Tuesday, April 07, 2009


One evening many years ago (about 15 of 'em, I think), my wife and I were on our honeymoon in London and stumbled into a Piccadilly Circus theater to see Kieslowski’s Blue. In poking around the theater earlier we’d noticed that the management had scheduled a half-hour of “trailers” before the feature, so we contrived to be there early enough to settle in with our popcorn and catch up on what was coming soon to the British film market. Little did we know that in Europe, or at least in the U.K., the term “trailers” doesn’t exclusively mean movie previews; here it meant something quite different—a slew of 30-second TV ads, of which we saw approximately 50 that night before the film. Once we got over the initial annoyance at our misunderstanding (and our haughty superiority about the fact that American movie theaters would never allow themselves to be hijacked by tawdry commercials in this way), we actually began to enjoy a lot of the spots, which were on the whole so much more interesting and daring-- sexually and thematically-- than what we were used to seeing in the U.S., as well as challenging in terms of subject matter—it became a bit of a game for us to try to figure out just exactly what was being sold before the product logo or some other obvious reference made its way onto the screen.

Peet Gelderblom (left) hard at work for Kijkwijzer

And for as much fun as we had watching those relatively inventive spots in that tiny little London cinema, none of the ads we saw, many of which were probably more expensive to produce than Kieslowski’s feature, were even close to as good as what Peet Gelderblom has just come up with. In a new post at his Directorama site, Peet, who when not concocting strips for his brilliant comic series is a well-respected television director in the Netherlands, provides an up-close look at the making of his latest commercial, another in a series of spots he has created for the Dutch movie and game rating system Kijkwijzer. The post features not only a keen look inside the tremendous effort it takes to mount and execute something most of us would probably underestimate in thinking of the effort and talent required to produce, but also a look at the previous, lower-tech commercials Peet has done for Kijkwijzer, brilliant bits of business themselves.

And of course you get to see the new spot too. I will not steal Peet’s thunder by embedding the new ad here, but I cannot resist posting one of the earlier ads, 2D-animated by Peet himself based on clever and hilarious designs created by an illustrator known as Shamrock. (I particularly like the signage symbols for what the MPAA would call “sexual situations.”)

Get yourself over to Directorama right away and see what’s been going on in Peet’s ”Screening Room Rating System Lab.” It’s fairly common that genius often gets overlooked in its moment. Well, I hope that Peet enjoys every bit of praise, applause and hopefully new and even more cleverly complicated work that I suspect he’ll get as a result of this new creative endeavor, and that just this once the genius gets his due on time.


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