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During the 1960s, Turkey became the fifth biggest film producer worldwide as annual film production reached the 300 film benchmark just at the beginning of the 1970s.
Compared to other national cinemas, the achievements of the Turkish film industry after 1950 are still remarkable.
From 1923 to 1939, Muhsin Ertugrul was the only active film director in the country.
He directed 29 films during this period, generally incorporating adaptions of plays, operettas, fiction and foreign films.
Some sources suggest he was also a photographer, again as a result of being one of the representatives of foreign companies such as Kodak.
The first Turkish movie, Ayastefanos′taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı, a documentary produced by Fuat Uzkınay in 1914, depicted the destruction of a Russian monument erected at the end of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War in Yeşilköy (then known as "San Stefano") following Turkey's entry into World War I.
The first movie exhibited in the Ottoman Empire was the Lumiere Brothers' 1895 film, L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat, which was shown in Istanbul in 1896.
Attempts at film production came primarily from multinational studios, which could rely on their comprehensive distribution networks together with their own theatre chains, thus guaranteeing them a return on their investment.Public shows by Sigmund Weinberg in the Beyoğlu and Şehzadebaşı districts followed in 1897.Weinberg was already a prominent figure at that time, especially known as a representative of foreign companies such as Pathé, for whom he sold gramophones before getting into the film business.(It is interesting to note that the founders of Kemal Film bought their first film camera on loan from the Ipek Merchandise).Both companies would be the strongest film distributors until the 1950s and the only companies that were financially sound enough to produce films themselves, with low risks for financial failure as they already were in possession of a distribution system and theatre chains that guaranteed a return on investment.