Welcome…SHOOT’s 14th annual New Directors Showcase—which was just celebrated with an evening screening, panel discussion and reception on Thursday, May 26, at the DGA Theatre in New York City—offers a total of 36 up-and-coming helmers, filling 33 slots (30 individual directors and three duos).The field includes freelance directors (11, including two duos), editors and DPs who have broken into the directorial ranks, a pair of current ad agency artisans and some who have moved over from the agency sector, and a theatrical motion picture art director who has successfully settled into the director’s chair.
Herman Asph | Quriosity Productions
1) How did you get into directing?
As a photographer, I was always focused on the imagery. It was not until I was persuaded by Qadree Holmes to come under his new production company Quriosity Productions, that I took a serious interest in directing. With Qadree pushing me to produce more work on my own, I started gaining traction as a director. With my first real bid through Quriosity, I was awarded the Camping World job.
2) What is your most recent project?
Most recently I worked on an LG-G5 commercial featuring Jason Statham in which he fights himself. The Mill hired me to do shoot some key frames that were missing. It was fun. Before that I directed the new trailer for the Chicago International Film Festival.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
My enjoyment is always in telling the story, especially when the project becomes personal, when you relate to it. The best part is the love for creating, shaping and collaborating to make something unique.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I have a short I am working on currently – the working title is A Memory. I am very excited about it. However, my directing focus has mostly been in commercial so far. In the long run, I would like to grow in my craft; there is no plan to specialize other than to make things I care about and work hard to achieve it. No short cuts. I will continue to give my best and see where it takes me.
6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
There are a lot of people that I have crossed paths with and been shaped by. I haven’t had a mentor per se, but there are people that have significantly influenced my everyday work. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that there are no easy ways, also to make work fun.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Favorite director, that’s hard. There are so many good ones new and old. I like Lars Van Trier for his boldness and in the way he changed filmmaking. I like the poetry of Wong Kar-wai. I’ve always liked Wim Wenders for keeping it real
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
I have always claimed “Fanny and Alexander” by Ingmar Bergman. Recently, “Force Majeure” is creeping higher and higher on the list.
My favorite TV show is “Mad Men” or “Game of Thrones.”
For commercial and branding, I like what North Face is doing. It’s not just about the jackets or their shirts but also about the people that are using them, about the adventure lifestyle. There’s a Swedish one for ICA that’s also been running for years that I like. There the agency has shaped the way the Swedish people shop and turned a brand into everyday life.
9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in a small town in Sweden, which is a train hub and known for producing flour. It was quiet, and I shared dreams with my friends to leave town and go somewhere. My mother worked in the bookstore, and my dad is a blacksmith. My dad bought me my first still camera and my mom took a 2nd mortgage on her house so I could attend a private film school in Stockholm. I worked on a German television show in Sweden before meeting my wife and moving to Chicago. Since living in the States I’ve worked in all aspects of the film industry, but primarily around the camera.