Joel Kefali is an acclaimed filmmaker and designer known for finding magic in the mundane. He has directed iconic music videos for global superstars Lorde, Katy Perry, LCD Soundsystem and Alicia Keys; and worked with major international brands including Lexus, Tiger Beer, Nissan, Steinlager, Australian Defence Force and even left his mark on the Got Milk campaign with Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
Joel originally aspired to be a furniture designer and completed a Bachelor of Design with honours. However, his passion for design saw him branch out his degree with a major in Painting and minor in Animation and Editing. It was here he developed a versatility that would colour the rest of his career.
In 2007, he founded the highly successful creative studio, Special Problems. Together with his directing partner, they created an impressive portfolio of album artwork, fashion films, brand design and highly distinctive music videos that saw them win awards and accolades from big names in music such as Kanye West. Special Problem’s success led to directing commercials for global brands, including technology giant HP, and short film ‘Echoes’, commissioned by The Weinstein Company to screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2013, Joel decided to pursue an independent directing career and went on to achieve his greatest successes to date. He was entrusted with Lorde’s breakthrough video for the US #1 hit ‘Royals’, which won Best Rock Video at the MTV VMAs and Best International Music Video at the MMVAs. It put him on the map and before long Katy Perry was knocking on his door to direct the music video for her hit song ‘This Is How We Do’.
The New Zealand native still works across a variety of formats and styles, from choreography to bold understated, cinematic realism and everything in between. Whether it’s music videos or commercials, Joel’s philosophy is simple: “Building brands, crafting a unique and compelling way for them to communicate to the world. It doesn't matter whether that's working with Lorde, Katy Perry or Hewlett Packard – it's high stakes for all of them. They've got something to say and my job is to help them say it in the most interesting and engaging way possible.”