22.03.2018 21:01

Don't be afraid to chase your dreams, says Turkish cameraman

Autor: Alice Šplíchalová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Berk Kusbegi had a dream of becoming a cameraman. He wanted to shoot films in New York and become famous in the area of the film. But how was he supposed to achieve his dreams? Especially when you are from Turkey and your family doesn’t support you?

Berk working on his short film “Rear Seat, NY”.

Berk working on his short film “Rear Seat, NY”. Credit: Berk Kusbegi

We met in a tearoom. Berk came on time as always. He wore a simple clothes of natural tones and typical round glasses. He had a big smile on his face. And thanks to his rounded glasses he looked like a Turkish version of Harry Potter. We ordered tea, settled in the pillows and began an interview.

The beginning was YUMMY

When he was on high school, he decided to join an international project YUMMY – Youngsters Use and Make Movies About Youngsters. He and his six friends travelled in four different countries to meet other students involved in this project. During these visits, Berk learned how to work with a camera, what is the best angle of shooting, when to use detail and when half-detail. “It was really beneficial. I consider it as a start of my dream and my career,” said Berk and he ran fingers through his curly brown hair.

After this experience with the international project, he was sure that he wanted to study film-making. He chose field of Cinema at İstanbul Kültür Üniversitesi. “When I found out that I can study one semester abroad, I knew I wanted to study in the Czech Republic. I’ve been there thanks to the YUMMY and I really liked the mentality of Czech people,” remarked Berk. So, he signed up for the Erasmus project and waited for the result. Unfortunately, he wasn’t accepted. Berk was disappointed. He wanted it so much that he didn’t even think about being rejected. But as he always says – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So he didn’t give up. He waited for the next open round of the Erasmus project and signed up again. And this time, he was chosen. “I was really happy to know that this time I did it. Actually, I wanted to go right away,” smiled Berk and sipped his tea.

The three months in the Czech Republic were the best for him, he really enjoyed it. He worked with the best cameraman he has ever met. “I must say he was tough on me but that's why I have learned so much. He even introduced me to an American film editor. I worked with him on a small project,” he remembered. Berk stayed in touch with the editor even after returning to Turkey. There he finished his studies at Istanbul Cultural University.


He became the object of his work

After that, the American editor invited Berk to come to the USA. “He told me that he had a six months project for me. So, I packed my things, booked the first flight to New York and left Turkey behind,” laughed Berk. He was so excited. In New York he lived with the editor in his apartment. They worked on a short movie called “Rear Seat, NY”. Berk wanted to map people who left Turkey to find better jobs and life in New York. Most of them were taxi drivers. “Making the film took six months. It was the best six months of my life. But after finishing this project, I had to find a new one. But unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything,” he muttered.

So, he started to work as a taxi driver, as the ones he made a movie about. “It was really hard, I was scared. But after a few weeks, I gave a ride to a film producer. We talked about our jobs and he gave me a really good advice. He told me to try a film agency,” said Berk. And thanks to this advice he found a new opportunity. He became a cameraman in his homeland – Turkey.

Now he has tons of projects to work on and he does what he likes. And what is his advice? “Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Travel abroad, talk to people and don’t be scared.” Now Berk lives his American-Turkish dream.

Klíčová slova: American dream, cameraman, film, Erasmus


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