Ending 2016 this way couldn't be more exciting. Wieden Kennedy Amsterdam stepped up from last years Imagination machine and created this amazing..don't even know how to call it correctly..experience for S7 Airlines.
It was a game, and event, an actually built and working Rover that was controlled in real time by contestants in Moscow while the rover was roving 5000KM away from us in a desert. People who lost won miles and people who won won free tickets. I think we were as emotional as the winners themselves when we wrapped this one up.
For me personally it was exciting to work again with the guys at Wieden Kennedy. Especially doing this in house. Also a first to work with Joe Roberts. Hope to do both again in the future.
We were very happy to hear that de Bijenkorf wanted to work with Tilda Swinton for their summer/spring 2016 campaign. And us as well :)
Entirely developed, nurtured and brought to life by Operator Studio's.
Photographed and directed by Frederieke Helwig and shot in Amsterdam. Very cool experience to be a part of.
Client : De Bijenkorf Agency : Operator Studios Creative Director : Maarten Sundermann Production Comp. : Operator Studios Executive Producer : Pavel Ananich Director : Frederieke Helwig Producer : Berthine van Dalen Production Manager : Maarten von Schmidt auf Altenstadt Assistant Director : Marc van der Bijl Cinematographer : Daniel Boquet Art Department : Frank Visser Styling : Elle Verhagen Hair & Makeup : Irena Ruben Editor : Doug Hancock Grading : Joppo in de Grot / De Grot Music : Niels Den Otter / Audentity
Key Talent : Tilda Swinton
Creative Director Talent : Jerry Stafford
Models: Sophie Deahl, Mae Telkamp, Jill Megan, Jelle Soet, Jaap Berkhout, Jose de Wolff
I met Ruben via my dear friend Masha Osipova. This was back in the day during film school. Ruben made a lasting impression I remember. Like this guy who is actually on a different planet hovering above us, looking down and contemplating where we are going.
He was quite far in the prep of the production with Sander Verdonk as their line producer had to quit.
And this became one of the prettiest things I ever got to be part of.
A metaphysical tale, gorgeously shot by Paul Ozgur with amazing performances by Lukas Timulak, Claron McFaddon, Celia Amade, Shirly Essenboom, Cesar Faria Fernandes and Joeri Dubbe.
While operating Operator I did a few jobs for Jelani and Sander at Brenninkmeijer and Isaacs. Now going by the name of New Ams Film Company.
Heineken global had a Twitter campaign going during the matches of the Champions League.
I got to produce two of these films, created by DDB Amsterdam, directed by Victor Ponten, that believe it or not got shot, edited and went live the same day as the match - or better yet - during the match!
They wanted something different and we approached Olivia from WeFolk who introduced us to Nadav Kander. This couldn't be a coincidence as Maarten had one of his pieces as a desktop background when we first met.
Nadav really wanted to create a work that was abstract but at the same time communicated directly to the senses. We asked Sidi Larbi Cherkoui to help us out. And created a choreography and with a cast of dancing models we made this little gem. And all of this was possible with the help of Oz Thakkar!
I got to shoot in Moscow with Judd and John and the supercool guys from Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam. They thought of this amazing contraption together with Telart that enabled people to steer an airplane with their minds. Yes their minds.
So cool that this campaign was such a banger and really made a difference for the folks at S7.
A crazy ride for Operator, me and most of all Marco. A young guy who applied to the function of and got to be Heineken's first Chief Orange Officer (COO) in the year of 2014.
The Dutch got to party and celebrate on their Kingsday in the Netherlands, the World Cup in Brazil, the Winter Olympics in Russia.
And all of this accompanied by an ice cold Heineken and the COO.
I got to shoot in Sochi, New York, Sao Paolo, Porto Alegre, Haarlem and Amsterdam...think we shot every week for like 5 months in a row..Crazy!
Great thanks to Marco, Rob, Connie, Paul, Rein Jan, Kevin, Amber, Celine and ofcourse Roel Boorsma.
making of the crates
Another important person in my career is Jelani Isaacs. The man gave me my first job in adland in Amsterdam. Somebody whose advice and support I can always count on. And I've been doing projects with him and his partner Sander Brenninkmeijer ever since.
In 2013 Jelani introduced me to my future partner in crime - Maarten Sundermann.
Maarten had this idea to create a production company that not only works for ad agencies but also creates idea's and make's them directly for clients.
This shoot for Mini, directed by Justin Magness, was my first collaboration with Maarten.
And the next three years we shared a room that today is called Operator Studios.
Being Russian got me involved in some cool projects. One of these was with Vadim and Vitaly, two guys from Novosibirsk and Ukraine. They climb roofs and take cool pictures of - basically everything.
For Vice NL we went to Berlin and climbed a rooftop. Thanks Lea for this exciting experience. And confronting me with my fear of hights.
In the spring of 2012 I moved to Brussels where I worked as a production manager on Wasteland, directed by Pieter van Hees and produced by Eurydice Gysel and Koen Mortier.
An extremely important experience for me where I could learn some hands on producing skills surrounded by a great group of people.
Guided by the line producer Koen Fransen and inspired by the talent of everyone on set but especially by my classmate, Menno Mans, whose first feature this was a DP.
Also I practiced my poetry skills with the callsheet emails:
--- CS #9 ---
to forget the dead of the day at night I feast on the living
no cut deep enough no notice, no leaving
no crossing lines no turning pages i smell of death your's is bloody contagious
smoke me in one drag i won't turn you to dust
born a pillar of salt turn a pillar of lust.
a shot to the head. a bow, no applause.
its wasteland for me no rebel, no cause
--- CS # 10 ---
Another day, another night we gazed deep in Matonge's eyes, and the TV into ours. The hood embraced us all the way and we had too much fun today till past the bedtime hours.
We got locked up, twice no delight and brave are those that plight to fight, who shoot to film, to feel, not kill, and eat like soldiers what a day, we tell ourselves at night
And so my friends I ask you now what is tomorrow's sorrow?
Tomorrow is the day that we, bury Aysha's brother.
RIP LUKENGO - VIVA WASTELAND!
And callsheet number 10, good day and good night.
--- CS # 11 ---
the bed the launch the landing
a dream, so dark and yet, so sweet
a mare a night a door a street
forget's me not i wont forgive
a slap in exchange for a sleep cause all that's hard wasteland make's weak
So long and happy ending! -
And tomorrow's call sheet! Good night and good day, Pavel
Atlantic & Qissa
After returning from my adventure in Moscow I reached out to Bero Beyer, who was my production mentor during my film academy studies.
It was his presentation of his film 'Paradise Now' in our first year of studies that made me understand that film was the greatest thing out there.
As a junior producer I assisted Bero in the final steps of the making of this beautiful film directed by Jan Willem van Ewijk.
A true poetic experience, shot on location in Marocco.
Starring Fettah Lamara, Thekla Reuten and the late Mohamed Majd.
In this same period I also acted as the post-production supervisor on the film QISSA that Bero co-produced and opened the International Film Festival Rotterdam later that year. Of which Bero is now the director.