Anita Fontaine is described as a speculative future artist, creative director and director. Her creative world merges technical innovation, design, film, gaming and fashion with a ‘punk sensibility.’ Combining VFX and live-action is somewhat of a speciality for Anita, which she does with her own flair. As an active international speaker, Anita has spoken at Semi Permanent, SXSW, OFFF, Nicer Tuesdays and FrameLab. Google, Louis Vuitton and The Tate Modern are just a few among the clients she has collaborated with through her future labs, VR experiences, immersive installations and films.
Anita’s technical approach is continuously evolving and changing with the creative landscape – now, focused on ‘untangling the collective hivemind,’ she is concerned with exploring eco-anxiety further through her work. Creativity, innovation and futurism come together to make her style of work unique, and help her influence the tides of the creative environment.
Name: Anita Fontaine
Location: New Zealand/ Worldwide
Repped by/in: Good Oil Films
LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?
Anita> A script that allows me to play in the VFX meets live-action space, creating new kinds of stories, fantasies and aesthetics. And anything that’s conscious in tone, trying to add something meaningful or disruptive into the world.
LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?
Anita> I start by cancelling all my appointments! It’s important to visualise the idea and sell myself on it before I move on to writing and epic media foraging. I lean heavily on my Good Oil mega team. I always try to create style frames which can be helpful when you’re trying to push a new mood.
LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with, how important is it to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad?
Anita> Having worked as a CD at agencies like W+K it’s inescapable that I think like an ad nerd. I want all the intel and dig deep if I don’t know. I especially want to understand if the soul of the company is a compassionate one.
LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?
Anita> The talent and the director of photography, because they are such an intimate extension of my vision.
LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?
Anita> I love speculative fiction or stories set in the future or an alternate fantasy reality, but told from a feminist perspective.
LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?
Anita> Some people know me as a creative director working in the new realities space and don’t know I am a director.
LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?
LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?
Anita> How to make enough slime to fill an entire room - this was for Benee’s music video ‘Snail’ - or whether we were better off doing this in post. In the end, we went real and it was wild.
LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?
Anita> I always like to start out as collaborative as possible but always fight for what I believe in on the journey - you have to pick your battles!
LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?
Anita> I love this and am very happy to be mentoring new talent. I’m yet to do this on set but I have helped some emerging directors with their treatments.
LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time?
Anita> The ability to work from anywhere has been beneficial but also great from a sustainable production perspective. I got some experience with directing remotely which I think I’d like to maintain as the remote technology continues to evolve.
LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)?
Anita> Insta crops are always the big ones that can get complicated when doing intensive VFX, but now it’s just expected so you have to pre-plan everything and be able to pre-viz additional formats live on set.
LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work (e.g. virtual production, interactive storytelling, AI/data-driven visuals etc)?
Anita> I am comfortable and inspired by this space! I have a background running future labs, creating projects with new technologies like VR/ MR/ interactive storytelling so this latest crossover into the Metaverse is my happy place. I’ve generated content in real-time 3D game engines and I’m hoping to use a virtual production stage for my next gig.
LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?
Anita> My best work showcases the live-action meets VFX/ 3d animation space, where reality nudges into fantasy.