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Director Wouter Stoter Snapped Up by Snapper Films



Get to know the Amsterdam-born director

Director Wouter Stoter Snapped Up by Snapper Films

Snapper Films has announced the signing of director Wouter Stoter to its roster. 

Wouter has forged his career making visually striking ads, music videos and films. His reel includes the likes of Peugeot, ING, IKEA, FNV, Nuon and artist De Staat. 

Snapper Films caught up with Wouter to find out more about his artistic background, where he draws his inspiration and working with artist De Staat on the striking music video 'Kitty Kitty'. 

Q> What inspired you to be a director? Has this always been a childhood dream? 

Wouter> MTV had a big influence on me as it was a portal to another world, but imagining yourself as a director or artist was not part of the area where I grew up. That came when I went to study in Amsterdam and was playing in bands. I finally found the guts to apply at the art academy. My dream was to make music videos for my own band, but when rock stardom obviously didn’t happen, I started to do videos for friends who did have contracts. I loved doing that more than anything, and when I finally started to make money with it, I was a director.

Q> What other mediums do you draw inspiration from? (e.g. paintings, photographers, writers, etc.)

Wouter> Many. I absolutely love photography and photography books. I have a small library at home, which is very precious to me. Most books are like films to me, they tell a profound story without dialogue. Books like Tulsa of Larry Clark or Hustlers from Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and books from Nan Goldin or Ed van der Elksen. You see a different world through a personal point of view. And I’m always inspired by art exhibitions. I recently saw an overview of Bruce Nauman’s work in New York and I was totally inspired by some of his thoughts and how he looks at himself in relation to his surroundings. Bill Viola always inspires me, how he combines technique and emotion. Doug Aitken, David Lynch and Matthew Barney too. I love painters like Caspar Friedrich and of course Dutch portrait painters. I like to read on life philosophy. I like novels, but somehow rarely finish then. Therefore I’m a big fan of Raymond Carver - his short insights into human lives make me always feel more human and emphatic. And I haven’t mentioned music, which is my natural backbone. 

The thing is, there is so much great and inspiring work all around us. 

Q> You come from an artistic background; you trained as a graphic designer and also studied political science. How important is creativity to you?

Wouter> For me creativity is the most important thing in life and I’m not exaggerating. I believe that there can be many things missing in your life, but if you are creative (or open to it) you will find ways to handle them and have fun doing so. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I believe that if you add constant creativity to your work, Jack will never be dull. Happy even.

Q> You live on an island east of Amsterdam where you built a house. This sounds pretty awesome. How do you think the advertising differs in the Netherlands from the UK? 

Wouter> Building a house for me is like making a film. You have all these awesome ideas and then you must get practical, you’ll need money, there are building codes, environment rules, a maximum size and budget restrictions. So you have to get really creative and work with these boundaries. But most importantly you’re going to live there yourselves so it must feel like your house, it must have personality, your signature. We ended up making one main choice and carefully applied that to the whole.

I haven’t worked in the UK yet so I can only judge it on the (selected) work I see. But I think UK advertising is very good in making that one choice. Dutch advertising is similar to the way we do politics or business, we have all these parties and opinions and then we compromise. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. It works for us economically, but it is truly fatal to creativity. No matter what kind of work, I think there should be a clear choice, left or right, blue or red, big or small. And then you can talk about execution. 

In the Netherlands, most of time, the director is trying to make the idea clear or better and the creatives talk about execution, cause the idea is already sold. Then they settle, keeping the peace, ending up in the agency giving the director that extra scene and the director ensuring the creatives it will look like that famous commercial. The result is a poor idea, beautifully executed. I am guilty; I have been there, trying to be the ‘nice cooperative chap’. 

So, we’re doing okay, the work looks good, but I think less and less agencies have the guts to show clients an idea, or better ideas in the process, that stand out from the rest. 

I always considered UK work to have more guts and going for glory. 

Q> Your music video 'Kitty Kitty' about Trump is a visually striking bit of film. You worked with the artist on this film didn’t you?

Wouter> Yes, and I do like to cooperate with artists, as they have creative-like minds. It can be really inspiring to hear their thoughts and ideas. There is more freedom in music videos, but ultimately you’re dealing with their music, their art. I take that very seriously, trying not to lose what I think or feel is the essence of a track and add my own take on this in the idea I present. 

Q> Would you say this piece of film is a true representation of the work you’d want to direct in the future? 

Wouter> I love that there is power in it and it has meaning, not just a cool idea. But foremost I love the feeling it gives as a whole. So yes, I would really want to direct things that have a good idea, that are executed and still convey emotion. These are three elements I’m very passionate about. And I love to collaborate, get inspired by doing so and make it the very best we can.

Q> And Snapper Films tell us how this collaboration came about?

Wouter> I already had contact with Debbie (Turner) before she joined Snapper. Kitty Kitty sped up things. Helen loved it and saw a resemblance in the work she wants to do with Snapper. And I was looking for a partner that liked my promos and wants to put creativity first. So we’re very much on the same page. Besides that, she is a very enthusiastic, warm and passionate person, who I also can relate to on a personal level. I’m new to the UK and surrounded by Helen, Debbie and Brock is just an energetic aura of experience and passion for quality work. Not to mention a lean and nice team. 

Q> What piece of advice would you now give your younger self?

Wouter> Start meditating.

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Snapper Films, Wed, 30 Jan 2019 14:56:52 GMT