World: My Portfolio - Johan Tappert

"Realism perfectly matched with the absurd is what I strive for in my work," Johan Tappert says. The director chooses to work with actors in a relaxed, non-prescribed way, and lets the action evolve rather than planning every detail. A typical example is his recent ad with no dialogue for the Dutch lotto; it breaks into the Hallelujah chorus when a lotto winner donates a stack of cash to the church collection plate.

Tappert, like Traktor, graduated from RM1 Berghs Filmschool in Stockholm but his approach to his work is quite different.

Heinz "Salad Cream" reveals his love of the absurd and his ability to bring out the best from his cast. It features a Frenchman venturing across the Channel to the UK to go shopping. "I love the Heinz spot because it reminds me of a short film and the French voiceover creates a bizarre mood. The action was shot using a ferry standing in the harbour and it was made to look like it was moving afterwards," he explains.

Take a Break's "granny" was one of Tappert's most controversial spots.

The ad featured a fragile elderly woman waiting for her meals on wheels while the delivery woman is engrossed in her magazine. "People lambasted the commercial for making fun of old people, but they just didn't get the warm humour," he says.

Holiday Inn "pastry" also uses humour. "It worked because we got the casting right," he explains. It features an executive helping himself to a plate of pastries at a business breakfast, when he thinks nobody is looking. "The poor actor had to clean his stomach with vodka after 30 takes of stuffing down pastries."

Tappert's laid-back attitude can often mean that he uses material that wasn't originally in the script.

For "balance" for Camelina, a Swedish butter brand, he filmed a different ad from the one originally scripted. The ad ended up incorporating police cars and a live hold-up that was never meant to be part of the script.

"But it worked well and that's what matters," he reflects.

- Johan Tappert was talking to Rachel Nouchi.

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