Assume the Brace Position and Welcome the New Spitfire

Spitfire’s mantra ‘where there’s a screen, there’s an opportunity’ has, over the years, perfectly complimented Executive Producer Liesl Karpinski’s dogged determination to ‘make it happen.’ Despite very little turbulence along the way, Spitfire has decided to now shake things up. We get the lowdown on their rebrand, their latest Loeries campaign and their sexy team. Keep your seatbelts fastened throughout this editorial.

The Makeover

Liesl and Director AK launched Spitfire in a small nook of Liesl’s post production company, Aces Up, in 2012. Back then they saw themselves as ‘mavericks of the industry’, firmly positioned as content creators, rather than solely focusing on traditional media creation. Skeptics were waving their walking sticks in the air muttering something about; ‘how could a post production studio suddenly do production?’ But Liesl, always ready to upgrade from an upset applecart to a Tesla, instinctively knew that they needed to focus on creating ‘innovative and engaging’ content, rather than attempting to compete with the traditional production houses. It’s now 2018 and we can finally lay those walking sticks to rest, because she was right.

Rebranding Spitfire has been a personal journey for Liesl while simultaneously and very coolly keeping up with the times.

iDidTht: ‘Why choose Grid to handle your rebranding?’
Liesl: ‘If you’re gonna rebrand, do it properly. We chose Grid because…’ (a pause as she considers our question) ‘they’re the best!’

Grid cleverly used the military badge as inspiration, a nod to the former Spitfire airplane logo and the theme of being mavericks, which subtly showcases the ‘S’ of Spitfire through the design.

iDidTht: ‘We love the fresh new vibe! If you had to say, what else makes Spitfire badass?’
Liesl: ‘Our positioning I think, which has always remained the same. We’ve always been able to make small look big and nothing has changed. Clients want to sell products, creatives want to make stuff, and we enable them all to do it…better than our competitors, we hope!’

Today Spitfire has a squadron of seven eagle-eyed Directors; AK, Akin Omotoso, Peter Heaney, Chris Green, Rajay Singh and the most recent addition to the team of mavericks, Waldo Pretorius. Thando Mokwena has also just been brought on as a trainee director. Spitfire’s Producers are Liesl and the tenacious Baleseng Lee Mokola who is also a shareholder in Spitfire and happens to have been taught at film school by Liesl herself. There are also five additional support staff…so yeah, they’ve got you covered!

Top Row: Liesl Karpinski, AK, Rajay Singh, Waldo Pretorius, Baleseng Mokola / Bottom Row: Thando Mokwena, Peter Heaney, Akin Omotoso, Chris Green

iDidTht: ‘What does everyone up there have in common?’
Liesl: ‘We don’t say no. I really try to be a can-do person and I think that’s my job, to problem-solve. I also have the privilege to work with an amazing team of directors, all so lovely. And I’ve always said my Directors must think the sun shines out of your arse, not their own. They’re great!’
iDidTht: ‘And who’s the new guy?’
Liesl: ‘Waldo! I just love him. He has a background in stills and fashion photography and he’s an editor and DOP – basically a perfect new generation kind of guy. He’s just directed the new Loeries campaign which we are very excited about. He’s humble, quirky, fun and very hard working. Another plus is that we work really well together, because I can be a bit like Marmite, you either love me or…’
iDidTht: ‘…or you have no taste cause Marmite is the best!’
Liesl: ‘Haha, agreed!’

Creative Heaven with Loeries and Spitfire

This year, the Loeries, celebrating their 40th anniversary, wanted to honour all the top award-winning work that secured its place through those pearly white gates. In conjunction with Spitfire and Grid, they have created a campaign that features the characters of past, highly awarded ads, enjoying their afterlife in Creative Heaven.

Waldo Pretorius, in true Spitfire style,  loves challenges and problem-solving, and it can’t hurt that he has a keen eye for beauty. As Spitfire’s newest member of the team, he’s jumped in feet first by directing the Eternal Greatness Loeries campaign 3D, mixed sets, SFX – Waldo was the man for the job!

Loeries Eternal Greatness Awaits ‘Part 1’

Nando’s ‘The Last Dictator Standing’ Loeries Grand Prix 2012
The Zimbabwean ‘Trillion Dollar Campaign’ Loeries Gold 2009

Loeries Eternal Greatness Awaits ‘Part 2’

BMW ‘Mouse’ Loeries Gold 1992
Chicken Licken ‘Limp Afro’ Loeries Gold 2004
Snickers ‘Don’t Stop’ Loeries Grand Prix 2007

Loeries Eternal Greatness Awaits ‘Part 3’

Opel Corsa ‘Raj & Raj’ Loeries Gold 2003

Meet the Mavericks

iDidTht: ‘You have carefully curated your list of directors, why choose this bunch specifically?’
Liesl: ‘Because they’re amazing! Akin is phenomenal with drama, performance and long form, but has been doing a lot in the content space with Vodacom and Standard Bank. Rajay has such an understanding of commercials inside and out, with a solid foundation in production and a strong talent for visual storytelling. Peter Heaney is definitely the comedy king. Then there’s AK and Waldo who can do fashion and comedy like the Loeries, Telkom and KFC jobs and even horror like the DSTV Halloween campaign. Chris Green is an established producer and director, his work is very much based on storytelling and especially South African stories. Our trainee director, Thando Mokwena, does everything from being an AD to filming, to proactively shooting all our behind the scenes footage. He works as AK’s trainee-director and sidekick and the two are inseparable on jobs. It’s a great mix!’

iDidTht:  ‘What they all do seem to have in common is the ability to figure out the technical.’
Liesl: ‘They really do. AK just said to me, while doing the Telkom ad, ‘When is the last time we did a normal TV ad? We are always figuring stuff out’.
iDidtht: ‘In short, people work with Spitfire, because you make magic happen?’
Liesl: ‘Yes exactly. I mean with Loeries we needed to figure out how to create Heaven. All these old-fashioned elements mixed with real elements. Basically, we needed to make it look like David LaChapelle with no money and do it in two weeks.’
iDidTht: ‘You know you’re all a bunch of masochists right?!’
Liesl: ‘Haha yeah, we love it!’

Stand Aside MacGyver

Below, some content and behind-the-scenes of Spitfire’s craziest set-ups, complete with flying falcons, shaking and revolving sets and horror houses. How these guys managed to pull all this off is beyond us, which is probably why you should call them and not us…

LAND ROVER ‘Falconry’



DSTV ‘Halloween Sleep Over’
View the full story here


On behalf of iDidTht and our entire crew, we would like to extend a warm welcome to the revitalised Spitfire and all their mavericks. At this time, please feel free to turn on your cellular telephones and make contact with them directly.

View Star Films

Contact Spitfire

View Spitfire’s Profile on iDidTht
Executive Producer: Liesl Karpinski

Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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