Kacper Larski Builds An Immersive, Action-Packed World For Army Reserve
Take a moment and recall the last time you watched a film centered on the experience of the military — maybe it was The Hurt Locker, or All Quiet On The Western Front. Can you remember how your heart raced as troops marched fearlessly ahead into danger? How your breath caught in your throat as soldiers selflessly saved the lives of innocent civilians? These feelings are what director Kacper Larski pondered and discussed in between takes on the set of his recent project for the U.S. Army Reserve — a campaign called “It’s Your Time.” From the very first watch, it’s clear that the emotional influences of these films naturally seeped into the campaign’s four complementary spots.
For Kacper, staying true to the subject of his work is, simply put, everything. “Whether you’re working on a documentary or a scripted project, you never want to lose authenticity,” he shares. “While you always want to create a new story that’s unique to the spot, it’s essential to also capture the reality of what you’re portraying.” What better outlet for his reverent approach to his subjects and his craft than this campaign — comprised of “Solver,” “Fixer,” and “Connector" — that showcases a true-to-life way that Army Reserve soldiers make an indelible impact on the lives of those around them and demonstrates the service that the reserves courageously give to their country.
With a focus on the values that are core to the Army Reserve, the campaign captures the challenges and achievements that come with enlistment, as soldiers fearlessly face all their duties of service, from working against the clock on high-level strategy to sitting quietly with a veteran in a moment of true connection. It’s nearly impossible to watch these spots without some emotion surging to the surface — we can only speak for ourselves of course, but there are moments that make our skin bloom with goosebumps and our brows furrow with determination as we put ourselves in their shoes and imagine the heights of our full potential. Easy to forget that what we were watching was part of a campaign, rather than a feature film.
The sweeping scale of this four-spot project allowed Kacper to do something he jumps at the chance to: build a world that truly immerses the viewer in the experience. For even the crew, the lines between fantasy and reality began to blur as helicopters whirred above and soldiers permeated the set. “The scenes we set felt very real — even for me, the one orchestrating everything,” notes Kacper. “We felt as though we were really in it.” With adrenaline pumping, cast and crew alike were able to stay deeply in the moment and access everything they needed to deliver authentic performances and carry out their creative marching orders, under Kacper’s watchful eye from behind the camera. This experiential rawness was tempered by lighting-quick pacing and keen camera work, allowing the spots to remain rooted in reality and also orchestrated to perfection, as perfectly planned as any successful operation.
Like the finished spots, Kacper himself is pulsing with energy. He admits that he has always had difficulty sitting still (relatable, no?) which he connects to how he ultimately got into film — that quality is what first prompted him to pick up a camera and chase his friends around with it, filming their antics. On this shoot, that same predilection drove him to splash through the mud alongside the reserve soldiers, as though he was one among them. “I think as a director, the coolest thing you get to do is live a thousand lives,” he muses. “This spot was a great example — I was able to be in the middle of this world and be something that in my everyday life, I’m not.”
Kacper's ability to create a truly immersive and emotionally resonant world in his films showcases his exceptional talent as a director, in tandem with his meticulous attention to detail, his commitment to authenticity, and his skillful storytelling techniques. His work serves as a testament to the power of visual storytelling and its ability to captivate and move audiences, and "It's Your Time" is no exception. This campaign, with its exceptional depth of emotion and blurring of the lines between a commercial and a feature film, demonstrates the potential of commercial projects to transcend the conventional boundaries of advertising, inspiring us to strive to push creative boundaries, challenge expectations, and think outside the box on all projects.