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  • Writer's pictureEcem Lawton

Hürriyet Newspaper

'The Chance to Shoot a Music Video for our National Team is a Surreal Feeling'

She shoots colorful music videos for popular names such as Zeynep Bastık, Mustafa Sandal, Çağla and Kerimcan Durmaz. She is very loved on social media. Young director Ecem Lawton, who has been shuttling between the USA and Turkey, will now direct the promotional video of our Turkey National Football Team, which will compete in UEFA EURO 2020.

The first person in her family to choose not to be a doctor... Hürriyet Sunday writer sits down with Ecem, the niece of world-famous Dr. Oz, and a young and successful director. She is frequently mentioned on social media with the videos she shot for the songs of popular names and the videos she shares on her instagram. She is followed by thousands of people for her delicious recipe videos, fun life and endless life energy she showcases between New York, Los Angeles and Istanbul. Now she sits in the director's chair for the video clip she is shooting for the Turkey A-National Football Team, which will compete in UEFA EURO 2020.

How did you meet the camera?

I discovered at a young age how magical the camera and montage can make real life. On weekends, with my cousins ​​and sister, we used to shoot movies where we turned objects into people and stuffed toys into our dogs. When I was in high school, I was very impressed by the relationship between the inner world and the body when I was shooting and editing the surgical videos of my parents.

What education did you receive?

At Columbia University in New York, I did a film-media and psychology double major and got a 'business' certificate on top of that. After working on sets in Los Angeles for a year after graduation, Sotheby's Institute of Art's 'contemporary art' master's program in London was an ideal step for me.

You are Dr. Mehmet Oz's niece. Do you have a goal to be successful and famous like him in the USA?

My uncle has been a great role model for us since childhood, not only with his career, but also with the value he gives to his family, his contribution to humanity and his vision. Since our houses are 20 minutes away from each other, we meet for family dinners. When I first came to the USA at the age of 12, the month I spent with them was a turning point for me. “That's life!” I remember saying. I will never forget that he came home very late, tired and played dodgeball with us children for hours on that visit. Every time I see my uncle, he asks me questions such as "Where do you see yourself in 5 years", and every conversation is full of life lessons, advice and strategy.

How did you come up with the idea of making a music video for Kerimcan Durmaz's song 'Pesimde'? What was the reaction to the video?

This music video was the first project where I sat on the director's chair and also produced and edited. It was a turning point in my life. As soon as I heard the song, a life energy filled me up, I started laughing and dancing. Kerimcan and I are incredibly positive people who always believe in the power of the universe, that a good heart will open doors and that everything will go the way we want if we believe in it. Our partnership turned into a synergy that exploded. The reactions we received were exactly as we expected, it shook up Turkey and reached over 30 million views! Turkish youth, bored and despairing in the pandemic, shot over a million #pesmdechallenge TikTok dance videos- a trend we started in Turkey.

Recently, we saw your signature in Zeynep Bastik's music videos...

I met Zeynep through Instagram. She reached out to me once the production of her first album 'ZeynoDisco' was completed. She asked me to direct the videos for two songs. We came to Istanbul with four suitcases of costumes, four dancers and assistant choreographer Alekz Samone. We shot both clips in one week.


I came to Turkey to direct the campaign video of our Turkish National Football Team, which will compete in UEFA EURO 2020. I am very excited and proud to visualize the song "Our Children" (Bizim Cocuklar) written by Mustafa Sandal and to represent my country in the best way in the world! In a few days, three commercials I shot with Mustafa Sandal are also being published.

I shot promotional music videos for Columbia University's sports teams for four years. I had dozens of athletes do synchronized dances and sing songs. The chance to shoot a video for our national team after years is a very surreal feeling. At the moment, I am currently in Antalya where our national team is practicing, and will be shooting them soon. Stay on the lookout!

At the end of the summer, I will be directing the HBO documentary called 'Dream' about trans women living in New York.


Your Instagram account is very colorful and popular. What should be considered in order to shoot a good Reels or TikTok video?

Music, good editing and original content! I love lip-syncing to songs on my reels. That's why timing is very important, starting and ending the shot at the right timing with the music. Because I love to cook and was trying crazy new recipes during the first months of the pandemic, I shot a 50-episode Instagram live cooking show. At that time, TikTok videos were debuting, so I made the flower bread that I prepared in 1.5 hours by belly-dancing in a 15-second TikTok. It went viral. I think the magic of Reels and TikTok is to shoot candid content without seeking perfection.

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