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Exclusive Interview with Celebrity Photographer Olsi Beçi

His professional accolades include “Artist of the Year” by NY Elite Magazine, “Best Cinematographer” by VIP Magazine, “Excellence in Film” by Ecovolis, Award for Arts Achievement by NATO, “Excellence in Albanian Cinema and Television” by Albanian Excellence, recognition for excellence and contribution in his field by Google Start UP Grind Tirana, and the “Outstanding Artistic Achievement and Excellence in Arts” by the honorable Congressman Elliot L. Engel.

Olsi Beçi is a celebrity photographer and an award-winning cinematographer who is considered one of the most prominent videographers in Italy, Albania and Europe. He rose to prominence and made his way to the top in the film and entertainment industry working with Albanian celebrities like Alketa Vejsiu, Ermal Mamaqi, Ardit Gjebrea and Alban Skënderaj. His renowned TV work includes Miss Universe Albania, “In the Pitch Pan Trap” and “Magical Song” contest on TV Klan broadcast in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, etc. Olsi’s still films include the award-winning film “The Other Face”, winner of the World Cinema Screenwriting Award and documentary film “Childhood Mortgage”.

His professional accolades include “Artist of the Year” by NY Elite Magazine, “Best Cinematographer” by VIP Magazine, “Excellence in Film” by Ecovolis, Award for Arts Achievement by NATO, “Excellence in Albanian Cinema and Television” by Albanian Excellence, recognition for excellence and contribution in his field by Google Start UP Grind Tirana, and the “Outstanding Artistic Achievement and Excellence in Arts” by the honorable Congressman Elliot L. Engel.

Olsi Beçi has been invited as a special guest and official photographer for the 8th annual International Filmmaker Festival of New York, taking place on May 17-21, 2019 in Manhattan.

Olsi Beçi (Photo by Pirro Beati)

How long have you been making movies and videos?

Olsi Beçi: Since I was 10 years old, I was always intrigued with photography and film. Every time I would see production companies filming in my neighborhood in Tirana, I would ask them many questions about how the camera works and tips about making it in the film industry. I started my professional career over 10 years ago while I was residing in Italy, where I worked as a film director under the mentorship of the renowned maestro Pierali.

What were the career steps to becoming a celebrity photographer?

Olsi Beçi: I believe that my art, represented by my photography and videography, stems from a place of passion and creativity. Initially I started volunteering my services to help my community, including projects such as “Smile Albania” for Ecovolis, supporting the Down Syndrome cause, and the annual humanitarian Christmas dinner organized by the American Embassy in Tirana for the economically poor families. I was also awarded the “Helping Hand Award” for my involvement in fundraising for mothers in need and labor hospitals.

Each of these experiences have been rewarding and I am grateful to have been part of them. As I gained more experience, I broadened my skills working for famous national TV shows, well known artists, fashion shows and magazine photoshoots. I am honored to be named “Artist of the Year” by NY Elite Magazine, and I hope I can continue to wow the public with my creative works.

What makes your work unique from other photographers and filmmakers?

Olsi Beçi: I believe that each artist has something to offer. Everyone expresses himself differently through art, in his own way. I believe that my confidence has given me the courage to think outside of the box in my innovative and creative thinking, whether it is scriptwriting, setting up a scene for a documentary film, or shooting for artists, celebrities and models.

Each piece of my art work I feel is a reflection of my inner being, created by both the spiritual and mental inspirations. Being successful is a nice feeling to have your work recognized and respected in the field. But what makes me happy is the value and the meaning my artworks have, whether it is bringing awareness on an issue, supporting a cause or making thought-provoking films.

What is your recent movie about?

Olsi Beçi: My latest film is titled “In the Psychiatrist’s Cabinet”, directed by Donika Mustafaj. This is a documentary film highlighting mental health conditions and the stigma that prevents people from seeking the proper help. Depicting mental health is not always easy. With this film we want to tell the truth about mental illness, in hopes to reduce the stigma and discrimination against people affected by these conditions.

What were the most significant projects you’ve done so far and have the most impact on your work?

Olsi Beçi: There are many projects that have influenced my work and have helped me to succeed in my career. The award-winning short film “The other face”, featuring legendary Albanian actress Tinka Kurti, reached international success and critical acclaim. It was rated the best screening film in Amsterdam. Another work of mine of great importance is the documentary “The Kidnapped Childhood” reflecting the many challenges of impoverished children and families. The documentary was nominated in CULT and DokuFest in the Balkans.

For many years now I have been collaborating with Ecovolis. I am very honored to have been recognized for my work and contributions with Ecovolis. Many thanks to Ecovolis director, Ened Mato for giving me the opportunity to make a difference in environment and river pollution through video and documentaries.

Other significant collaborations include projects with the US Embassy, NATO, Google, UNICEF, UNDP and many other prestigious companies. It has been a great honor and opportunity to show the best of my work through my photography and video. Every work that I have done is important to me

I am very grateful for the recognition received by Congressman Elliot L. Engel for “Outstanding Artistic Achievement and Excellence in Arts”. It is truly an honor, given the Congressman’s involvement and contributions in the Albanian-American affairs. I hope that with my work I can continue to make a difference in society and make films that people will love.

Who are some of the celebrities you enjoyed working the most and why?

Olsi Beçi: I have had many successful collaborations during my career and many celebrities consider me as their favorite videographer and photographer. Some of the big stars I had the opportunity to work with are Ardit Gjebrea, Bleona Qereti, Anxhela Martini, Alban Skënderaj, Miriam Cani, Geraldina Sposa, Alketa Vejsiu, Ermal Mamaqi and many more.

What has been a favorite project thus far?

Olsi Beçi: I consider my first exhibition about children with Down Syndrome very important in my career as well as an important art exhibition in Albania. It told the story how people with Down Syndrome live in society today and the importance of accepting and supporting them as amazing kids with different skills and abilities.

Another favorite project includes bringing awareness about leading women and celebrating their accomplishments and role in society. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Director Flora Nikolla, of Albanian Excellence, on a three-day conference, that took place on April 14-16, 2019 in Albania. The project highlighted 60 successful women in their career, which I photographed. We will be opening this exhibition in many European countries where these accomplished women work and live.   

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