Waiting for Bekir

A Portrait of an Ordinary American and His Dreams


Waiting for Bekir observes with comic patience the ordinary life of Bekir: Turkish immigrant, New York landlord, and aspirational filmmaker. As depicted by Jennifer Crystal Chien’s often absurd and humanizing lens, Bekir’s routine—from camera tests, home repair, tango classes, yoga ashrams, and day trips to the beach—becomes an investigation into the universal nature of our everyday challenges and dreams. Through an unexpected combination of visual styles and points of view with an intentionally casual atmosphere, the filmmaker conveys the complexity of the multicultural immigrant experience.

Film Language

A mix of cinema verite with experimental techniques along with Youtube video styles and mumblecore-influenced scenes blend to create the aesthetic approach. The film is shot in an intentionally amateur look to convey the essence of working with inexperienced filmmakers.


This film began as an idea to make a documentary that featured an ordinary American as its main subject. Rather than focusing on a large dramatic story or a social issue, the concept was to allow an audience to experience the humanity of an individual living a mainstream American lifestyle.

Bekir's lifestyle is common to many people in industrialized nations and counteracts stereotypes that other Americans might harbor about immigrants and Middle Eastern Muslim men. His community, little seen in mainstream media, is the diaspora of middle class international immigrants in the U.S.