edited by jnfernal, Sep 1 2015, 08:10 PM.
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jnfernal
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don't know. Tomorrow I'll arrive in Istanbul and in the following day I'll go to Aztek Productions office, so I'll see how's going
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