A Q&A Alfredo Film's Partner & Executive Producer Alexander Henry
Shifting Career's to success
March 17, 2023
Image taken from 2022 Applied Arts winning film Black and Abroad by Alexander Henry
The word pivoting has been very popular over the last few years —Yes, the pandemic—BUT don't worry, this post isn't about COVID. It is about pivoting, pivoting one's career when faced with an unavoidable occurrence that plants itself where it's not wanted. Alexander Henry is familiar with this. We won't reveal all in our introduction but let us say: WOW! what an exemplary figure he is. Alexander co-founded Alfredo films and has produced and directed a number of commercials, music videos, and short films. Alfredo Films is a commercial production company based in Toronto that represents directors from Canada, America, Europe and the Middle East.
How did you get into the business?
I call it my previous life. I trained and studied martial arts my whole life. I competed competitively around the world representing, Canada as a National Champion. I was gearing up for the 2012 Olympics in London and competed in the Canadian Olympics trials. I got injured, but fortunately found a passion for film while recovering. I decided to make a pretty big switch in my life and follow my newfound love for film. I enrolled in the Film and Media program at Humber College, where I met my business partner Holly Rowden. In our fourth year, on our last day of school, I asked if she would join me in creating a production company together. The answer was a hard “NO” at the time, but after a bit more pleading, she finally decided, “What the heck, let’s do it.” Years later, we’re here making some pretty amazing work in the commercial and advertising space as a production company.
A&W No Plans Plan commercial, Alexander Henry
What is the most difficult piece you worked on? What were the challenges?
The most challenging piece we’ve worked on is an ad that hasn’t come out yet but should release at the end of Feb or early March. We poured our hearts and soul into this project. This project was one of our biggest productions so far. It had everything in it, from real babies to fake babies, a cat, fire, three big living room/kitchen builds in studio, people on wires, suspended objects in the air and the Bolt high-speed robot arm. The list could keep going, but this project was incredibly rewarding for how it is all turning out and we can’t wait to see everyone's reaction.
DoorDash Company's Coming, Alfredo Films
What is the project you are most proud of? What was your creative process?
I would have to say a tie between two projects. One we called The Black Elevation Map with Black & Abroad and Performance Art. The other project is called #BlackedOutHistory with the Ontario Black History Society and DDB. These two projects both highlighted and gave back to the Black Community in so many ways and I’m so proud to know that the efforts of our team are recognized within my community and on the global stage within advertising. These projects were very different from a typical broadcast commercial we might do. The creative process was our team being very hands-on and very involved.
The Black Elevation Map was us in a van going around from city to city, state to state capturing footage wherever we could. It brought back my love for film that I hadn’t felt in a long time where it’s us sticking a camera outside the car window to get the shot or running across the street to get a profile shot of someone or their business.
#BlackedOut History was the first project we did during COVID. It was four people in a room doing what we could with the resources we had, which were very few at the time of the lockdowns. It was amazing to see this project go so far to get the attention of legislators in parliament.
The outcome of these two projects and knowing that community leaders I’ve looked up to for so long noticed our hard work was an incredible feeling.
Black and Abroad - Black Elevation Map from Alter Ego Inc.
What advice would you give to those seeking a career in your field?
Always be ready to think of your feet and workshop with your team on how you can solve a problem. There’s always a way!
How has winning Applied Arts Awards impacted your business?
Winning such an incredible award amongst the best brands, agencies, and production companies gives us so much validation. It gets our name out there to people who may not have heard about us. Winning naturally changes our business because it takes one person to notice us for a ripple effect to happen and on a big stage like Applied Arts Awards, the best of the best sees us.
Who is your creative hero?
My creative Hero is Ryan Coogler. I’ve followed his journey for so long and have been a fan since Fruitvale Station. His journey from studying finance, playing football, and switching to film is something I relate to a lot. Of course, I don’t know him and hope to meet him one day, but from the public eye, he seems to carry himself so well. He gives off this energy of being his most authentic self and I try to emulate that exact same thing in this industry.
How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by being surrounded by like-minded people who have a passion for what they do in life. Not just in advertising but in any hobby someone might have. Without a passion for what we do it’s hard to stay motivated.
Thank you Alexander for participating in our Q&A! So true finding and nurturing one's passion is the ticket to a life well lived!