Turkish creative director Berfin Haymes, who lives in the US and works on Hollywood productions, is known for his music video work with renowned artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross and Amy Winehouse.
Fith 25 years of working in the heart of the U.S. film industry under his belt, Turkish director Berfin Haymes is now considering using his talents to help aspiring filmmakers in his homeland.
“There are many drawing cards in Turkey for film and advertisement productions. Istanbul has great creative energy and there are many stories to tell there. Hollywood was my university, this is why I want to share my knowledge with people working in this field in Turkey,” he told Anatolia news agency.
Haymes, 53, has produced music videos for Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck and has also edited commercials for brands such as the leading U.S. toy company Mattel, Mercedes-Benz and Taco Bell. He has also worked on commercial campaigns for films including “Steal Big, Steal Little,” “Toy Story,” “Godzilla,” and “James Bond.”
Haymes said he mostly preferred to direct commercial films. Comparing his business to painting, Haymes said: “I enjoy creating pieces using images and sounds, much like making a painting 100 years ago. When you organize your visuals, you can create images like the painter Monet did.”
Haymes first became involved in film when his mother gave him an 88-millimeter camera when he was 12.
“Although they bought me a camera, my family did not want me to study cinema, and wanted me to become an engineer. I joined the U.S. army for two years in the early 1980s, and when I returned, I studied cinema at Steven Spielberg’s alma mater, the University of California at Long Beach. In one of my classes, students were working using the same visuals, and I made a short comic film. My teacher told me that I was very good, and then it became my career,” the director said.
“I have learned my business by working hard, and Hollywood was my university in this sense. Therefore I want to share my experiences with Turks, because they may not go to Hollywood, but I can give them inspiration,” Haymes said.
Having also worked as a producer and creative director on the opening of MTV Turkey, Haymes said he would like to work on more projects in Turkey. “I see Istanbul as a great place to produce films, and I am interested in discovering the history of my family there. It is one of the oldest cities and crossroads in the world. There are many stories to tell in this city,” he said, adding that he and his wife, Elif Cerçel, plan to make a historical documentary in Turkey.
Working on Winehouse video
Haymes worked on studio visuals for “Body and Soul,” one of the last videos of late British singer Amy Winehouse; the video is also included on Tony Bennett’s album “Duet 2.”
Haymes became involved with the project after receiving a proposal from the director Unjoo Moon, who was working on a documentary titled “The Zen of Bennett,” about Bennett’s life, but he had to abandon the project because the work was continuing in New York and he was living in Los Angeles with his family.
After Winehouse’s death last year, Haymes made a music video for Sony showing the singer in the studio.
“I remounted this music video. My goal was to capture the magic of her last studio recording. This is why I focused on Winehouse’s vocals and the interaction between her and Bennett. Her body does not exist anymore, but her soul is still alive,” he said. (WASHINGTON – Anatolia News Agency)