Although cinematic storytelling had been with him since his earliest creative efforts, his road to filmmaking was not exactly straightforward. His prior pursuits involved technology and new media, and later typography and graphic design, which he practiced as a designer with VMLY&R. In filmmaking, editing was his first love—it was editing that helped him learn to build rhythm and look for meaning behind every scene, every sound, and every element of the film.
In each film he directs, Alek seeks to blend a visual approach with an exploration of authenticity. “The story itself drives its visual interpretation. Picking the right color palette for a scene, the right style of camera work, looking for illustrative transitions, all of this is very important to me,” the director explains. On the other hand, his love of documentary forms translates into a preference for authentic, expressive characters, which can be essential already at the casting stage. As a director, he believes deeply in working hand in hand with acting talent and looking for the truth behind every story. In his own words, the blend of documentary and music video styles is slowly becoming more and more prevalent in the advertising industry. “I look for the intersection of these two aspects in every scene. I try to find them in every production I’m involved with, even the smallest ones,” he adds.
How does Alek Kropidłowski work? “Over the years, I found that three elements are key to my production prep work. Inspiration. Conversation. Naps,” he explains. “The latter help me make sense of the stimuli produced and brought in by the former. Honestly, most of my power naps end in some sort of breakthrough.”
Aleksander produced his first commercial projects back when he was still working at an advertising agency. Asked about his early experiences, he said: “My first pre-production meeting was stressful, but as soon as I stepped on set, I decided to follow my intuition. I don’t really get stressed in production, because the creative process becomes my temporary home away from home.”
Aleksander’s portfolio includes efforts for major brands such as Ballantines, Carrefour, Kazar, Noizz, Samsung, Delecta, Żywiec Zdrój, Maybelline, Krakuski, Red Bull, and Chivas. His music video oeuvre features a variety of diverse productions, including one that brought him a PL Music Video Award in 2019. Alek is also a finalist of the 2017 Papaya Young Directors competition, during which he produced a film for Polish e-commerce platform Allegro.
“Papaya Young Directors wasn’t exactly a teleport that took me to a whole different place after the competition. It was more of a beacon, lighting my way, helping me reach my goal and helping others see me,” he says.
The director also acknowledged that participating in the competition allowed him to meet new, inspiring people, to direct ever more interesting projects, and eventually join Papaya Films’ director roster.
Alek believes that the most difficult thing in advertising is the endless pursuit of brand narratives that will continue to engage and capture the attention of consumers. Asked about producing music videos, the director revealed that he relishes the moment when he gets new music to work on and gives it a first listen. “I love this stage, when I first listen to a track and ideas begin to pop up, evolving with each beat. Moreover, that’s an interesting way of looking at the whole thing, isn’t it, that you listen to music in order to see it,” he asserts.
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