The Work That Made Us: Rekorder
Inspiration comes in many forms. Perhaps it's a film from a revered director, maybe a visionary art installation, or even a childhood toy.
To reflect on the inspiration behind their varied careers, the directors spoke exclusively to LBB.
The creative stuff from my childhood that stays with me…
Leo Adef> Back when I was a kid, I used to watch a lot of music videos. I remember the sets from the late 90's videos, they totally blew my mind.
When I was 12, I watched Gregg Araki's films for the first time. Nowhere (1997) and The Doom Generation (1995) showed me a whole new world of characters and stories that were totally new and inspiring for me, living in south america and without internet connection. I was touched by that idea of freedom, sexual liberation and self discovery.
Nick> My aunty was a big influence on my creative side when I was small. She was a theatre designer and had a very vivid imagination! On a walk down a beautiful Irish beach she described the entire plot of ‘The Shining’ (when I was a bit too young for the material). Her description was so brilliant that when I finally got to see the film I kind of was more affected by her version!
On a less spooky note I think ‘The Muppets’ was also influential, they created this parallel universe full of graphic coloured animals and creatures, and used it to reflect the absurdities of human nature.
Chloé> As a child, the films I loved the most were the ones which got me excited about storytelling. I remember Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones being really important to me. They had burlesque cool and great humour, mixed with these mysterious stories which made my mind wander. I still love that 80’s vibe. It influences most of our casting choices today, as well as color schemes.
Alan Masferrer> The film version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm was, strangely, one of the movies that I watched most often when I was a child. It's dark and distressing atmosphere had a great impact on me, a feeling that somehow has kept calling me throughout my entire life. I think you can see the same feeling in the films of Andrzej Zulawski, Andrei Tarkovski or David Lynch.
Above: The ‘dark and distressing’ ambiance of Animal Farm had a great impact on the work of Alan Masferrer.
My first professional project…
Leo Adef> For a long time, I was travelling around the world working on personal projects. I traveled a lot and collected a lot of stories of young people discovering their identities, exploring the idea of love and friendship challenging the norm. This work was discovered by the creative team of MTV and they offered me a job working on their rebrand. I worked on more than 100 short films for their campaign called "Mood swing". That was my first big professional project, and it was a very challenging and interesting process. We worked on content for every continent in the world with a diverse casting portraying a lot of cool stories.
Above: Leo’s first professional project was the wildly ambitious ‘Mood Swing’ for MTV
Alan Masferrer> My first commercial was for Cash Converters, a Spanish second-hand chain’s store. Unlike my personal projects, it didn’t reflect my personal aesthetic tastes... but it was a nice experience that let me do playful things that I hadn’t done in the past.
The work that made me want to get into the industry…
Alan Masferrer> Frank Budgen did his part on directing my attention to commercials! He made me believe in them in a way that I hadn’t ever felt. His work is so honest, magnetic, and captivating at the same time. He was the main reason I studied advertising when I still didn’t know what to do with my life.
But I suppose the origin of everything came from watching music videos in the 90s, during the golden age of MTV. My family was not exactly crazy about movies so I didn’t watch many films in my childhood, but then music videos blew me away when I was a teenager and I became obsessed with them! I recorded them on Betacam tapes and watched them over and over again. I could mention most stuff by Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze or Jonathan Glazer, but in this case, I will choose Massive Attack’ ‘Teardrop’, directed by Walter Stern.
Above: Walter Stern’s seminal music video for Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ was a lasting influence on Alan Masferrer.
Chloé> In my 20’s, Nick brought me to see the dance piece Körper from Sascha Waltz.
She used all the theatre facilities you could think of as part of the show, the sewers, the streets around the theatre, the office block opposite the entrance. By opening the back doors of the stage and inviting the audience to follow the dancers outside, it opened a box in my head on how to always challenge your ideas and see what you could experiment on every new project.
Nick> I grew up in a golden age of advertising and music videos. During the 80s, TV ads were as good as the music videos and I remember a certain Levis Ad from BBH London launching its soundtrack to top the UK charts. That kind of showed me how advertising could be an artform in and of itself.
Above: Levis 1985 campaign from BBH London was soundtracked by Marvin Gaye’s iconic ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine”.
The work that I’m proudest of…
Leo Adef> In 2017 I was asked to create a piece for Saint Laurent in collaboration with Hercules Magazine. I enjoyed this project so much, I had a lot of freedom and we travelled to Berlin to shoot a short film about a french guy who escaped from home to Berlin to discover himself. I love these kinds of projects where the client/brand puts trust in my work and gives me total freedom to tell the story that I want. We cast local people, not necessarily trained actors, to give this story the truth that we wanted and it was a very cool process. I'm very proud of this work.
Above: The Other Side was created for Saint Laurent in collaboration with Hercules Magazine.
Alan Masferrer> The music video for George FitzGerald’s ‘Full Circle’ is still my most beloved project so far. It’s an abstract journey through the different stages of life, starring the amazing Anna Hierro- a member of my favorite contemporary dance company in Barcelona, La Veronal. Coincidentally, Anna was 5 months pregnant when we contacted her for the project. She was brave enough to take the risk, and that elevated some of the scenes to an even higher level, both conceptually and visually.
Above: “Anna was 5 months pregnant when we contacted her for the project”, says Alan Masferrer. She was brave enough to take the risk, and that elevated some of the scenes to an even higher level, both conceptually and visually”
The piece of work that still makes me jealous…
Alan Masferrer> I’m very passionate and I can feel really jealous, I won’t hide that! It’s constructive for me. For instance, the legendary and monumental ‘Cremaster Cycle’ by Matthew Barney is one of these masterpieces that it’s impossible to forget. That said, it’s been so shamelessly imitated and ripped off visually, that I prefer to just keep the conceptual and essential approach of it.
Above: The Cremaster Cycle is a series of five feature-length films by the American visual artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney.
Chloé> A couple of years ago now David Lynch did a great short called ‘What Did Jack Do?’, which is great to remind us how little money you need to create a great piece of film.
The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…
Leo Adef> At the beginning of this year I was contacted by 'Desigual'. They wanted to create a campaign with the artist and activist Mykki Blanco. When I received the call, I was very excited because Mykki is an artist that I respect and admire a lot. The campaign was about change, about how we can change our minds, our thoughts, our community and our world. The process of working with this artist was very enriching for me, and it’s always cool when you have someone in front of the camera who proposes a lot of cool and creative ideas to make the film better.
Above: Desigual with Mykki Blanco was an opportunity for Leo to work with an artist he had long admired
Chloé> Our project I like the most at the moment is Slowset. It was a real organic process with the teens we filmed. I just loved their answers about the whole process of slow dancing and love, it all felt very fresh. When we exhibited this piece in Paris in 2019 at the “Futures of Love” show, people started to slowdance on front of it. That made me very happy.
Alan Masferrer> I’m very proud of my last commercial for BMW, shot in China last year. The production was a real challenge, and at times difficult to understand from a western point of view. But the creative approach was so stimulating, abstracting real scenes into art installations and linking each other with the car, so it was my kind of ride!
Above: “At times it was difficult to understand from a western point of view, but the creative approach was so stimulating”, says Alan of his film for BMW China.