some of our recent favorites:
JAEGERMAISTER “SAVE THE NIGHT”
JOACHIM “JOJO” ZUNKE
Night isn’t just a time of day. It’s a space for freedom, creativity, and inspiration. Nightlife is the mother of culture. Save the night.
IN CONVERSATION: JOACHIM “JOJO” ZUNKE
As a director, cinematographer, and musician, Jojo lives on the front edge of aesthetic trends, while always integrating vintage textures which make his work feel timeless. For this collaboration with Jaegermaister Jojo created the entire look and feel, including music, sound design, cinematography, voiceover, and edit. This happened at the height of the pandemic, when in person shooting was not a possibility. The challenge was to combine stock, found footage, and archival assets in a way that felt cohesive and intentional.
SOCIETY: Knowing this campaign wouldn’t involve any in person shooting, what made you want to take it on as a director?
JOJO: Jaegermeister’s idea with this campaign was to raise money for local music venues that had closed during the pandemic, and that mission struck a chord with me. Having grown up watching and playing music in those very types of clubs, I know how important they are to connecting people to art and music. Beyond that, the role of art and music in our society is to speak truth to power, and the idea of living without that felt not only sad, but scary to me. So I said yes!
SOCIETY: How did you approach a film that you knew would rely heavily on stock footage? How did you make it your own?
JOJO: You know it actually was quite comfortable for me, because a normal part of my creative process as a director is experimenting with mood films and pre-edits. I’m constantly scouring the internet for clips and textures and experimenting with how they can be combined or juxtaposed in interesting ways. I also have always believed that sound and music contribute at least fifty percent of a film’s impact, and this project gave me the opportunity to take ownership of those elements from the beginning.
SOCIETY: Were you composing the music and sound design even before you had the visuals?
JOJO: Yes, in part. And the other thing that was critical in the beginning was figuring out the voiceover. I was determined to work with someone from culture, not a commercial actor. I reached out to the rapper and poet Akua Naru, who I had worked with several times before, and asked her to collaborate. We recorded remotely and finessed the script together. Once I found the tone of the narration I knew what I was looking for visually.
SOCIETY: What did you learn from this unusual project that you will take into other projects?
JOJO: I’m happy with how the film turned out, and it emboldened my view that the work turns out better when I can be intimately involved with editorial and post production sound. It’s so strange to me that in American advertising you don’t often get to do this, but I believe it makes the work so much better, and I will push for it in the future.
PREMERA “SKATE MARKS”
It’s ok not to be ok. Yet professional athletes say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking help for mental health conditions. Premera and the Seattle Kraken aim to open up that conversation
IN CONVERSATION: ZIA MOHAJERJASBI
Health Insurance provider Premera, along with agency Copacino + Fujikado, tapped Zia Mohajerjasbi to direct their TV spot “Skate Marks” as the launch film for their effort to destigmatize mental health conditions in sports. Zia brought not only sports experience, but a personal connection to the cause. Having battled anxiety and panic attacks for years, this was an opportunity for the filmmaker to combine two subjects he knows well.
SOCIETY: What appealed to you about this creative?
ZIA: Normalizing conversations around mental health and well being is paramount. I connected with the idea that the physical aggression in the performance becomes inflected as a cry for help with the final reveal. A kind of subversion of expectation. Beyond that, from a photographic standpoint – the visual storytelling relied on rich contrast and deep shadows – and that’s (chef’s kiss) a blessed creative mandate to work with.
SOCIETY: What challenges and / or opportunities did it present?
ZIA: “The clearest challenge and opportunity was shooting on ice. We were relying a lot on moving the camera to tell the story, and to do that – this spot became the first time that I leaned into the strength of a gimbal system. For non-dolly stabilization, Steadicam is almost always my go-to choice, but for this it didn’t feel like the most streamlined choice. Our key grip had built a sled that the camera team was able to mount a black arm to, and that ended up working like a charm. Once we were built, we were able to shoot most of the spot fairly quickly.
SOCIETY: You’ve alluded to your relationship with Copacino + Fujikado being among the best collaborative commercial experiences you’ve had. How does that show up in the work?
ZIA: As with any relationship – trust and mutual reciprocity were key to how we all showed up. Knowing your perspective holds actual value to the folks you are working with – and vice versa – makes the process so much easier and more enjoyable. “at organically shows up in the work. It’s foundational that process reflect product. I’m loath to make something that “looks good” or has a “great story” if the process was somehow combative or needlessly frictional, etc. We all seemed to have a shared sense of that; coupled with the collective intention of crafting a piece that was consequential – as a 30-second spot can be – to such a critically important conversation around the destigmatization of mental health and encouraging.
DOC MARTENS “ALTERNATIVE UNDERGROUND”
Exploring New York City’s alternative underground scene. Commissioned by Doc Martens, Fredgy uncovers the rich communities that exist for those feeling like they don’t belong.
IN CONVERSATION: FREDGY NOËL
Fredgy Noël is an award-winning director and screenwriter based in Manhattan. She grew up in Haiti and Miami learning English from 80s music videos and started working on video treatments at the age of 9. Fredgy is a creative director, writer, producer, and editor of multi-platform campaigns, digital series, television promos, integrated marketing spots and PSAs.
SOCIETY: What was the concept that Doc Martins came to you with? Was the casting done already or did you find the people featured?
FREDGY: Doc Martens commissioned me to do the film. “ey were looking for 3 NYC filmmakers to feature and I was selected. When they asked what music community I wanted to film, I knew this group was it. I’m friends with Rahel and Joey LaBeija and have been a fan of NYC underground music and culture my entire life. Rahel and Joey asked their friends to be a part of it.
SOCIETY: Did you have any personal history / affinity for the Dr. Martins brand?
FREDGY: I’ve loved Dr. Martens since Angela wore them in My So Called Life
SOCIETY: What about the New York underground scenes? What were your impressions before / after making the films?
FREDGY: I love the community and the uniqueness within that community. “The music is more of a vibe and less of a genre. And I love how free everyone is. I loved working with everyone. Kimberly’s thoughts were so insightful. Khalifa’s historical perspective added so much to the legacy of the underground artist who came before them.