Founded in 2013 by director Stephan Malik and producer Matt Benson, Anchorfield is a production and post-production shop creating non-fiction film content for adventurous brands. Stephan and Matt met as co-workers at an established production house, honing their skills on large-scale commercials and big-budget shoots. With the explosion of brand video content, they saw an opportunity to tell handcrafted stories in a modern, mini-documentary format using top-notch technology and talent. With Anchorfield, Stephan and Matt combine the grit of hands-on filmmaking with the skills and knowledge of true professionals. Their passion and synergy is unmatched.
Anchorfield’s rare balance of intimate approach and expansive vision yields highly impactful pieces that distill monumental narratives into mere moments of film. More flexible and adventurous than the competition, the Anchorfield team can do more with less. A scalable production model allows us to expand and contract as each project dictates, always working intimately with clients and subjects to create authentic short films that bring brand stories to life.
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With a natural eye for striking compositions, Stephan Malik creates films that not only tell an interesting story, but also capture the organic beauty found inherently within each scene. Utilizing a cinema verité style, Malik strives to film his talent within their own environments, allowing the narrative to unfold through intimate conversations and observed moments. By combining a variety of formats, including HD, film, and still photography, Stephan Malik creates a look that feels both classically cinematic, yet uniquely modern.
The passion for photography and love of cinema inspired Malik to begin filming his own material at a young age. His work caught the eye of famed recording group Wu-Tang Clan, who hired him to direct a feature documentary about their life and long-awaited album. This film features rare interviews with Quincy Jones, Method Man, RZA, NAS, among others. In 2012, he was a chosen for the New Director Showcase at the DGA Theater in NYC. He has won accolades from ADDY, AICP, Cannes Lion and recently a Tongal award for commercial of the year for Oral-B, which aired during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Malik has directed commercials for brands including Samsung, Ace Hardware, Sears, Avis, Southwest Airlines, Ebay, Maytag, Truth, Chevrolet, Red Bull, Nissan, Shapeways, Proctor & Gamble, Oral-B, Motorola, Pepsi and others.
As a director, cinematographer, and editor, Malik is able to shape his vision from start to finish. He continues to pursue new projects that showcase interesting people or topics from an original vantage point.
When did you start actually filming?
Stephan: I moved to Los Angeles on a whim, pretty early on with little money at age 18. After I finished school for engineering and design, I eventually got this job at a production company helping out in the post-production department. The company had a back room filled with unused cameras and equipment. I’d borrow the gear on the weekend and photograph anything I could find, so I could bring it back and have something to feed into Avid to teach myself how to edit. It taught me how interesting our human stories can be.
What early experiences with film led you to this career path?
Stephan: I always wanted a video camera when I was younger, but we could never afford it. So, I'd burn through disposable cameras as a kid. I’d stare out the window on our weekend road trips and snap away. And today, looking at those images taken from my childhood perspective is still so fulfilling.
How did you get into directing?
Stephan: I was working as an editor at commercial post-production shop cutting broadcast spots with big named directors. So, I was stuck in the edit bay for weeks on end with immensely talented creatives. Editing is about solving a big riddle. It takes a group of smart people. I just fed off these directors and they helped me understand how to tell a good story with cinema. It was mesmerizing learning all the nuances you can cram into a thirty-second commercial.
How did you find your style?
Stephan: It was through photography and the idea that powerful stories can be told through the image alone. I fell in love with the works of Winogrand, Eggleston and Parr. Looking at these great photographers who often captured everyday life trained me to become a better observer. It spun me into this wild obsession with wandering the streets and taking pictures. It’s been influential to the way I work with cinema and talent. When your talent is on fire, you want to be able to capture their every move, right up until the spark dies out.
Matt Benson has worked in advertising, television and film for over 15 years, on hundreds of projects with all different kinds of people. After his first job serving as a set PA with Aaron Sorkin on ABC’s Sports Night, he realized he is quite good at planning, rallying, looking at the big picture. “I now do a lot of puzzles with my kids, and it’s not unlike the production process,” he says. “The only difference between making films and actual jigsaw puzzles, is that we don’t have the little picture on the box for reference.”
Matt has put in his 10,000+ hours at production companies and agencies juggling dozens of projects at once, working alongside Hollywood figures like George Clooney and Jessica Alba, as well as “real” people—factory workers, young creatives, elder artisans. He respects time and resources and allocates both smartly. “I treat producing as if it were a sport,” he says. “It’s sometimes a race, and oftentimes, an adventure.”
What makes you and Stephan such a good team?
Matt: We are an amazing combination to tell beautiful stories for brands. We both have the experience and patience required. We take our jobs seriously, always act professionally, but aim to make a good time out of the process to keep creativity at the center.
What natural talents do you have that help you as a producer?
Matt: When I’m in something, I’m in it till the bitter end! Ha. Really, communication and diplomacy are the keys. Production and post-production are very different elements, but the communication gap between the two is an essential part of successful filmmaking. I strive to always bridge that gap.
Film production can be a long-slog process. What keeps you going?
Matt: The stories that we tell along the way are what keep me smiling. When you find yourself in a very remote area of the planet working with talented people in an unusual setting, you take a deep breath and realize: this is why we do what we do.
What is your favorite project you’ve done with Anchorfield?
Matt: The Blue Origin: Historic Rocket Landing was one for the books. Sending a rocket to suborbital space and then landing it had never been done before. Our job was not only the capture, but to turn something around that night so the world could see what an incredible accomplishment this was for humanity. On very little sleep, we saw the news traveling around the planet in real time. While the view count continued to tick up, we could see people commenting, how amazed they were at this historic feat. It’s a moment I’ll tell my grandkids about.