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The Directors: BRBR

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Film collective BRBR sit down to discuss the joys of solid storytelling with an aesthetic approach

The Directors: BRBR

BRBR is a film collective from Madrid, Spain, made up of directors Luis and Nacho and DOP Michel Babinec and friends. They recently released a film for Restos du Coeur and Heroes of Today II, a touching story of the struggles the LGBT community has dealt with for decades relating the story of footballer Julio Zúñiga with the tragic stonewall riots, and the follow-up to the award winning Heroes of Today. They are joined together by the ambition of exploring new limits and possibilities on how to produce and create contemporary visual culture. 


Name: BRBR

Location: London + Madrid

Repped by/in: BIRTH (UK, France), GARLIC (Spain), SENTIMENTAL (Brasil), POSTER (ArgenDna), Nicholas Berglund (International)

Awards: Cannes Lions (1 Gold, 3 Silver, 10 shortlist), Saatchi&Saatchi New Creators Showcase, Berlin Commercial (5 gold), Ciclope (1 Silver), Young Directors Award (shortlist), Shots awards (bronze, shortlist), LIAA (2 Silver), El Ojo de iberoamerica (Grand Prix, 9 Gold – including best LaDn American director–, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze), CdeC (Caracol de plata, 1 Gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), El Sol (1 Gold, 3 Bronze)


Q> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

BRBR> We love a combination of solid storytelling and an aesthetic approach, a film is nothing but a good story set in its own universe. We can’t resist creativity with a powerful message, a story that must be told, and the opportunity to create a thrilling film that merges emotion and rationality. We believe in film as a powerful tool to create new visions and sensations of the world around us.


Q> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

BRBR> We start out by thinking over the script and the context – the agency, the client’s expectations.. Then we develop our vision and give our input towards the story’s narration, images and ideas that weren’t on the table when they first reached out. We get excited about any project that gives us room to throw out new ideas of how to shoot and collaborate with the team on crafting the final result.  


Q> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

BRBR> We always do a research on the brand, even if we’re already familiar with it. We like to understand client needs and expectations, but we rely on agencies on how to handle it and we trust the work they put in on designing the whole campaign so we can focus solely on the specific film we’re creating together, trying to bring new ideas to a process already in motion. 


Q> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

BRBR> With a production company, for sure, and we have a terrific relationship with Birth, who represents us in the UK and France. We believe directors are nothing without teamwork, and production companies are an all-important link between the crew, the agency, and everyone involved in the very specific act of filmmaking. A good production design is key to film craft. 


Q> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

BRBR> We have an eclectic background of work, as we like to experiment with new techniques and can’t say no to a challenge. What brings us passion is a breathtaking story and the chance to dialogue with arts and cinema in the execution. We believe this can be achieved in every genre, but it’s true this kind of freedom isn’t everywhere. We like to create strong images that stay with the audience longer.  


Q> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

BRBR> Sometimes the fact of being too young might have caused us to be too cautious when bidding on bigger campaigns. We have less of your traditional experience, but our background in art and  cinema, plus the very-experienced crew we like to stick with have proved we can successfully face any challenge and turn it into an award-winning film. 


Q> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?

BRBR> Yes, and it’s always gone smoothly. 


Q> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

BRBR> A couple of years ago we did a project for a Spanish eyewear brand, Multiopticas. The film consisted of a single sequence shot where the camera had to do travel through more than 100 extras, with an 80 meter long trajectory. The technical aspects were key – we worked it out in advance, defining the pace, height, focal length, timing, everything. It was challenging but didn’t want any cuts and since the wide angle lens showed so much, we knew we couldn’t do any tricks, even with lighting! We got it all figured out to the minutest detail. Then we arrived on set, at a warehouse in Kiev. We couldn’t set up the way we had planned and it turned out the only way we could get the camera moving was to use a car inside the warehouse, to pull it. 


Not exactly the delicate, steady, precise movement we had in mind, not to mention, we were in a closed space with a lot of people! We had our doubts but in the end, we got the images we wanted and that’s the best reward. 


Q> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

BRBR> The agency knows the client better, and they bring creativity forward. They understand our work too, and that’s why it’s important to build a relationship based on creativity and open-minded team work, throwing egos out the door and getting the final craft we’re all looking for. 


Q> 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?

BRBR> Yes, we always fight for more inclusive representation in every aspect of production, both crew and talent. It’s been a challenge sometimes, and we’ve had bitter moments with clients on this, but it’s worth it. There’s a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity, and we can’t sit back. 

We believe the film industry is a big family where everyone supports each other, and we should try to build the society we’d like to live in. 


Q> 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?

BRBR> Video calls will definitely stay around. We were already living apart from one another. while still working every day as a collective, so that hasn’t been a big change for us.  


Q> 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)?

BRBR> We’ve always approached our work thinking about how important it is to bring reality to the screen and we design our films believing that if what’s in front of the camera is good, the shot will be good. In the last few years, we’ve done several projects involving big developments in AI technology, especially deep-fake and face replacement. We’ve integrated these new tools as exciting possibilities that can bring creativity to places where it wasn’t found before. But we still trust reality as the most powerful motor to move and impress.


Q> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why? 


BRBR> Madrid en David

Our first music video as a collective, made by friends sharing a vision and full of illusions - it’s a piece we can only love. Even after all this time, we can still go back and find traces of what we’ve since developed. 


Exil

Our first step onto the international scene. This premiered on Nowness  and was awarded Best music video of that year, so it was also an inflexion point in our career. It was part of a longer collaboration with the band and we still work together with their members on different projects, which we hope we’ll be able to continue forever. It was the perfect combo.


Heroes I - Jesse Owens

This was a very challenging project, but it was also our first opportunity to expand on our creativity in a spot. It’s also really exciting when we can put our efforts towards sharing a message that we believe in. This was also our first big success when it comes to  advertising and film awards.


Heroes II - Julio Zúñiga

The  most complicated  AI  film  we ‘ve  shot  so  far and, from the beginning, there were a lot of questions  on  how  to  make it  possible. The relationship of mutual  trust  we built  with  the agency  and creative  director, was   key  to  making  it possible, and  it’s  maybe  the  best example of  teamwork that we have experienced so far. Not just postproduction, the agency and the production teams, but the cast, the real people who were proud to be there. Once again, having the chance to fight a reality that must be changed, doing what we do better, that was amazing. 


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Birth UK, Tue, 05 Jan 2021 15:36:47 GMT