Six Things About… Jonas Åkerlund

In the first of this week’s YDA Week interviews we find out six things about Jonas Åkerlund, the director behind a raft of award-winning music videos and commercials, as well as features, TV shows and documentaries. 

Today sees the beginning of YDA Week and, following on from last year, we’ll be talking to a series of directors, producers and creative professionals to find out some of their own inspirations, examine some of their achievements and elicit some expert advice for the next generation.

From the movies that lit the spark for their cinematic journeys, to the commercials or TV shows that they admire most and the people who have inspired them along the way, each interview asks six questions that drill down into their passions and inspirations. 

Over the course of this week we’ll be speaking to two recent Oscar winners in All Quiet on the Western Front director Edward Berger and The Elephant Whisperers producer Guneet Monga, as well as multi-Bafta-winning actor, writer, producer and director Sharon Horgan. We will also have insight from Ed Ulbrich, VFX consultant and former CEO of Digital Domain, who will be talking to us about the hottest of hot topics, artificial intelligence.

Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up (1997)

This year’s first guest is RSA Films’ Jonas Åkerlund, the director behind music videos for artists including – but certainly not limited to – Madonna, Metallica, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and, of course, the iconic and controversial Smack My Bitch Up for The Prodigy. 

He’s also helmed commercials for some of the biggest brands on the planet and has successfully crossed over to features with films including Spun and Lords of Chaos, and the Mads Mikkelsen-starring Netflix film Polar. He has also worked on television series, most recently on Clark, starringBill Skarsgård. 

Clark – Netflix (2022)

Over the 30-minute interview Åkerlund discusses moving from editing to directing, why he thought Smack My Bitch Up was comedic not controversial, and why longevity is a bonus. 

Interview by Danny Edwards shots

Stay tuned for more from YDA week all this week
View the 2023 YDA Shortlist

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