- Friday, Oct. 27, 2000
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Director Michael Massanyi has signed with New York-based Taxi Films for U.S. representation. The Stockholm-based Massanyi is repped in Scandinavia by BMP, Stockholm.
Massanyis spot credits include online auctioneer Ibazar. ses "Car" and "Sushi," both out of Observera Grey (now Grey Momentum), Stockholm, and Netviqs "The Monster" via now defunct Olssons. His spots are full of observations about daily life and have a deadpan humor: The Ibazar.se ads feature a group of companions whose dour normalcy is interrupted only by the blonde matron who keeps on buying sushi knives and cowboy outfits from Ibazar. se. And in "The Monster," we are treated to scenes of campy domestic harmony, in which a loving wife talks about the wonder of buying insurance through the Web-based insurer. The only jarring note is her husband, who is an alien.
Massanyi studied painting and sculpture at the Grundis School of Fine Arts, Stockholm, and in 1992 he received a diploma in art direction from Stockholms RMI-Berghes School of Communication. After graduation, Massanyi joined Stockholm ad agency Sandler & Mergel as an art director, leaving after six months to work on an independent film in Los Angeles.
That film was not produced, and by 93 Massanyi was back in Sweden, studying commercial filmmaking at RMI-Berghes. He completed the course in 94, and in95 Massanyi and producer Jesper Boecker set up production house BMP. BMP currently represents Peter Lindmark, Ulrika Heineroe and Lars Ljungbertz in addition to Massanyi.
Several months ago, Taxi Films was recommended to Massanyi by several colleagues, including Canadian director Alexandra Dellevoet, who had lived in Stockholm and knew him there. Massanyi sent Taxi his reel, and kept in touch with Arnold Kaplan and Richard Goldberg, Taxis executive producers.
In early September, Massanyi went to Las Vegas to direct a music video ("Fame" for singer Nana DAquini). "On the way back," Massanyi recalled, "I stopped in New York and met with the Taxi people." He signed with the company earlier this month.
According to Massanyi, his interest in comedy can be traced to Swedens climate: "Its probably because we have eight months of winter here. So we have to be very humorous in order to withstand that. Its dark, its cold and its snowing for eight months. Whats the alternative? Depression."
Furthermore, with television commercials a relatively new development in Sweden (spots have only been shown on TV there over the last 10 or 12 years), "its very hard to make people buy into commercials," observed Massanyi. "Everybody knows were trying to sell something. So its got to be entertaining and funny. We have to give something back to the audience in order to get their time, to get their willingness to watch the commercial."
Massanyi explained his approach: "I try to make situations funny in a subtle way. I start with the characters, try to make the characters believable but with something extra-something that will work with the idea. I try to make it something that the audience can identify with. You can always laugh at something you understand and relate to."
Taxi is just starting to promote Massanyi here in the U.S. Meanwhile, the director is currently in pre-production on Dej Vu, a 30-minute film partially funded by the Swedish Film Institute.
Taxi Films other directors are George DAmato, Patrice Dinhut, Ian Gabriel, Miles Goodall and Barry Kinsman.
Goldberg, who is also director of sales and marketing, and Elan Kaplan Barish, associate director of sales and marketing-both based in New York-serve as Taxi Films national reps.