Nicolas Kasakoff

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Nicolas Kasakoff, who is now 32, broke onto the international scene in 2003, three years after the former art director at Agulla & Baccetti/Buenos Aires turned his hand to directing, and just a year after he launched the Buenos Aires production company Nunchaku with partner/producer Claudio Pastorino. But it was clear from the beginning that he had a knack for seizing on off-kilter premises and taking them all the way. He was included in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Director's Showcase in 2003, based on a campaign for a rollercoaster, of all things. In one spot—the campaign won a Gold Lion—we see doctors extracting a bird from the stomach of a rider who swallowed it while screaming. In another, patrons are so terrified of the ride, they start screaming hysterically while still waiting in line.

Since then, Kasakoff has scored plenty of laughs at home and abroad, including the U.S. Hispanic market. He frequently collaborates with L.A.'s Grupo Gallegos, and their rather politically incorrect spot "Japanese Hand"—in which a man can't stop taking pictures after receiving an arm transplant from a Japanese donor—swept up awards in Cannes and elsewhere. More recently, he shot another Energizer spot in which a man finds out that he is immortal—and therefore in need of very long-lasting batteries—and a commercial for MTV (via La Comunidad) in which the custodian of an "M" in a corporate logo refuses to give it up and is chased by capitalist goons; a setup for the tagline, "Don't give up your M."

"I love comedy," Kasakoff says. "I love to work with actors. I love storytelling." While praising Argentine agencies and their creativity, he says he hopes to continue to break into new markets, including France, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. general market, where his style of wild, conceptual comedy—think of him as an Argentine Bryan Buckley—would seem to be at home. Already, he has shot a Cheerios commercial out of Saatchi & Saatchi/N.Y. "I'm trying to do a good mix between all [the markets]," he says, "because [there are values] that I appreciate from each market."

He's also trying to break into features—with a dark comedy, of course. Viedma, which is in the early stages of development, will tell the story of a failed plan to move Argentina's capital to Patagonia in the 1980s through the eyes of a character who moves there to take advantage of the coming boom. Unfortunately, in the movie—as in life—the move never takes place.


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