“In the world of cinema there are a lot of talented directors and cinematographers. “-Iskander Narymbetov

Iskander Narymbetov by Asanaly Kujantayev
Iskander Narymbetov by Asanaly Kujantayev

Exclusive Interview with Iskander Narymbetov – Cinematographer

NY Glam: How did you get started in your career?

Back to the school around 6-7th grade I started tacking pics with a camera using black and white film. It started with banal re-photographing foreign music magazines! Then I started photographing people in street photo style.

NY Glam: What is your experience shooting with different tools? What are you to go to gadgets?

I have experience filming with different cameras with different devices. Sometimes I filmed with steadycam by myself. Now I’m not!))) I like to use dolly and cranes. It all depends on what do you want to show on the screen! But sometimes a static shot can say a lot! 

NY Glam: Which specific requirements did you have to take care of when choosing your equipment?

First of all all technique devices must always be checking! It’s imperative to conduct tests in the pre-shooting period. You must understand what equipment you need to use and why. If there’s no suitable equipment or it’s too expensive to rent you have to find alternative solution! This is where your fantasy and engineering thinking comes in!     

NY Glam: What are you currently working on?  

Now I’m working on preparing for a big historical movie “The long echo” with my father, director Satybaldy Narymbetov. This is our third joint project.

NY Glam: Did you like the script?

Of course I like the script! When director Victoria Yakubova gave a script of “Olma Djon” at first I didn’t quite understand what the story is but after reading for the second time a very interesting story was opened to me! The story of essentially about each of us. And after going through this story you get some kind of healing of your soul!

NY Glam: Did you have a particular shooting approach when making this film?

Unfortunately, we had very little time to create a complete storyboard, and when we started shooting the director and producer gave me complete freedom on the set. I offered my ideas. The director supplemented with her ideas. We quickly discussed and got a clear vision of ​​how and what we will shoot! We complemented each other! It’s important!

NY Glam: Was there a scene in the film that was particularly challenging from conception to actual execution?

The most difficult scene was the scene with a woman hugging a tree in the garden! We planned to shoot this scene in daylight. I can’t recall why we were a little behind schedule. December has very short daylight hours. When we started shooting this scene it was almost dark, but we could not postpone the shooting of this scene. Within about 30-40 minutes I figured out how to shoot this scene! Then went some kind of magic! Probably this is the best scene in the film!

NY Glam: What was the atmosphere like on the set?

The atmosphere was good on the set! Everyone did their job all 200%. Of course, everyone was tired, but this is our job and we live by that! We always supported each other! And until now we communicate, although we live apart from each other! We have become like a family!

NY Glam: How do you define the role of cinematographer?

The role of the director of photography in the movie is very important! Thanks to his work, you as a viewer can enjoy the image! He is the director’s eyes! The final result also depends on his ability and ability to see what kind of image, frames, camera angles, camera movement a future movie will have!

NY Glam: What have been some of your recent/other projects?

My last project was the historical blockbuster “Tomiris” directed by Akan Satayev. I was invited by the operator to the third camera only for mass scenes, but in the end I worked on the entire project and got a lot of new professional impressions!

NY Glam: How do you choose your movies that you want to shoot?

It all depends on the script. It can be comedy, historical cinema or melodrama and even a short meter. The most important thing is an interesting story!

NY Glam: What are your preferred shooting locations?

I approach the selection of subjects very carefully. I love working with daylight and it is very important for me to understand how I can use daylight inside the object. It is very important to understand how the light gets inside. One and the same object may look completely different under different lighting conditions. How is the object located in relation to a light source (the sun or an artificial light source) at different times of the day.  Where and when does the sun rise goes down. When and how does it illuminate an object .  How is it moving across the sky. What kind of lighting is most effective for a given object.

How do the shadows lie at different times of the day. What time of day do they best convey the terrain. You must understand how, at what time, you can combine daylight with artificial lighting, or how you can use your lighting equipment to create a sense of daylight! In my experience there are shootings in the interior at night, when I needed to depict the day. It turns out an interesting result – you can control the “sun”. The main thing is that you have enough lighting equipment!

NY Glam: Is there a film or film maker that inspired you to pick up a camera?

It’s a little difficult to say … In the world of cinema there are a lot of talented directors and cinematographers. Classic as well as modern. My father, the director Satybaldy Narymbetov, from my childhood instilled in me a taste for good cinema. Most likely thanks to him I came to the cinema. And I am also very grateful to my teacher, cinematographer Hasan Kydyraliev from Kyrgyzstan  for a very good practical school!

NY Glam: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?

The biggest achievement is my children! My sons! Alim and Daulet! Alim is a student, and Daulet is still studying at school! They are wonderful! I am very proud of them!

NY Glam: Do you ever think about directing someday?

Yes. From time to time such an idea visits me … I have experience directing music videos, but still I like to be an cinematographer more!

NY Glam: What are some of the projects that you are working next? Who are you working with?

I don’t like to talk about my plans … I’m a little superstitious … I plan to work with my father. We have at least 2-3 more films with him. Well, of course, with Victoria Yakubova. She and her husband Herve Schneid and I became great friends! after our movie “Olma Djon”!


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