CRAFT: PORTFOLIO; Ivan Zacharias

It’s difficult to track down the globe-trotting Ivan Zacharias. When I finally do, he’s in his home town of Prague, ‘doing some homework - I have to deliver it to school before I go to Milan this afternoon’. He means film school, of course. The 24-year-old Zacharias is in his final year (of five) at FAMU, the prestigious academy in the capital of the Czech Republic, and is determined to finish what he started, even though his precocious talents are already in constant demand by ad agencies all over Europe.

It’s difficult to track down the globe-trotting Ivan Zacharias. When I

finally do, he’s in his home town of Prague, ‘doing some homework - I

have to deliver it to school before I go to Milan this afternoon’. He

means film school, of course. The 24-year-old Zacharias is in his final

year (of five) at FAMU, the prestigious academy in the capital of the

Czech Republic, and is determined to finish what he started, even though

his precocious talents are already in constant demand by ad agencies all

over Europe.



It’s easy to see why. His ever-expanding showreel is jam-packed with

haunting, lyrical images, and his discerning use of angles, lighting and

slow-motion panning shots reveal seemingly familiar objects in fresh,

unexpected ways.



His handling of music is also distinctive - either cut in time to the

movement of the film or cleverly counterpointing it. ‘Music is one half

of the film,’ he says. ‘Commercials are so short, but they have to touch

you in some way. Sometimes the pictures get lost if the music isn’t

right.’



Highlights to date include spots for the local Czech brew, Pilsner

Urquell, as well as Mazda, Schwarzkopf, Polaroid and Johnnie Walker Red

Label. His most recent UK effort is a Whiskas commercial for M&C

Saatchi.



As he trained primarily as a documentary film-maker, does he feel

limited by the 30-second format? ‘A little,’ he admits, ‘but it is very

good experience for me. I select the scripts that interest me, that I

feel I can really get involved with. I still have a lot to learn,

particularly about computers and special effects. I want to work with

good English agencies and creatives who are prepared to fight for

results.’



In the UK, Zacharias is represented by Blink Productions and his

producer, James Studholme, is protective of his young charge. ‘I want to

make sure he’s used with integrity,’ Studholme says. ‘I don’t want him

to become a turd polisher.’



This year alone, Zacharias has shot commercials in Hong Kong, the US and

Ireland. ‘I counted the stamps in my passport the other day,’ he says.

‘I’ve been over to England 25 times this year.’



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