Maceo Frost: "What If"
By Brett McKenzie on Sep 21, 2018
Swedish director and Young Guns 15 winner shoots inspiring new IKEA spot
World famous furniture giant IKEA has been known for years for fantastic, award-winning advertising, but they generally lean towards the quirky and light. But what if IKEA wanted to go bold and aspirational? What if they talked more about sustainability and inclusivity than POÄNGs and KLIPPANs? What if?
Forsman & Bodenfors was tasked with creating an IKEA commercial with more epic of a scope, and when they needed a filmmaker who could tap into that vision, they selected the 28-year-old Swedish director and our very own Young Guns 15 winner Maceo Frost.
"Forsman & Bodenfors contacted me and asked me to pitch something magical and fun to go along with the voice-over they had written," Maceo explains. "I was lucky enough to win the pitch after many sleepless nights."
This particular IKEA spot was new territory for Maceo, which really intrigued him. "I was especially excited to work on this spot, as it allowed me to push my limits and try something i’d never done before," he says. "I also got to work with a number of people who I've really looked up to, such as the director of photography Erik Henriksson and the producer Joi Persson. I honestly couldn't have done this without them pushing me and inspiring me to take it this far."
The 2:22 spot has a wide variety of elements, and not everything was laid out before the cameras began rolling. "I'd say that 90% of the shoot was planned, but most of the concept was written out in text form, with very few reference images, which allowed us to free our minds from other people's ideas," Maceo explains. "My favorite shot, the one of the man letting go of the balloon, was improvised at the spot."
Maceo also leaned on his crew to keep things interesting throughout the shoot. "Erik has this great principle of always shoot something weird every single day," he recalls. "For instance, the scene with the young couple dancing under white bed sheets in the night. It was only for a split second, but it's there in the edit, transitioning to the lightbulb's shadow on the wall. It's things like this that only can happen when you're hands on and doing the work live."
" It's things like this that only can happen when you're hands on and doing the work live."
Seeing that so many aspects of this particular shoot were new to Maceo, there were a few obstacles that he had to overcome. "For me, the biggest challenge was the pre-production planning, trying to squeeze all of these scenes into a hectic 3 1/2 days of shooting," he recalls. "However, the production was so on point and the shooting went so super smooth that Ikea said it was one of their best production experiences ever."
"I was also super nervous carrying the analog film rolls through airport security," he jokes. "I was so afraid that something would happen that I couldn't sleep at night!"
Challenges notwithstanding, Maceo is quite pleased with how the entire project turned out. "Now that it’s finished, I really love the playfulness of the final product and the joy that it seems to bring people," he says. "I’ve received an overwhelming amount of comments from people saying they've been inspired by it, which means a lot to me. This was also the first time that I got to shoot with 35mm and anamorphic lenses, and I was really excited about how that ended up."
So with the IKEA spot out of the way, what’s next in the life of Maceo Frost? "I’m regenerating myself deep in the Swedish forest, surfing the Baltic coastline," he shares. "I'm perfecting the scripts for my new passion projects, and getting ready to throw my comfort zone out the window again!
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