Interview with Director Jonas Akerlund at SXSW 2012
Eren Gulfidan interviews director Jonas Akerlund about his film SMALL APARTMENTS and his career as a commercial and music video director. Born in Sweden, Akerlund has been working as an established director in the entertainment industry. He has directed music videos for the likes of Madonna, U2, Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, Metallica, Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Robbie Williams, Christina Aguilera, Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz and Maroon 5 to name a few. His music video work has earned him several Grammy Awards, MTV Awards (including Best Director) and the prestigious MVPA Hall of Fame Award. As recently as late 2009 he won a coveted MVPA for the music video for Lady Gaga's “Paparazzi”. Jonas has also directed the award winning video "Telephone" for Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé.
As for commercials, Akerlund created spots for the likes of Dior, Hugo Boss, Sony, JC Penney, Avon, Dell, Volkswagen, Virgin, Coca Cola, Smirnoff, Ikea, Panasonic and Adidas, amongst others. In 2008 he directed the inaugural William Rast commercials, featuring Justin Timberlake. His series of colorful commercials for Swiftcover, featuring Iggy Pop, created a big stir in 2009 and continued to do so into 2010. His commercial work has earned Addy, Cannes Gold Lion and Cannes Grand Prix awards.
His art projects include creating and directing a circus in Stockholm during the Stockholm Cultural Year of 1998. Jonas has had exhibitions in Frankfurt and Seoul and in 2006 the exhibition: “A Jonas Åkerlund Experience” was shown in Stockholm. In 2009 alone Jonas directed “Place” - Featuring Mihkail Barysnikov and Ana Laguna for television, made an introduction film “Abba World” dedicated to the famous Swedish pop group Abba that is now showcased in their Abba World Tour, and ended the year collaborating with well known artist Francesco Vezzoli by directing “Moca”, a film about the musical held at the Los Angeles Moca museum's 30th anniversary - Featuring Lady Gaga and the Ballet Russo.
His first feature film, “Spun”, starring Jason Schwartzmann, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari and Mickey Rourke premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Jonas' third film, “Horsemen”, starring Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi was financed by Mandate Pictures and produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes. Horsemen premiered in 2009. As previously mentioned, Jonas is now in postproduction for his most recent film "Small Apartments".
Akerlund is the founder of the leading production company in Sweden, Renck Åkerlund Films. In the UK he is represented by Ridley and Tony Scott's RSA/Black Dog Films for his commercial and music video work and Soixante Quinze in France as well as Anonymous/Serial Pictures in the US. He is represented by ICM and Management 360 for feature films. Jonas lives in Stockholm and Los Angeles.
More on http://www.jonasakerlund.com.
Produced by Francesco Rulli.