Jakob Montrasio: Media Designer, Filmmaker, Influencer
The analogue filmmaking beginnings
Jakob was born on the 17th of June, 1982, in Freiburg, Germany. His father was a student of Philosophy at the time. From very early on, Jakob was surrounded by art in the form of writings, poetry, music, paintings and finally films. After noticing his son’s creativity, his father would expose Jakob to as much art as possible, supporting him in whatever ways he could afford. Seeing the BLUES BROTHERS movie at the tender age of 10 spiked Jakob’s interest into films even more. From then on, using his father’s camcorder, he’d spend hours shooting stop motion pieces using nothing but Lego in his nursery in Heidelberg. Jakob did not once spend his pocket money on anything but cinema tickets during his youth.
Digital apprentice in media design
In 1998, Jakob submitted an short film with a digital spider to a national festival and won a prize. Even though the prize was small, it had a huge impact on Jakob and lead to much bigger things, as it threw him on the track of filmmaking. What followed were internships with photographers and an apprenticeship in Frankfurt focusing on Media Design, where he learned the tools of the trade – from image manipulation over camera aperture to 3D animation as well as web design and programming. In 2003, Jakob finally saw the film that would change his life, that inspired him to fully focus on films, filmmaking and everything around it – it was Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 which is, in Jakob’s opinion, a film in perfect harmony. “Since film is not one but many arts mashed together, it is rare that every aspect is working together as perfectly as in KILL BILL: VOLUME 1.” It was in this time that Jakob also started to pay a lot of interest to the hardware side of technology.
Databases and designs
In 2003, Jakob founded the news portal mysan.de together with a partner. Eventually, it would grow and include multiple subdomains with their own unique content. While designing the UI with Photoshop in the very beginning, Jakob switched to HTML and CSS2 later on, designing the website in the browsers directly. The project was running on PHP in the beginning, but when unique visitor numbers reached a monthly six-figure number, Jakob and his partner switched the system to Python – since those days Jakob is not only invested in graphical, but also technical UI.
Realization in Asia
After visiting the Festival de Cannes in 2005, Jakob moved shortly afterwards to the New York of the East, Shanghai, China, and started to shoot. Within 5 years, Jakob did not only work for high profile clients such as Porsche, Dell and Microsoft, but also managed to open his own production company, MK Media Productions, write three feature film scripts, work on the big budget production “John Rabe” in the visual effect crew, and shoot his first feature film “The Way Of The Spur”, a Martial Arts Spaghetti Western feature film with various martial artists, stuntmen as well as Jon T. Benn, Bruce Lee’s villain from the famous movie „The Way Of The Dragon”.
From smog to Saar
In 2011 Jakob moved back to Germany with his wife and daughter. In the city of Saarbrücken, he worked as a video producer for a while. Thanks to his friend Tim Graf, he was able to join the documentary film production „Souls of Zen“ and joined Tim as a director and cinematographer. His work with the camera was later nominated for the „Golden Eye Award“ at the Zurich Film Festival. Jakob also produced various music videos as well as television and cinema advertisements in this period.
Influencing on the internet
It wasn’t without reason when Microsoft asked Jakob in 2014 to become one of their Lumia-faces: Since years Jakob has been an early adopter, his very early HDR works in photography led to the exhibition of his work in the New York museum, his flickr stream has been viewed by hundreds of thousand and his photography has been used on book covers as well as websites such as CNN. He never stops posting with passion to all of his social media channels, where he has gained thousands of followers over the years.
Back to the beginnings
Jakob came back to freelancing in 2015, and with this step the focus moved back to web design and web programming. Since then he gained great knowledge in HTML5, CSS3 as well as UX/UI design, which he uses daily on his new web projects.