The Making of Grand Commercials with Filippos Tsapekis

Director FIlipposTsapekis

Filippos Tsapekis has never understood creative blockage. This Greek native worked as a Creative Director on more than sixty commercials throughout Europe before making the leap into filmmaking as a director. His film 9 to 5 garnered thunderous praise from the industry and his peers as well as thirty-five awards from such prestigious events as the New York Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, Asian Cinematography Awards, and numerous others. Even so, Tsapekis continues to embrace working in commercials for the expressive opportunities they present as well as parameters that differ vastly from film. Yes, his film work is available on Apple TV, Samsung TV plus, Roku channel, and other platforms but the commercials he has brought to fruition are seen on even more screens around the planet. As a professional driven to manifest stories both grand and brief, Filippos continues to provide a grand scale vision for the curt productions that fall within the definition of “commercials” but also exceed that limited moniker. 

  The worldwide acclaim of 9 to 5 brought many production companies to seek out Tsapekis to direct. He was particularly keen on the diversity of commercials which were offered to him. One of the first of these was “Guru”, a half minute advertisement which the director infused with the emotion and grand feel of a feature film. “Guru” is an advertisement for a snack made of fruit and nuts but the tale being told is that of all humanity, ranging from envy to the elevation of the spirit itself. Featuring levitating monks and visual captivating shots of product ingredients, “Guru” balances story and marketing intent in a captivatingly covert manner. Airing in forty countries around the world, this commercial’s international distribution surpasses that of many films; a nod to the notion that the oversight of a preeminent director like Tsapekis more than compensates the companies who utilize his talents

   While the “Thunder” spot which Filippos directed for Molto Croissant had an obviously comfortable budget, it’s how vastly it differs in tone from the aforementioned “Guru” that makes it even more striking. Designed to capture the attention of a young audience, “Thunder” expresses dynamism and an unwillingness to compromise in every action and frame. The literal polar opposite of “Guru”, the pacing and tone of “Thunder” is likely not what would first come to mind when thinking of chocolate and croissant but that’s precisely why it works so well. The attractive couple who are connected without touching, accompanied by city scape pursuits and speeding motorcycles is the kind of unobvious story that sticks in the minds of viewers. With a soundtrack provided by the Imagine Dragon song of the same name, “Thunder” possesses a large story in a scant half-minute. Tsapekis states, “The challenge with commercials is finding a way to communicate a specific message to a specific audience in 30 seconds. Each project is fascinating to me every time.” He adds, “My strength as a Commercial director is my background as a copywriter/creative director and then my passion for commercials. I learned how to write an idea and sell it to a client. As a commercial director, I learn how this idea is coming into life creatively and uniquely. It’s essential to have something to say as a film/commercial director. Every scene, every shot, every moment is critical, especially if you have only 30 seconds to deliver your message to your audience. As a director, I can see the commercial in my mind before shooting begins and I know how to achieve this vision.

    Greece played a seminal role in the art of storytelling that has evolved into modern day iterations like cinema and television. As a native son of this country, Filippos embraces the international community which benefits from present day production in these industries. Filming in Greece, the United States, Serbia, and numerous other countries, Tsapekis notes that a great production team allows him to manifest fantastic work anywhere. The director informs, “I don’t have specific goals for my career, I have the passion and I am ready to work as much as possible for every project. If you have the energy and passion of what you are doing, it is impossible not to have a successful career. As a director, you always have a new situation and a new goal because every project is different, and every one has another objective.”


Writer: Coleman Haan

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