Los Angeles—Director Rick Knief has joined Accomplice Media for exclusive representation in commercials. A former award-winning creative director, Knief has directed campaigns for such brands as the Wall Street Journal, Century 21, IBM, Time-Warner and American Express, producing work that spans a range of genres from comedy to visual storytelling to real-people documentary. Last year, he earned critical and popular acclaim for a music video for indie singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur that was shot with a rig equipped with nine iPhones.
“Rick is a great talent,” says Accomplice Executive Produce Jeff Snyder. “His agency background gives him an understanding of the project from client and creative points of view, while his skills as a director enable him to execute in a wide range of genres…. emotional and visual storytelling, performance and humor as well as real people and documentary. He has an innate understanding of people and motivations which helps him to draw out authentic performances in every spot.”
Knief’s most recent work includes campaigns for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Radio Shack and Weis Markets. Rick’s first project with Accomplice was a campaign for Chicago’s North Shore Hospital. Knief points to that experience in explaining his decision to make Accomplice his home. “They get my work and get what I do,” he explains. “I wanted to join a company that believed in me. I’m not a one-trick pony. I bring a more complete picture to the creative process.”
Knief acknowledges that the scope of his work makes him hard to fit into just one box, but insists that all of his work shares certain common traits. “Whether it’s comedy or documentary or visual, the goal is always to do the best job in the smartest way…to make it beautiful, make it real and make it honest. That’s what I try to do with every project.”
Over the Sun, the music video Knief directed for Joseph Arthur, is a good example of his innovative approach. He shot the video with a rig equipped with multiple iPhones and used it to create a mosaic of changing and overlapping images. More than an arresting visual device, the mosaic offered a way to capture the artistry of Arthur, who sings and plays all of the instruments in the song.
“I wanted to do something that captured the uniqueness of this artist,” he says. “He’s not only a musician, he records himself and loops himself; he also paints. His work, like the video, is a collage.”
Knief’s recent campaign for the East Coast supermarket chain Weis Markets alternates black & white interviews with farmers describing their love for their work with color imagery of produce, fields and harvesting facilities. The campaign is unusual for the category in the way it personalizes the connection between the viewer and the people who grow their food.
“The interviews are stripped down so they appear real and honest,” Knief says, “and they make a nice juxtaposition for the gorgeous, color imagery of juicy fruits and vegetables.”
A graduate of New York’s School of Visual Art, Knief began his career as an art director. He got his first opportunity to direct while a creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, on a campaign for American Express’ Blue Card. Rick was named Best Creative Director in Forbes Magazine’s American Business Awards for a campaign for British Virgin Islands Tourism, a project that he also directed. Rick left the agency ranks to direct full time through Crossroads Films and was most recently represented by Untitled. In addition to his commercial work, Knief has directed two short films, Looking for My Brother and The Last Session.
Knief draws on his agency experience to inform his work behind the camera. “From the treatment phase, I analyze the project the way a creative would,” he observes. “How does this tie back to the client? How can we brand this commercial? What is the strongest shot to lead into the graphics? What font should we use?
“When I was an art director, I wanted directors for my projects who were true collaborators. I see myself as a problem-solver and as a collaborator who knows how to bring ideas to life.”
For more information, visit http://www.accomplice-media.com/