The Bridge Builder

Bertrand and His View of the World

ONE OF US

Name: Bertrand Glosset, born in 1975 in Villiers/France
Lives in: Berlin / Istanbul
Profession: Cameraman, Director & Post-Production Supervisor
Mission: Go, see and share

“Wanna join us on a trip to Pakistan?”

That’s what we asked Bertrand in Berlin shortly after he was introduced to us by friends as a passionate filmmaker, a man on a mission. It was only a few days until our scheduled departure to visit our manufacturers in Sialkot, and actually not nearly enough time to organize everything we would need. Bertrand’s answer was, “Why not?”. We soon learned that this answer is more like his motto.

And that was it. This globetrotting Frenchman who we would soon have the privilege of learning so much from was now part of our Team.

Up-close: Bertrand in a cotton field from our cooperative in Pakistan.

As an individual it’s so comfortable and easy to pinpoint the good content provided on the web by our favorite news magazines, bloggers or organizations.

But as a brand, if you want to be noticed at all on the glistening podium that is today’s “Social Media” then quality content is precisely what you have to offer to get people’s attention at all.

So when we, the Ethletic team, want to show how we work behind the scenes and effectively communicate our Fairtrade vision, we need the support of sympathetic true pros and their exceptional talents. And we need them pretty much free-of-charge! After all, spending more money on marketing measures than on our welfare premiums would run counter to our social philosophy.

Typical Bertrand: Here he persuades a Pakistani police officer to wear one of our ONE OF US shirts.

Bertrand is the prototype of this kind of pro. Again and again, he “squeezes in” labor-of-love projects where there’s no big payoff but plenty of benefit to go around. So when we asked him to be our cameraman in Pakistan, he didn’t hesitate for a second.

Bertrand was born in France and began his career as a theater actor at the age of 16. In 2007 he resettled in Istanbul where he developed digital film technology that benefits filmmakers from developing countries with little or no budget. His goal is to build a bridge between Asian and European culture through the exchange of films.

Bertrand has already received a variety of awards for both his documentary and fictional work (more info at imdb.com), and he has an enormous wealth of experience in the field of authentic documentation. He has also served as a lecturer for students at a Turkish language university in Bishkek, Kirgizstan.

Focused: Bertrand fastens his GoPro camera to the bus the textile workers use to get to the factory.

Bertrand joined us in Pakistan for the first time in November of 2015. Our hope was that he would document the work of our Pakistani friends and help us to show how the people live and feel in the country where our products are manufactured.

He accompanied us into the homes of the local families, took the bus to the factory in the mornings with the workers and rode along with us for hours on the endless highways through Pakistan’s deep dark nights.

All of this was no problem for Bertrand. On the contrary, his attitude is “Go, see and share”. Bertrand genuinely wants to share in the lives of the people, even if only for a short time.

Footage shot with the GoPro camera while driving through Sialkot.

The most impressive aspect of Bertrand’s documentations is how close they bring us to the individuals portrayed and the atmosphere that emerges on-site while watching. Bertrand manages this by treating the people with the deepest respect, enabling a trusting relationship to develop.

He says,

“You have to be with the people for a while, spend time with them, live with them. Soon they won’t even think of you as a filmmaker anymore. Only then can you start filming”.

Bertrand approaches everyone with a firm belief in the goodness of people. His experience tells him that the overwhelming majority of people are friendly. However, things have often taken a dangerous turn for him when confronted with the government systems in some of the countries he has visited.

“The overwhelming majority are friendly”: Security personnel in Pakistan.

These less friendly encounters include a stint in a Chechen jail and being shot at by an Israeli soldier. But they don’t keep Bertrand from continuing to visit countries with shaky security situations.

After all, somebody has to do it, to report on what they’ve seen, to build the bridges.

Closeness comes through empathy, trust and respect for people.

Bertrand is again part of the tight-knit team on our latest project: building up a Fairtrade cooperative of small private farmers in the village of Basti Jandheer Wala near the city of Multan in Pakistan. Whenever we go there, he’s with us. Our aim is to document the project’s development phases on film to give you a sense of this sometimes nerve-wracking but ultimately hopeful process.

The living conditions of the farmers transitioning together from conventional to organic cotton under the joint “Fairtrade” banner have now been captured on film in both of Bertrand’s trips with us.

Without Bertrand’s innate compassion we would be in no position to communicate to you the friendly atmosphere that always greets us there.

Bertrand is “ONE OF US”, and we’re grateful to him for that.

Bertrand in the village of Basti Jandheer Wala where we are building up Pakistan’s first Fairtrade cooperative.
Together: Bertrand shows the farmers his photos.

 

Photos: Bertrand Glosset; Ethletic
Protocoll: Marc Solterbeck
Text: Annika Langhagel
Translation: John Jeffrey Collier
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