CODEX Interview: Kavon Elhami (Camtec)

An entry borrowed from the blog on Codex's website: 

Here at Codex we are eternally grateful to the many customers who have supported us from the beginning. One such early customer is Los Angeles camera rental facility Camtec. Established as CamTec Motion Picture Cameras in 1989, Camtec has grown into a full service facility with knowledgeable staff and extremely loyal clients like Matthew Libatique and Linus Sandgren. We spoke to Kavon Elhami, who recently became an associate member of the ASC (well-deserved!), about his company and what they’ve been up to recently.

CODEX: Tell us about how Camtec got started and how long you’ve been in business.

KAVON: My father Jay Elhami was studying film making and cinematography in Berlin in 1970 when I was born. I have pictures of myself in diapers with an ARRI S on my lap. From very early in my life I was watching movies through a cinematographer’s eye. My father took over Denny Clairmont’s bench at Birns and Sawyer when Denny left to start his own company in the 80s. About 10 years later Camtec was born in our garage. When we started all our clients were my age - students and such in their early 20s. Over the years those clients have grown up into successful cinematographers and of course we have met many new friends and clients along the way. 



C: What’s unique about Camtec?

K: We have never strived to be the biggest. But we do strive to be the best. We put a huge amount of personal love and attention into the projects that our friends and clients embark upon. The relationships that we cultivate with our clients are deep true friendships that we are very proud of.



C: Tell us about some of your key customers and any recent projects that you are particularly proud of supporting.

K: Really we are very proud of all of our clients. I think by nature of who we are, we attract a certain type of clientele. They are not necessarily impressed by the size of our building but rather enjoy and embrace the close relationship that I’m speaking about. It’s really like a family. All my clients have my personal phone numbers. They know they can call me anytime. We don’t just talk cameras. It’s really a lot more than that. That being said, a few projects have brought us a lot of notoriety in the past few years. American HustleJoyand the upcoming Battle of the Sexes with Linus Sandren of course were huge. Straight Outta Compton and many other films with Matthew Libatique. Matty and Camtec go back to the 90s! Arrival which Bradford Young just shot on our modified "Vintage" Ultra Primes. These projects of course have brought more attention to us in recent years. 


C: How has the camera rental business changed in the past few years and how is Camtec positioned to address these changes and grow into the future?

K: Well, the equipment is of course always changing. But the underlying business, in my eyes, hasn’t really changed all that much. Its about relationships, friendships, learning from each other, collaborating. I don’t think that will ever change.