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  • Writer's pictureEcem Lawton

Alem Magazine

Deep Conversation with Ecem Lawton: She is After the Rainbow

We sat down with director Ecem Lawton, who followed her dreams and passions and produced music videos and talked to her about her projects and colorful life.

How did you decide to become a director? Can you talk a little bit about your career as a director?

For as long as I can remember, I've loved entertaining people, creating content, and mocking life because I take it seriously. I can never watch life go by in the backseat because I know I will die one day; I take the strings in my hands, with my own rules, with my truth, despite everything and everyone, I dedicate myself to what I set my mind to, believe and dream about, and I make it happen. I believe there is nothing I can't do if I give it a chance. I have experienced many things in life and equipped myself in most areas. Making films has been a means for me to bring together all the subjects I am good at and love to do, in the most ideal way. If the visuals I create overflow from the screen and touch the hearts and souls of people, inspire and entertain them, I feel like my duty has been fulfilled. I interned as an assistant producer on ABC Network's Emmy-winning cooking show "The Chew," and I fell in love with the beautiful chaos of working on television sets. I spent my summers in Los Angeles, working as a director and editor on short and feature films. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and took part in many Hollywood productions. I attended the Oscars, Golden Globes, Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and Film Independent Spirit Awards representing the films I have worked with, including "Give Me Liberty". I was in the director's chair for the first time after my close friend of four years, Kerimcan, sent me the song "Pesimde". As i added to my music video production experience, I discovered my directing style, and the subliminal similarity of the motifs I placed in the videos surprised me in a good way. Each of my videos starts with mysterious shoes and ends with a surprise ending!

You studied both Film & Media and Psychology at Columbia University by doing a double major. What were the effects of studying psychology on your directing career?

When I was in high school, I discovered my interest in film production and people's inner worlds while shooting and editing videos of my surgeon parents' operation videos to be shown at international conferences. Filming, editing and preparing presentations of my father, a plastic surgeon, on the one hand, and the destruction of cancerous tumors by my general surgeon mother, on the other, showed me very sensitive and magical things about the human mind, body, and psychology. Also, I was deeply impressed by the role that human psychology played in the entertainment industry. As a director, I developed a strong and original perspective on my vision. By getting down to the true essence of an artist, I became a director and producer who could unleash their wildest dreams and greatest potential, giving them all the guidance and tools they needed.

How does a day begin in your life routine? Is there anything you enjoy doing during the day that you consider indispensable?

The biggest reason why I left the 9 to 5 work routine was to be able to predict how my day would go before I started a morning. I thrive in chaos and feel guilty when I sit and rest, "I sleep when I die!" is my motto. My day begins with an endless supply of life energy that has been stored all night. That energy gets me going all day. Thanks to that positivity, my days are productive and fun. I greet the day differently every morning on my Instagram stories. The videos I shoot with funny dances accompanied by loud music help my followers start their day better.

You shot two videos for Zeynep Bastık's first album. How did the project develop?

When I was in New York, Zeynep reached out to me and said that she wanted to bring a director from America and gather a team for her debut album. Since I found Zeynep very talented, I accepted with excitement. I flew to Los Angeles, and I rolled up my sleeves with my partner, Marvin Brown, who choreographed and creative produced "Pesimde" We gathered a great team of LA's best disco dancers, who had just danced in the Super Bowl and worked with names like Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Dua Lipa, and determined the concepts for the clips. After rehearsals were held in Los Angeles, I brought this team to Istanbul with assistant choreographer Alekz Samone. When we came to Istanbul, choreographies were taught to Garaj Dance Center dancers and Zeynep. The colorful disco universe of ZeynoDisco came to life. The two videos are from very different worlds, I'm so excited for you to see the second one!

Is there an end goal you want to reach in your career?

I want to become an "auteur" and have people watching my work easily say, "This was shot by Ecem Lawton." At the same time, I want to break some stereotypes in the entertainment industry and be in front of the camera in the films I shoot, produce and edit! The more I include myself, my originality, my voice and my life story in every project I do, I think it appeals to a wider audience. As a Turkish director, I want to bring the stories, history, original structure and humor of my country to the global. I am trying to prove myself to the universe. I want to be a woman who made history and made the world a better place, and I don't limit myself to anything. I am a rainbow colored dough that is open to kneading!

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