BROOKLYN COLLEGE–Champion Pizza may seem like just your average go-to spot when you need something to eat, but to many, the allure lies behind the person who runs the pizza chain: Hakki Akdeniz. The first-generation immigrant turned Instagram superstar may just be running a business, but in “Slice of Goodness” by Brooklyn College senior Usman Chohan, viewers get a firsthand look at the entrepreneur’s everyday life. The documentary was selected for Doc NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, and was screened on Nov. 16.
For Chohan, the film began last semester in Video Storytelling, a course offered in the Television, Radio and Emerging Media Department by Professor Irina Patkanian. The assignment was a narrative documentary: telling a story without the filmmaker telling the story, which is different from a news documentary where it is very evident what the story is. Chohan chose Akdeniz after meeting him at a Ramadan event, where the star was giving out free pizzas to those breaking their fasts. From there, their relationship grew and eventually became a collaborative project.
“He’s very humble enough that he doesn’t, you know, say, ‘Oh, you’re a student filmmaker. I don’t want you to interview me.’ In many ways, he encouraged me to take certain shots and film certain ways; he was kind of a very active person and collaborating on this film,” Chohan told The Vanguard.