Our friends at the Young Director’s Award have extended their entries deadline until May 9 – timely we thought for catching up with multi-YDA winner Aleksander Bach to see how his career was kick-started by winning the award.
From winning the Young Director’s Award twice in a row including the Jury Special prize you have directed some wonderful commercials. What have been the highlights and the work you’ve been most proud of since winning?
Well, I’ve really had the pleasure to realise some very nice scripts since that time. I like the commercials for Marlboro, RWE, for the Mercedes B-Class (See Related Content) and now the new commercial for Tom Tailor.
Now that you’re signed to Stamp in London what would be your ideal script out of London?
I love storytelling, and it would be a great pleasure for me to realise scripts for something like Stella Artois or Guinness, for example.
And are you repped elsewhere?
Yes, my management is Driven By Creatives in Berlin; I am with Wanda in Paris, and Erste Liebe Film and Markenfilm Berlin in Germany.
How would you sum up your directing style?
As a storyteller I love emotional and visual films. Stamp described my work quite well on their website: “His commercials combine lush, sumptuous visuals with heartfelt human performance to create a brilliant body of work which satisfies both aesthetically and emotionally.”
We love your latest spot for Tom Tailor. Did the final film differ much from the original brief? Did you storyboard every shot?
Oh yes. This project was such a pleasure to shoot. The film is quite close to the original idea. But I have a very good relationship with Fabian Frese and Thim Wagner, the creative directors from Jung von Matt in Hamburg. They trust me and of course they want me to develop the story. This gives me a lot of freedom.
Of course we have a shooting board. This is the creative base for the production and the “must have” for the client. But additionally I’ve started to shoot more and more spontaneously because these shots often become magical in the edit. You can’t plan everything on set. This is what I’ve learnt. And you have to be open for those moments otherwise you become blind and you will not have a chance to develop your own work.
Were there any major challenges on the production and how did you overcome them?
My first question was: how the hell do we put 35 naked people on the back of a driving truck? We had a stunt coordinator from Los Angeles and we prepared this shot step-by-step with a lot of rehearsals with the models before the shoot. We shot the naked models static on the truck and put it together in post production with Ghost from Denmark.
Which part of the production process do you enjoy the most?
In general I love the moment when everything starts to come together before the shoot. You have a vision and suddenly you start to bring it to life It’s amazing. This motivates me a lot for the shoot itself.
And the Tom Tailor shoot especially was so much fun. Every project is different. From the very beginning I asked myself: How the models will behave naked on set? I want them to feel comfortable and I expected respect from my whole team regarding the nudity. And because we created a great atmosphere on set, I got from them everything what I needed for the film. It was so impressive. Just after one hour it was a feeling of common nudity. It was so impressive how natural the talents behaved on set.
Is directing easier or harder than you thought?
Directing is not difficult for me. It’s amazing because I see the process of filmmaking as opportunity to create something in a team. I love to work with people. It’s all about psychology. I am the person with the vision which is going to be realised. And that’s a great honour for me.
What are the key lessons you’ve learnt about film making?
1. Every single decision in the process of filmmaking is important. There are no less or more important decisions.
2. Have a vision, think, listen to your creative heads-of-departments, think again, then listen to your inner voice and make a final decision.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about filmmaking?
Prepare a shoot as detailed as possible to know exactly what you want and to feel safe. It’s the base for the creative process. After that get rid of the plan if you feel you have to, be patient and let it go. And suddenly something new appears.
Is Germany still home base?
At the moment, yes.
What’s your Plan A?
Long format…but this stays a secret.
Director: Aleksander Bach
Mercedes, Circle of Life (Back to Nature)
Agency: Jung von Matt / Alster
Production Company: Erste Liebe Film
Creative Director: Thimoteus Wagner
Director: Aleksander Bach
DOP: Jan Velicky
Editor: Andre Gelhaar
Music: Peter Gromer