Levi Turner, better known as FilmsbyLevi, is the man behind all your favourite East Coast visuals. He is a Director/Editor/Photographer who’s worked with all the New York heavy weights such as Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies & the A$AP MOB.
He will be on the Beast Coast Tour this summer to capture all footage of the tour life.
We caught up with Levi for an interview about his work.
How did you get into photography/videography?
It really happened very naturally at a young age. I just entered the 6th grade was finally given the option to take interesting Classes. One of those classes was Digital Video Production (DVP). After starting that class I found a new love for making videos. My mom had a small digital camera with a video function so outside of school I was able to make videos. I started filming my two younger brothers (Christian + Brayton) skateboarding in the garage. I was 12 at the time and ever since then I never set the camera down.
How did you end up on the Amerikkkana tour with Joey Bada$$ and the rest of the Pro Era crew?
I was in New York (fall 2017) working with Kid Super documenting his process of curating a fashion show in one week for NYFW. At that time I had yet to meet any of the Pro Era members. Pro Era had attended the fashion show and I had the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone. It was a surreal experience since I have admired their movement for years. After that week I was boarding a plane home, while on the plane I received a text from Dee (P.E. photographer,videographer,creative) asking if I was available to document an upcoming hurricane relief drive (Storm of Support) that Pro Era was having in Brooklyn. They did not know I wasn’t living in New York at the time but I responded letting them know I would be there lol. I took a flight straight back to New York. I documented and edited a video from that day and that was that. This was September 23 2017.
A couple months had passed by. The new year began (2018). I was on a US tour with an artist named Devvon Terrell. In February Joey had announced “The Amerikkkana Tour”. A day or two after seeing the announcement, I received a text message from Niles (Pro Era Head of Marketing) asking if I was available to be the photographer and videographer for the tour. I wish my facial expression when reading that text messaged was captured. I was in the sprinter van during that moment somewhere on the west coast and immediately jumped out of my seat. I was speechless. The rest is history.
Your early Instagram photos capture Chance The Rapper, Logic, Kehlani and more before stardom. What’s it like watching them transform into mega stars? Did you predict this?
It has been really amazing to shoot artists such as those listed above. They are all so talented. The one artist I knew would blow up immediately was Chance The Rapper. I saw him perform in Chicago at the beginning of 2013. Acid Rap hadn’t dropped yet. I was really blown away by his energy. I started putting my friends onto his music and was also a big fan of his video director Austin Vesely. Shortly after he dropped Juice. It went crazy. The whole experience was nothing short of inspiring.
How was Dubai? What were you and Pro Era doing there?
Dubai is one of the coolest cities I have ever experienced! The Burj Khalifa (2,700 + ft in height) is in..sane. Joey was attending the Sol x DXB event as well as performing. While we were there we explored the city, played VR shooting zombies, took dune buggies out into the desert and attended the event each night. Amazing energy. Everywhere we go we document our adventures.
What’s it like being in the studio with Joey? Is he particular about the energy in the room and who’s in it while he’s recording?
In all honesty, being in the studio with Joey is simply an experience. He is a true artist. He is very keen on the energy and his grind is so inspiring. Every studio session has magic in store. When I walk into the studio, I’m thinking “wow, I wonder what magic is going to happen tonight.” And every session magic happens. The homies are always there rolling up and filling the room with smoke +good vibes. It’s an honor to be apart of the sessions. I’d love to go further in depth but I’m thinking I’ll save the stories for a book.
Who’s an artist you’d love to work with?
In general I would love to work with more female artists. Also, Different Genres.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
In 2019 I’m just pushing myself to grow as an artist and as an individual. I have a lot of ideas that only need to be executed. As they are executed the world will see.