The Magic of Istanbul: Funding Proposal

The Magic of Istanbul – Book and Film Series Project – Funding Proposal

I had originally solicited funding for this project using the Kickstarter crowd funding service.  Asking for direct funding instead allows me to post the final product online and work with a smaller budget as I can eliminate the Kickstarter and backer-incentive costs.

Merhaba.  My name is Jared Bendis, I am an artist, an educator, a photography, and filmmaker from Cleveland, Ohio. For the past 10+ years I have undertaken expeditions around the word to immerse myself in other cultures and their history and to bring back experiences, stories, photographs and films. I have a passion for castles and culture and have photographed over 400 architectural, archaeological and cultural sites (mostly castles) in 14 countries around the world.

I have spent the past 2 summers in Gönen, Turkey documenting traces of antiquity as well as rural life in the mountains of Anatolia for the Isparta Archaeological Survey.  While in Turkey I have also spent time in Istanbul and, like those who visited before me, I have fallen in love with the city, the country, and the culture.

My project is a film series (with book) entitled: The Magic of Istanbul.  Shot in high definition over two weeks in the summer of 2012, the film will be part photo essay, travelogue, history, and cultural expose – intended to entice the viewer to learn more about Istanbul and to visit for themselves, edutainment at its best. The destinations have been selected from previous trips based on their geographical, historical, and cultural significance with the goal of giving the viewer the widest possible vision of Istanbul.

The final series will be distributed as episodes for free online via YouTube and DailyMotion. A feature length Blu-ray & DVD version and also an accompanying book of photography will be produced via on-demand publication services.  I am also investigating short run production/printing.

The expedition is scheduled for July 2012. The two-man production team includes myself and a professional writer who will also serve as a second cameraman. The proposed budget includes only the hard costs of production and I will not be taking any salary for the project.  Most of the money will be spent in Turkey to cover the costs of the expedition. Post production is expected to run through the late Spring of 2013.

Proposed Total Budget: $15,000
Writer/Cameraman – $1,000
Production Hardware – $3,000
Post Production Expenses – $1,500
Travel Expenses – $9,500
Includes: Air, Baggage Fees, Hotel, Admissions, Food, Taxis

As a filmmaker my goal is to place the viewer in a position where they can see themselves standing right next to me – demonstrating that the world is theirs to experience and explore.  For example, back in 2003 armed with a very inexpensive SD camcorder, no lights, no mics, and no crew I traveled to Ireland for 12 days where I visited 93 castles.  Episodes from this trip are available online.  This guerrilla approach to film making (though today with better equipment and much more experience) is one that connects well with audiences and one which I plan to continue for this project.

Projects like this are a labor of love and the return on the investment is the cultural dissemination, education, and joy it brings to others. While this is not a money making enterprise what I can offer a backer/sponsor is: credit in the film, the book, and the website and I can also make myself available for a presentation or personal screening of the final product.

Thank you for your kind consideration. If you have any questions or are interested in funding this project (in full or part) please feel free to email me: at or call me at 216-288-6349.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in funding this project – please direct them to this page.

Istanbul Destination List
This list is the ‘ideal’ list as with any production there can be issues of access and weather and we also remain open to surprise additions. It is a whirlwind tour of Istanbul!

  • The Hippodrome
    • Serpentine Column
    • Egyptian Obelisk
    • The German Fountain
    • Constantine Obelisk
  • The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art
  • The Blue Mosque
  • The Arasta Bazaar
  • The Great Palace Mosaic Museum
  • The Basilica Cistern
  • The Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Hagia Irene
  • The Istanbul Museum of Archeology
  • The Column of Constantine
  • The Grand Bazaar
  • Sahaflar Carsisi / The Book Bazaar
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Taksim Square
  • Istiklal Caddesi
  • Galata Tower
  • Galata Bridge
  • Sirkeci Station
  • Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir
  • Koska
  • The Spice Bazaar / The Egyptian Bazaar
  • The New Mosque
  • Chora Church
  • The Theodosian Walls
  • The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus
  • Bucoleon Palace
  • The Valens Aqueduct
  • Sehzade Camii – The Prince’s Mosque
  • Beylerbeyi Palace
  • Yedikule Fortress
  • Istanbul Cevahir
  • A Bosphorus Cruise
  • Anadolu Kavagi
  • Yoros Kalesi
  • Rumeli Hisari
  • A Cappadocia Day Trip
  • Other Things To Experience:
    • Food
    • Music
    • Dancing
    • Shopping
    • Carpet Shopping
    • A Hamam