Stripping it down with Ivan Cash
By Alixandra Rutnik on Mar 10, 2023
YG10 Winner Ivan Cash films new brand short for Pair of Thieves
As you read this, you’re most likely wearing undies, but are they a Pair of Thieves? Young Guns 10 Winner and Director Ivan Cash made an experimental brand film called Feel Test. Everyone on camera was asked to strip down to full nudity and then slip on a Pair of Thieves, and describe how they felt wearing them. And one of the very brave participants was Ivan’s dad! Feel Test is very comedic and tastefully done.
We talked to Ivan to hear about all the saucy details about making Feel Test.
So how’d you get paired up with Pair Of Thieves for this brand film?
Pair of Thieves Co-Founder and ECD Alan Stuart has been a mentor and friend for 15 years when he was randomly assigned to oversee me as an intern. I love the brand, and their underwear is seriously the best. This was our first time working together!
How did you choose the New Yorkers you wanted to be in the film?
We posted a public casting call and received hundreds of submissions. We just wanted the cast to feel diverse and eclectic, which is why we have everyone from a 19-year-old to an 81-year-old (Fun Fact: the 81-year-old is my dad!).
Was it super awkward to film people strip down and shimmy into some fresh undies?
Interviewing people getting naked wasn’t awkward as much as it was really intense... Like, because they were baring all, I felt the need to match their presence and level of engagement, energetically. So they felt met and held, so to speak. So it was exhausting for me because I really wanted to make sure they felt safe and good. We worked with an incredible intimacy coordinator named Bahar Baharloo, who helped create a safe, fun, and professional vibe on set.
"Interviewing people getting naked wasn’t awkward as much as it was really intense... Like, because they were baring all, I felt the need to match their presence and level of engagement, energetically."
Your work is always about capturing the human spirit! In what ways was creating this brand film for Pair of Thieves different from your other work?
This piece was different because it involved full nudity. I’ve photographed friends naked before, but not ever strangers on camera. I would say undressing in general is awkward for everyone and doing it on camera is next level. The cast were all super committed though and brought their A-game. I hope I’d do as well if I were in their shoes. Perhaps the most surprsing thing from the whole shoot is that I didn't actually SEE anyone's naked parts. I kept looking at their faces the entire time.
I have to know, based on the elaborate responses in the film, did you really only ask the people how they felt in the undies? I feel like there’s more to the story…
We did not feed anyone a line, but we *may* have come up with some creative ways of asking them how the underwear felt…
"We did not feed anyone a line, but we *may* have come up with some creative ways of asking them how the underwear felt…"
It’s been a decade since you won your YG Cube. Reflecting on the past ten years, what have been some highs and lows of your career and your personal life?
Asking me to encapsulate the past ten years in terms of highs and lows is impossible. I've been heartbroken and madly in love. I’ve given talks in front of thousands of audience members and been paid handsomely to direct TV commercials, and I’ve had long stretches of time when work slows down. The key is learning to ride the wave. I’m still learning...
What is your best advice to give to aspiring filmmakers?
What inspires you the most? What makes you come alive? What keeps you up at night? Follow that. In terms of getting noticed, I think trying new techniques and breaking the mold always helps. But I also think being a kind person and working really hard goes a long way.
"What inspires you the most? What makes you come alive? What keeps you up at night? Follow that."
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