The photographer and director on sailing round the world, his very first camera and the adrenaline of advertising
Norwegian director Andreas Kleiberg cherished summers as a child when he would go sailing on the seas of western Norway with friends. But the day he borrowed his dad’s camera to capture the world around him, his life changed. Even though the camera didn’t even have any film inside it, young Andreas set about practicing how to take photos, so he would be ready for when it did. He was hooked before he even started.
Andreas’ infatuation with photography developed and after he’d completed a photography degree he discovered the advertising world and became engrossed in filmmaking. Adland presented multiple opportunities to Andreas, where his love of the visual media and his insatiable hunger to shoot could flourish.
The ever-productive Andreas is now a director at B-Reel and is also repped by Agent Bauer and tinagent as a photographer. His latest work ‘Infinitum Movement’ earned him a spot on the lauded Young Directors Awards at Cannes 2017 and there is much more to come from this Nordic Talent, who is compelled to capture beautiful images.
LBB’s Jason Caines chatted with Andreas to discover more about what drives him.
LBB> What were you like as a kid growing up on the west coast of Norway?
Andreas Kleiberg> Oh, man. Growing up on the west coast of Norway was like growing up in paradise. To have the mountains to the east and the north Atlantic sea as the closest neighbour to the west had a big impact on my youth. I got a lot of space because of my parent’s trust and was able to go sailing with my friends for weeks in the summertime at a really young age. This pushed me to believe in my decisions and gave me a confidence that I am grateful to apply to my career. Add an unhealthy amount of skiing, and you have my youth.
LBB> How did you get first get into photography and how did it become your career?
AK> It started when I borrowed my father’s old Minolta SLR. Everything looked so good through those old lenses. I brought it with me everywhere, but I couldn’t afford all the film I wanted. I mostly shot blanks, practicing composition. The first project that got me hooked, was when I shot a bridge in Stavanger. I wanted to shoot it in pieces. I had 36 exposures on my film. I puzzled them together, and the result was nothing like I planned, and suddenly I understood the complexity of photography. I was totally hooked from that point. I still don’t understand how to shoot a bridge in 36 frames and make it look alright.
LBB> How did you get your start in advertising?
AK> I got into advertising while studying photography. I felt immediately at home with the high pace and high demand of creative agencies. I loved the adrenaline, the level of creativity in the briefs and the focus on details from the Art Directors. I think advertising is a unique platform for creatives to channel their visions. I have never looked back.
LBB> What's your day to day like as a director at B-Reel?
AK> There are no days alike at B-Reel. I am lucky to be in production most of the time, so either meetings, shooting or in post. I have to pinch my arm regularly because I have my dream job! All aspects of my days involve something I love, people I look up to. That is probably one of the main perks, I surround myself with extreme talents which is super inspiring. B-Reel is dedicated to showcasing and lifting talents, and I am humble to be part of such an inspiring gang.
LBB> What's been your favourite project so far?
AK> Probably the hardest question I can get… Working with the launch campaign for the new Triumph Bonneville (MCs) range was pretty awesome. But every time I have the chance to transfer some sort of emotion to the audience through my films is a feeling of success for me. That is the magic power of films!
LBB> You were shortlisted for a Cannes Young Director’s Awards in 2017 for your piece, Infinitum Movement. Please tell us more about the spot.
AK> The film about Simen Knudsen and his passion for the ocean’s health is pretty much a dream project as I am deeply passionate about the environment myself. We were a cool gang at the set, and it was amazing to have such a free mandate from the client. We shot at all times of day and night for three days. Drinking wine and living like hippies while waiting for the light. It felt extremely personal to release the film. And I felt like I was hugging the film in the editing process, protecting the film from everyone’s external ideas. When it got picked up in Cannes I was shocked, but it also gave me a lot of confidence to trust my gut. When I am stuck in a project that feels square and corporate, I pull out this film to remind me how laid-back and creative advertising can be. That often gives me a boost that I can bring into ongoing projects.
LBB> You've been around the world in a sailboat. How did that come about? Please tell us more about that experience, sounds like an amazing journey.
AK> Yeah. I mean… Where should I start…? It was freakin’ amazing. I had driven myself into a corner creatively. I was struggling to shift my path from corporate jobs. I needed a big change. When my father launched the plan of setting sail westwards I knew it was the perfect timing.
I was able to sit under the stars for weeks crossing the Atlantic or the Pacific, without any distractions. No Internet, no phone, no emails… At first it was a nightmare. I even got a panic attack a couple of days into the Atlantic crossing. But some meditation got me back on track, and I got this calm feeling I haven’t felt before or since. I was able to focus on thoughts for a long time. Really thinking stuff through.
Before I left I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come back to advertising, and I wanted to spend some time to get perspective over my career. I could suddenly see clearly what I wanted to do, and how I could get there. I was longing to get back into the business after some months away. After falling completely in love with French Polynesia, it was time to get back to work. This was the same time as I signed with one of Norway’s major production companies and got a new agent.
LBB> What else are you into outside of Adland?
AK> Now, as we have snow here in Oslo, I ski in the slopes at Oslo Winterpark as often as I can. Often in between meetings. Or I hang out with my daughter Klara, my friends and family.
LBB> Do you have any favourite ads created by a Norwegian or Nordic admaker?
AK> I can’t not mention “The Epic Split”… the look, the VO, the music. It is supreme.
And “Sweden on Airbnb” is an instant classic. Great idea, and great film! This one is also beautifully made, and a possibility to brag about my colleagues in BRF, Anders Hallberg for Swedish Railways.
LBB> What's your advice for budding directors out there?
AK> My best tip is to remember to take a breather every now and then, to recalibrate. Get inspired, get new input, whatever. The scariest thing I can imagine is to be too focused on the next weeks, instead of where you want to be in a year. It’s easier to navigate when you lift your head and look forward. It makes the intensity of your ongoing project seem like a piece of a long-term effort. You don’t always make the right decisions when you get caught in the bubble.
LBB> Have you got any upcoming projects that you'd like to mention?
AK> I am finishing up a couple of projects I am really proud of at the moment, but I am super stoked about a project I am working on for the ocean. It is probably the wildest project so far, but it is one of my deep passions. BRF is pushing as much as I am, so I hope I can share more with you guys soon.
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