YKRA FACES: DAPHNE SAMARAS
In the latest edition of the YKRA Faces series, we sat down to chat with our friend Daphne Samaras, a Greek-Hungarian director and member of Kinopravda - a directors’ collective. She shared with us what she keeps in her bag, as well as her stories on days spent traveling the world working on international commercials. Read on for more!
Hi Daphne, tell us a little about yourself!
Hello! YKRA is super dear to me since I’ve seen how it all started - when Balazs was sewing the bags in the basement of Telep before the brand even had a name. I was always proud to wear prototypes and test new models so I’m really happy to be featured here!
I studied photography at university where I got familiar with stop motion and puppet animation. Through those projects, I realized that my way of visual storytelling lies in motion picture. This realization led me to direct more and more films in the last 10 years and that's how I become a commercial director. I feel that these previous experiences with photography and animation still influence my way of directing. That’s why my main tools are mixed formats, using optical illusions and practical trickery to create something visually engaging.
I’m also a member of a directors’ collective, Kinopravda. We mostly shoot ads and music videos for international markets. Our specialty is to create films that need an extra something, a heightened, stylized reality - a burst of creativity. My job can be intense, but I really enjoy it.
What does an average day of yours look like?
When I’m in between two projects, I like waking up without an alarm clock and starting my day with a swim in an outdoor pool. I like it even during the winter because swimming under the sun is the closest I can get to the sea in Budapest. I also spend a lot of time with friends and my family, eating, cooking, or playing games. When in Greece, it’s the same, but with the real sea!
My life becomes pretty hectic when I win a pitch for a new job. For a couple of weeks, it’s all about preparations, planning, and figuring everything out to the smallest detail. My shootings are usually abroad and it becomes the most intense when we fly out to the location. I mostly travel with a production designer and a producer to join a local crew of professionals, so it’s really a team effort from the first day to realizing the script. We storyboard and animate during preparations so we know precisely what we want to shoot. I also love scouting for the most amazing locations or building them from scratch while finding the perfect cast and then rehearsing with them. It’s all very intense as the whole process happens in a matter of a few weeks, but the motivation I get from it drives me through the hardships.
My favorite part of the job is figuring out the extra, tricky bits. Even when I'm not working I watch loads of videos, I gather inspiration and it's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together in my head. I visited Mexico on my last work trip, it was my first time visiting Latin America and I’m still under the influence of it. We did a Hormel Chili commercial - it was pretty technical, but for me, that’s what made it exciting. The story is five friends watching TV and when they start eating the dip everyone's hands stretch to 40 feet long. We actually made the props, and there were 40 meters of materials for the arms for each person, it was crazy! I’m also proud that there was hardly any post-production.
What’s in your bag?
This is my first YKRA bag of many. I like all of them for different reasons. This one is dear to me because of the amazing colorful pattern. This bag is about 7 years old, and it’s a piece designed by Henrik Vibskov.
Mastermind Board Game - I’m a big fan of logic games, and I love playing this one - my all-time favorite is Catan though. It’s a great excuse to get together for fun, (even if we don’t end up playing!)
YKRA Pencil Case - The print is by Levi Csordás, I love this mountain theme because it reminds me of snowboarding. I usually use it for work, for my drawings and notes. My favorite detail is the bear with the scarf on his snowboard!
Komboloi - The komboloi is a fidget, typically used by middle-aged Greek men. I like breaking this gender stereotype. It was a gift and I take it everywhere with me - it brings me luck.
Headlamp - You just never know when you might find yourself in the dark (on a mountain!)
Lip Balm Jar - My sister and nieces made this Shea butter lip balm. I got it as a present from them.
Camera - It's a point-and-shoot camera, it was my brother's and I always have it on me. I also take photos with my phone, but there’s a different feel to shooting on film.
Swimming Goggles & Earplugs - Swimming is my go-to sport, so I always have them on me just in case a chance to swim comes up.
Book - My cousin Aaron gave it to me, right before I went to Mexico. The book is set in Mexico too, but I'm a slow reader, so I still haven’t finished it - I really should!
Stone & Shells - I collect all sorts of little trinkets, stones, and shells wherever I go.
Opinel Pocket Knife - It’s sharp and beautiful. Fun fact: I also have one at home, and it's my favorite knife to cut everything with, even when I'm just casually cooking.
Ring - I once got a ring from a friend of mine that she inherited from her great grandmother and it had the same stone in it. When I saw this same stone plus the Matiasma (the evil eye, a Greek symbol protecting its wearer from ill will) I knew I had to have it.
Basketball Cards - these cards are a playful introduction to the Kinopravda team. We use them as businesscards.
Water Bottle - It was a gift from the Kinomoto team (Kinomoto is a boutique production house network with headquarters in Budapest, Kyiv, Sofia and Barcelona). It's cool because they engraved my name in it, so if I lose it, it always finds its way back to me.
Notebook - I use it for my sketches and planning.
Photos by Botond Wertán