World: My Portfolio - Carl Erik Rinsch

Carl Erik Rinsch went into directing straight from Brown University in the US on the personal recommendation of Ridley Scott. And although he'd never met the young director, Scott was so impressed with Rinsch's reel - a series of ads apparently for Tampax, Pepsi and Calvin Klein - that he was quickly signed to the RSA roster. The films turned out to be hoaxes - made on a budget of $6,000 and invented for a thesis that aimed to prove that commercials can be art. Rinsch had shown promise behind a camera well before this. At college, he worked as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone, shooting the likes of Sheryl Crow, The Violent Femmes and Chrissie Hynde.

Signing to RSA in 2000 aged 22, he immediately began to do real work that put him in the spotlight, beginning with "reflections" for Lynx.

In 2002, he was named Best New Director by D&AD/Campaign Screen and featured in Saatchi & Saatchi's New Directors Showcase at Cannes.

Rinsch now does most of his work in Europe. "I guess my sensibilities are not American," he says. His most recent Seat spot, "follow your path", for Bates Groupo del Vico in Spain, was filmed in Barcelona. "With a big location job, it's impossible to storyboard it. With 'follow your path', I said: 'Show me the city, show me where different people work.'"

Both "follow your path" and "store", his film for Sony's Handicam, have a surreal quality. The commercial also has an element of symmetry, something that he believes can draw even the most casual viewer into the ad. "Symmetry allows you to be bold, simple and true," he says.

Saatchi & Saatchi London was behind both "store" and Rinsch's Lexus ad, "Rome". Made with the cinematographer John Mathieson, (who shot Scott's Gladiator), the ad shows a car being driven through eerily empty Roman streets, contrasted with a noisy town square packed with pedestrians.

"We closed down the city," Rinsch says, with very little understatement. "The effects shots were not so much taking people out, but putting them in."

When he's filming people, Rinsch finds inspiration from his work as a photojournalist. "It helps me in filming little quirks that make the person," he says. His "ESP" campaign for ESPN magazine via Wieden & Kennedy, New York is about American football celebrities. "Before we shot, we'd ask them about what they had in their home and how they relaxed." If that meant taking off their shirt or appearing with a favourite Doberman, then so be it.

- Carl Erik Rinsch was talking to Pippa Considine.

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