Anastasia Kovalchuk: “Women in The Advertising Industry, What’s Going On??”
Anastasia Kovalchuk is a Kiev (or Kyiv) based Producer and Director, who bounces between the two with ease. She is the face of Impolite in the East of Europe and I really wanted to have some cool insights about her position as a woman in advertising/ films, e.g what is the secret sauce for her success and so on…
There is a huge discussion going on about the low number of female movie professionals. Let’s start with your opinion about it! Very political for the very first question!
Yes sure, it’s a little bit of a man’s world. But what I can say is that now it’s more about the human. You must be strong, in any case, to survive in this world which is full of sharks and wolves. You must be like a stone and it doesn’t matter if you wear a skirt or pants, in this field you have to be super strong and have a good sense of humor.
Every year, the number of females who are working in this area is growing and it’s a lot of directors, producers, managers and don’t even mention the arts department!
I think one of the best things about a woman is that they can be straight but also they can be very kind and sensitive. This is very, very important because you can see the problem from different perspectives and you can grow and nurture it like your child.
I feel like I’m a mother for some projects. You can imagine how painful it is when you need to cut something, for example when you shoot some amazing shot but it’s really not usable in the video and you need to put the best shot in the trash.
Thank God, I have a lot of projects that are like children — and not all of them we cut into pieces!
You are a world traveler Director. Can you tell me something more about your experience and your travels?
When you fly for the first time long-haul with just a one-way ticket, it will change your life. My first trip to Asia was unbelievable. After I had met a lot of people, a lot of different characters stirred my creativity and gave me some ideas. From this, I had a few projects in Bangkok and in China, Beijing.
It is not just 1000 km between countries, it is a totally different world. Working with international teams is an amazing experience; we grow in different societies and have different ways of thinking, so in the end you have some very cool and impressive projects.
When you go deep into the culture of a new country, speaking with the locals helps you to grow and think.
And those magic moments that you were thinking about but never thought possible can actually happen. For example, one time I was flying from Hamburg and the evening before I was speaking with my friend about the film market and where to find a good film producer and I remembered that I said the words ”it’s not possible to meet a producer on a plane“. The next day, I was sitting in the plane really near this super cool producer and during the trip I showed him my showreel and we started speaking about ideas. He gave me a lot of good comments.
It’s been a long time since we started working together and your personal touch on each production you’re on is impressive. What are the 5 most important skills for a producer?
Know the people you work with and respect each member of the team.
Take full personal responsibility. And infect this feeling into others. If everyone on the set is personally invested, this will only positively influence the project.
Be like a stone in difficult moments. Strong, without emotion, awesome.
And, well, without laughter and good mood there is no way it could work!
What is the most important thing on a set?
I think the most important thing when on set is to bring people together who each have the same outlook, opinions and feelings of this world. People who know what they do and why. People who forget about working overtime and keep going with their ideas.
Well, I have to say that for me it is definitely food! Everything rotates around food! Ahaha! I could tell you a million stories about it.
And I agree with you! Food is one of the top most important things! Good food surrounding these amazing people and making them happy.
Have you ever had any problems on set because you are a woman?
I remember just one rich, old and super selfish client who was saying like “how can a woman control something?!” But he was just the same as a lot of people.
But I can say that in work, the fact that I am female often helps me. I can be flexible and I can fix a lot of different types of problems.
You are based in Kiev. I will repeat forever that, for me, it’s one of the most important creative hubs in Europe. What makes Kiev so incredibly full of talent and why is the city attracting productions from all over the world?
I feel like we have a kind of open door to the world. It feels as though people start traveling, go around the world, learn some good stuff to bring back here and try to change some important things.
I feel that we have a hunger to become professionals and to be the best at what we do.
The film market is so far not concerned about this country, so we have a desire to prove to the world that we are worth a lot.
Is there a difference, in your opinion, between making a movie or producing advertising nowadays?
Sometimes the advertising process is very similar to that of producing a movie. The distribution platforms are changing the language alongside the tools that we use right now to produce a piece of content. What’s a movie? A 90 min film that you watch at the cinema? It’s not only that right now. The complexity of the media and the volatility of the message are making it possible to merge the classical idea of advertising and the movie industry.
Going back to the “Producer” topic. As a producer is it more painful to deal with the Agency, the Client or the Director? Why? :D
It becomes painful when all these people have different visions. So before the project starts, it’s very important to have the maximum amount of information and understanding about how it should look.
And it’s a pure joy when you meet the perfect client who hires you and you listen to him and you can both make a project better from your different perspectives.
Which brand would you like to produce for? Why?
I would love to work with Volvo, Nike and H&M. Just love their style and the quality of the projects that they decide to produce.
Salesy question: Impolite, what’s attractive for you?
Why is this cool for brands as well?
Possibilities to travel and meet a lot of talented people. I often come to Berlin, which is one of my favorite cities, and show my talented colleagues from Ukraine.
Last statement about Kiev.
I can say, with confidence, that the Ukraine will become a strong part of the Impolite strategy.
And I will be like a mighty stone, which will protect all the processes and inspire the team!
Impolite: an agency with (actual) personality
We are a house of movie production professionals and digital media innovators working with brave brands and influencers to create unique video experiences. If you are curious to grow your brand You can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org