Up-and-coming German director on why you don’t need film school to be a good filmmaker, creating in the digital age and why above all creatives need to stay patient
German director Anthony Capristo sent us a spec ad for Nike that was totally different to anything we’d seen before from the sporting brand. His piece, entitled ‘Free Your Mind’, presents a brooding apocalyptic world filled with athletic dancing, fires, super-cityscapes and explosions. We instantly had to learn more about this new director.
Through conversation we learned that Anthony is a member of that particular new breed of filmmakers who are creating in the fully digital age but can still remember the sound of a whirring dial-up modem.
We also learned that after he circulated his spec ad, to us and others, his phone has not stopped ringing with offers from production companies.
LBB’s Jason Caines was lucky enough to grab a conversation with the increasingly in-demand filmmaker to capture some of his thoughts.
LBB> What were you like growing up as a kid in Germany?
Anthony Capristo> As a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s I grew up with Nintendo, the blockbuster cinema of Steven Spielberg and a bad internet connection. I lived at a time when teenagers were still allowed to dream. After that everything became faster, louder, more hectic. I'm glad to know the world before and in the middle of digitisation.
LBB> Did you study at any higher education or university courses that have benefited you in your directing career so far?
AC> I studied at a film school, which taught me the practical part of filmmaking. You get to know people with the same interests, get first experiences with the medium and gain insights into the industry. It's good. But you do not have to attend a film school to become a good filmmaker. Even if it sounds trivial: All you need is talent, passion and patience.
LBB> You’re still making your first steps in your film but you’ve been getting a lot of attention recently. Are you looking to get signed by a production company?
AC> After releasing my newest work, a Nike spec ad, I received a lot of exciting requests. I talked to film productions and agencies about representations. Nothing has been decided yet, but the decision will be made in the coming weeks.
LBB> How did you get you first become interested in film?
AC> I was four when I was in the cinema for the first time. It was love at first sight. For me cinema is entertainment, art and a safe haven that lets you flee from reality.
I owe my first experiences as a director to the DSLR revolution. The digitisation of cinema was a game changer for industrial and personal filmmaking. Everyone could suddenly produce films in HD for little money. It was cheap and great for new filmmakers.
LBB> What have been some of your favourite projects to shoot as a director?
AC> There are many projects that I like to work on. The most exciting so far, however, was the Nike spec. Inspired by genre movies like The Matrix (including the anthology The Animatrix) and Blade Runner, I wanted to create a commercial spot that combines dystopian aesthetics with the zeitgeist of a digitized world we experience from the perspective of a young generation.
LBB> Your short film Numb is great. Can you tell us more about how the film came to life?
AC> A friend of mine, a young woman, told me about her situation. There was sometimes a pain in her chest. She went to several doctors, but they said everything was fine. Yet, the pain came back, she became nervous and began trembling. To get rid of the pain she had managed to let her thoughts escape to a more beautiful place. As you can imagine a mental disorder was the cause of my friend’s condition, triggered by frustration and stress. However, as soon as she realised this connection, she slowly began feeling better. Today she is doing very well.
I was inspired by the discrepancy that she felt between her body and mind. The mental escape from reality is quite an interesting subject. So, I asked her if it would be okay if I visualised her experiences, and she said yes.
LBB> Your spec project for Nike was definitely one of the best submissions from new directors we have had lately. How did you decide to shoot this piece for the brand and in this futuristic style?
AC> Wow, thank you. For a long time, I had the idea of producing a spot that focuses on the constant digitization of our world. We live in a world that controls and imprisons us while fleeing into virtual realities.
Taking this one step further, this leads to interesting questions:
Is our reality an illusion?
What if we can create reality according to our ideas?
These are spiritual and existential questions science fiction has been asking for decades. I have tried to pair a strong eclectic style with an engaging interpretive narrative.
LBB> What brands or commercial projects have you worked on?
AC> I am currently working on several small and large projects for well-known brands. But I would not like to say more at this time. Stay tuned.
LBB> Are there any notable German campaigns or ad makers that you’d like to mention?
AC> There are some German film production companies that pursue new approaches. The internet is getting more relevant every day. Many viewers switch from classical media to the world wide web. That's why branded content is now a big topic. Some companies from Germany, such as bwgtbld, have understood that and are doing a great job.
LBB> What’s your advice for budding young directors out there?
AC> Make as many films as possible. Get inspired. Evolve yourself. Build your reel. And above all: Be patient.
LBB> What are you into outside of film and advertising?
AC> Of course, filmmaking takes up a large part of my life, but it's not what it's all about. I spend a lot of time with friends, family and my dog Francis (named after the great Francis Ford Coppola). I love to read Murakami, eat sushi and travel to new places.
Unfortunately, I'm not an adventurer, even if I would like to be one.
LBB> Do you have any plans for the future that you would like the people out there to know about?
AC> I am currently working on a passion project, which I hope will be released this year.