In 2009, after appearing at the fashion and photography magazine and at the production company Bandit, Elsa Rakotoson founded Frenzy in Paris. At 29, she became one of the youngest leaders – and among the very few female executives – of French production.
After six years, she broadened her horizons and founded Frenzy Pictures, dedicated to photography and digital content, serving as a creative studio for agencies and advertisers, especially those promoting luxury and high-end services. In 2018 Elsa opened another production company, Hirvi. Specializing in cinema and fiction, the unit’s short film “Chien Bleu” obtained a CÃ©sar nomination the following year.
Today, his group represents and develops a roster of multidisciplinary talents from around the world, specializing in visual storytelling and music videos of all kinds.
We spent two minutes with Elsa to learn more about her background, her creative inspiration and the work she cherishes most.
Elsa, tell us …
Where you grew up and where you live now.
I grew up in the 11th arrondissement of Paris and now live in Paris 10th. I consider both to be my birthplace, my home, my workplace and forever in my heart.
What you wanted to be growing up.
I wanted to be a fashion designer, to spend my time creating and drawing. I dreamed of Saint Martins.
How you found out you were creative.
When I felt so bad that I wasn’t allowed to go to art school.
Someone you idolize as you grow up creatively.
A moment in high school or college that changed your life.
My first internship in a fashion photography magazine. It was in the early 2000s and I was in the vibrant East End of London! This internship would ultimately lead to more internships and jobs in the world of independent press – Pop magazine, The Face, ID, Nylon, etc.
The first gig you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.
My first concert was Beck at the Bataclan in Paris in 1996. I was 16 years old. It was awesome! I loved him as a musician, artist and performer and still love his music. I don’t have a favorite band today, but part of that is because I listen to a lot of different types of music, from a wide variety of eras. It all depends on my daily mood. For example, recent artists range from Bon Iver to Philip Glass to Kendrick Lamar.
Your favorite visual artist.
So much! From Bruce Davidson to Vivian Sassen, from David Hockney to James Turrel, from Sol Lewitt to Elysabeth Peyton.
Your favorite fictional character.
Gatsby, Le Grand Meaulnes, Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise. I love the adolescent spirit: wild, true, intense and idealistic!
The best book you’ve read lately.
The hazards of good fortune by Seth Greenland. Entertaining and smart! In the forest by Jean Hegland. Surprising and essential, especially at the moment. The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter. Indispensable to understand the French today.
Your favorite movie.
Once again, so many! I particularly like the whole American scene of the 70s: Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola, Serpico by Lumet, Taxi Driver by Scorsese, Bonnie & Clyde by Arthur Penn. Since then, Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee, The Thin Red Line by Terrence Malick, and more recently, Interstellar by Christopher Nolan and Mommy by Xavier Dolan.
Your favorite Instagram account.
I am not on Instagram. I know this is unthinkable, given my job. Let’s just say that I am not against its professional use, on the contrary. But I really need to disconnect from my personal life. And I don’t miss it.
How Covid-19 has changed your life, personally or professionally.
I got pregnant with my second daughter during our first confinement. A personal milestone, in a context of unprecedented crisis. But between that and the Covid, when I went on maternity leave, it was the first time in my life that I really stopped: No more emails, no more phone calls, no more work. I took the time that I never had! And that did me a lot of good.
Your favorite creative project you’ve worked on before.
Apple’s iPhone X campaign. This was the first Apple campaign aimed at the French market. There was immense pressure and the stakes were high. But on the other hand, we had total carte blanche and a global brand campaign: TV, cinema, print, stills, DOOH, social networks. We could only use an iPhone X and its features to show that creating with an iPhone is within everyone’s reach. It was also a great opportunity for the director to sign the campaign – something Apple had never allowed before – that is, to be promoted as a creative artist by Apple globally. This allowed us to launch Axel Morin’s career in France and internationally.