Meet this 20-year-old director with a unique vision
“I think for me, as long as I get my story across I don’t mind what medium it’s in,” Jasper Cable-Alexander tells What We Seee. And Cable-Alexander certainly isn’t afraid to jump into any medium that he encounters.
This 20-year-old director has already dipped into short films, commercials, and fashion films — all while being featured in major publications. And yet, his age still leads him into some slightly confusing situations.
“It’s funny, a few occasions on jobs I’m directing, I’ve been mistaken for the intern or asked what film school do I go to and can they have a coffee,” he says. “I have to explain that I never went to film school and started in the industry at 16. I never used to tell people my age when I was on set because I felt they would look at me in a different light, as if to say, ‘Have you worked hard enough to be where you are now?’ To me age really doesn’t matter, it doesn’t tell you much about the other person — because you have no idea what they’ve been through.
Though still a budding artist, he already has a signature style that sets him apart — dark, surreal, playful, and visually heightened, there’s an impressive consistency of vision to his work that makes you hungry for more.
Supposed To Live Happily Ever After
For Cable-Alexander, this vision has come naturally. So naturally, in fact, that he’s been developing it since childhood. A natural talent for the unexpected, it turns out that his unrestrained experimentation — and work ethic — have been ripening for a long time.
“I have always loved dark films like ‘Betty Blue’ and ’The Skin I Live In’. But really it came from a film I made when I was 13,” he explains. “I am an only child with a single mother so, at this point, I had a lot of time on my hands. I started creating this stop motion film which I worked on every day for 6 weeks. The story was based on two artist mannequins, a dog and a man. They played together and I built up a rapport between the two characters, they were supposed to live happily ever after. By the end of the 6 weeks, I was so bored of the film that I wanted to flip the ending. Rather than finishing there, I killed off the main character. When I showed my family they were unexpectedly thrilled — because they were confronted with an ending they didn’t expect. My mum still thinks this is the best film I’ve made…”
It’s amazing seeing short films wrestling with difficult themes — and dark ones. You can see this trend for the sinister in his works like Choker — which takes you down the rabbit hole — but with a knack for the uncanny, he manages to take that darkness into new and interesting places. With imagery that feels arresting and, at times, aggressive, his work calls on you to take notice.
Creative Muscles In Collaboration
So far, Jasper Cable-Alexander has been exploring shorter mediums, but that’s not to say he’s ready to be labeled or limited. With a passion for the interdisciplinary, it’s clear he has his eyes set on pushing the boundaries of traditional film structures — or ignoring them entirely.
“It just so happens that short films at the moment fall into my narratives, but I’m actually really interested in intertwining documentaries and short films together,” he says. “I’m currently shooting a very important documentary that I will probably end up writing a short film or feature about 20 years down the line.”
As someone who is drawn towards crossover and genre-bending, it makes sense that he’s found working in music videos so rewarding. Blending music, art, and film, he takes his surreal eye to make complex and intriguing pieces that feel more at home in a cinema than alongside pop drivel.
“It’s a great way to flex the creative muscles in collaboration with other artists from different forms,” he says. “I love the fact that you just think of the craziest idea inspired by a song and then shoot, edit, and release within a month or two. The quick turn arounds are incredibly rewarding.”
Everyone Can Work Together
Part of his interdisciplinary drive comes from a mind that is creative in the fullest sense of the word — it’s clear that Jasper Cable-Alexander draws so much fullness from the everyday.
“It’s great because when I’m not busy I will spend my days doing other things apart from film, like darkroom experiments and ring making — this is where I come up with most of my film ideas. I find it much easier to be creative when I’m doing something completely different and not forcing it out.”
It’s this dedication to the craft — and the tenacity to make it work — that has brought him so far so fast. But he’s also aware of the collaborative nature of film and, no matter how many ideas he might generate, he consistently points to the people around him.
“There have definitely been some tough moments on jobs. If I’m having trouble the way I would overcome it is to just keep pushing through — and try and stay true to the original idea, that’s very key,” he says. “Most of the time my girlfriend, who is a producer, ends up telling me ’It’s going to be okay’, which helps to get through it because I can never hear it enough.”
“On my sets, my only request is to hire nice people so it feels like everyone can work together and we’re all just having a good time making a film, for me that’s what it’s about. That’s how my love of film started. It wasn’t really by getting inspired by other films — it was from making camcorder ones with friends and enjoying every second.”
It’s inspiring to see a filmmaker that’s been able to create so much at such a young age — and it shows what can happen if you commit whole-heartedly to your passion.
“Get yourself into really random interesting situations that will lead you to writing your next story and make the films you want to make while you’re young,” he says.
And he’s certainly leading by example.
You can learn more about Jasper Cable-Alexander and his work on his website.