Living between the US and Poland offers him much needed distance and a new perspective, breathing fresh air into projects in his care. He loves ordinary, everyday themes, which he believes the industry tends to overlook. Meet Jakub Blank, another Papaya Films-represented filmmaker.
His adventure with filmmaking began when he was still a kid, back when he decided to use the money he saved up to buy a small Sony camcorder rather than a video game console. From then on, he rarely parted with it and constantly filmed something: himself, his trips, events and incidents he came across. Early on, like many young artists, he shot films with his friends, on a shoestring budget and without a crew to speak of. “I think there’s something beautiful about shooting films ‘the wrong way’, without a sizable crew to support you. That quickly highlights the limits you have to deal with, which, in turn, force you to be more creative with what you see around you,” Jakub says.
An interdisciplinary artist, Blank often smuggles his artistic visions into his filmmaking efforts. Capable of portraying them in unorthodox ways and charming the viewers with beautiful, delightful visions, Blank also has a knack for finding fresh and unobvious faces and narratives. He considers casting essential to every film he’s directed. His efforts have already brought him a number of awards and honors, including a nomination for the New Director of the Year award at the 2019 Shots Award. He’s also worked with leading international brands, such as McDonald’s, Škoda, and Toyota.
Blank likes to say that his style is situated somewhere between order and chaos, between the synthetic and the organic. He also likes the everyday and the quotidian shift and murate into something unique and delightful. His somewhat abstract and surrealist style best manifests itself in the music world, particularly music videos for artists such as Taco Hemingway, Flirtini, Otsochodzi, SZA, Mikky Ekko, Kaskade, and Charlotte Lawrence. As Jakub sees music videos are a prime form of publicity for the artist, he believes a relationship between the performer and the director based on mutual trust is absolutely essential to their success.
What Jakub appreciates most about advertising productions is the collaborative relationship between agency and director. “I enjoy the exchange of ideas and thoughts, I like to see many minds working toward a single goal,” he adds.
When working on set, he finds proper prep work ahead of production absolutely key, as it allows him to set up space for experimentation during filming. “I need a time and place to test my ideas, to go with the flow and identify specific moments in production that I never planned for, particularly when I’m working on music videos. I find that I need to have a space on set, where I can make creative mistakes, as they often end up producing beautiful results.”
Who inspires Blank? “There are a handful of artists I admire and deeply respect: David Lynch, Andy Goldsworthy, Cy Twombly, and Constantin Brâncuși. These four have helped me trust myself, trust in my ideas, and disregard what people think about the things I do and create,” the director says.
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