Fighter Kite Trainer

Basir is an Afghan professional Afghan fighter kite trainer who lives in Los Angeles California. If you are unfamiliar with Basir’s name, there is a good chance you might be familiar with some of his most interesting work and in his incredible kite making skills.

Basir Beria was the kite master and trainer for the movie “The Kite Runner” adapted from the 2004 best selling novel of Khalid Hussaini and produced by Hollywood Dreamworks Pictures. However, Basir was not only responsible for building the kites for the movie; he was also in charge of training the actors and the Chinese children how to fly the kite.

Beria grew up in a red-stone mansion in the Kabul suburb of Karte Parwan, surrounded by thousands of grapevines owned by his family. Like other Afghan kids, Basir also learnt the kite skills when he was a little boy. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Basir was imprisoned for months tortured and shocked in prison. After one and half years, he got released and his father Gul made him leave the country. A guide led Beria on backcountry trails to Pakistan where he joined his Brother Nazir. They got passports in Peshawar to fly to Germany. For almost three years, Beria lost contact with his parents while he was in Germany and his family in Kabul. In 1984, Basir’s family escaped to India while Afghanistan was under the occupation of Soviet Union. Later they decide to move to America where two of Basir’s uncles lived. The family reunited and rented an apartment in Pacoima. Beria worked the night shift as a cashier at an A.M./P.M. store. When he got beaten up twice trying to stop robberies, he took a job assembling electronics in Chatsworth, and then waited tables at a Holiday Inn.

In early 2006 Basir got a call on his cellphone from movie producer of Dreamworks Pictures. He was asked if they could see him fly his kites. On a Sunday afternoon, the director, Marc Foster, along with a dozen producers and crew members met Beria at Balboa Lake, where Afghan and Pakistani kite fighters regularly competed. They watched Beria fly his kites. He explained how they moved the kite with just one string, how they were made, how they cut one another. After a few hours of watching the kite flying, the filmmakers offered him the job as "kite master" on the set for $1,000 a week in western China.

Beria happily accepted the offer, even though he'd had to quit his job at the Holiday Inn. This was his big moment to strike. He flew to the city of Kashgar in Western China with 100 of his kites. For 15 weeks, he taught more than 150 local children how to fly the kites and got involved in every detail of the kite-flying scenes. He would later take great pride, walking his wife and three children down the red carpet of the Egyptian Theater on opening night and watching his kites soar across the big screen. When Beria got back to California, he decided to gather some loans and open a shop where he can sell his wonderful handmade kites that people would see in the movie. He scrambled to gather some money and ended up opening a store in March 2007 and set up a coffee machine and a rack of magazine along with cigarettes and beverages in the corner of lankershime Blouvard in north Hollywood. He hung his kites on the walls and displayed his spools of sharp handmade tar.

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