American and European production companies have been looking east for some years now, wrestling with the creative challenges that come with working in dramatically different cultures. Fresh Film are definitely part of this trend. They’ve been plying their trade in Asia for longer than many. Originally from London, they opened an office in Bangkok in 2016 to commit even further to Asian markets and build their reputation in the region.
LBB’s Laura Swinton borrowed some time with owner and executive producer Kim Griffin to find out what she’s learnt about Asia’s production landscape over the years.
LBB> How long have you personally been working in Asia?
KG> I have been working within Asia for quite some time now. In fact it’s more than ten years.
LBB> Were you a production person before you moved to Asia or was it the other way round?
KG> I’ve always been in production and was working with clients in Asia from our office in the UK originally.
LBB> Where are you based and from a lifestyle point of view what's that like?
KG> I would say my home is the UK, but I now feel very global. Fresh Film now has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Prague and we shall soon open in the US. As far as it goes from a lifestyle point of view I’m permanently on planes attending meetings and shoots across the globe. At the moment my lifestyle is defined by my work. However, when schedules allow I love nothing more than spending time with my family.
LBB> What's been the key to growing the business in the APAC region?
KG> It’s clearly a very different culture and working environment. So, I have spent a lot of time getting acquainted with and understanding the market.
LBB> It's a bit of a cliché, but beauty seems to be really strong in APAC as a production company - what's the key to building the right roster for the region?
KG> I would have to say again that it has a lot to do with understanding the local market. It’s not just about being aware of ‘classic beauty’, as beauty is defined differently in each region and country in Asia. Performance, skin, make-up and hair movement are presented very differently depending on which territory you’re shooting for in Asia. So, our roster has to reflect this. We’re always discovering new and exciting talent and this shall always be a focus for Fresh Film.
LBB> What are your ambitions for Fresh Films in Asia Pacific?
KG> We have so many ambitions for Asia. I would love to see us become a truly 360 platform. For us to be known for this and not only for our TVCs, but also for our digital content and stills would be great. It’s incredibly important for our clients to have continuity for their product on all platforms. So, it’s in this area that our ambitions are being developed.
LBB> APAC is a massive, nuanced region - how do you approach the more nuanced markets within it?
KG> You really have to spend time in the region in order to discover the varied nuances of the markets. You cannot do this from afar, so our approach has always been to immerse ourselves within.
LBB> How is production from the APAC region changing?
KG> I’m not sure it has. In the past many have viewed the region as being less creative and not as interesting as places like Europe and the USA. However, in reality it’s exactly the same today and now even more so as budgets are on par.
LBB> What recent Fresh Films projects have you been particularly proud of and why?
KG> I’m really proud of our work for all our clients. However, if pushed I’d have to say that our film for Maybelline stands out as it presented so many challenges. Making Asia look like NY was quite an achievement.
I take pride in all of our productions as each one came with their own unique challenges, big or small. One thing’s for sure though, the Fresh Film team and I always like to think we come away having done our absolute best.