Lief is a female-led creative content studio, promoting & celebrating inclusivity, creating new culture-defining work with exceptional uniquely diverse filmmakers. Led by Margo Mars; one of the most respected and well-known creative executive producers, the studio represents, discovers and nurtures the most diverse talent across the board.
Margo has previously managed two global commercial production companies and her mission is to cultivate innovative and imaginative approaches to working and nurturing the careers of filmmakers.
Mars’ body of work has won numerous awards, including D&AD, British Arrows, Campaign, MVA, VMA, Kinsale, SHOTS and Tribeca X, as well as the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, Golds at the Clio’s and LIA. Her films have been funded by Tribeca Studios, The BFI x Doc Society, The Guardian and Lush Film Fund.
Here's what she had to share with us.
Fabrik: Hi Margo and thanks for your time. Would you like to share a little bit more about you?
Margo Mars: "I’m the founder of Lief, a creative content studio which I founded in 2017. I have been producing short form content (commercials, music videos, films, documentary) in London since 2003, and always found myself most drawn to creativity from lesser heard voices. I’m the only production company in Europe as far as I know who represents 15 women filmmakers, out of the total 17 underrepresented creators that make up the Lief pride."
Fabrik: In the past you have successfully managed two global commercial production companies and worked with the world’s leading brands and creatives. What made you take the leap and start your own business?
Margo Mars: "I wanted a genuine home for unique exceptional talent that falls through the cracks in traditional production company models. I wanted no-compromise for that vision, of a genuine diverse roster of self-expressive, truly artistic talent. I’ve always had the desire to forge my own path in the world and it was time to make that a reality!"
"I wanted a genuine home for unique exceptional talent that falls through the cracks in traditional production company models."
Fabrik: Part of running a production company is being clear in its offering. In advertising’s increasingly fluid landscape how do you ensure that?
Margo Mars: "You trust your instinct and build with a clear style. Lief are all about style in all its incarnations, not just aesthetic style, but the ability to recognise style in how a theme or story is explored."
Fabrik: What is the most unexpected skill you bring to your job?
Margo Mars: "A great bulls**t radar coupled with an instinct of what’s got integrity, is fresh and positive."
Fabrik: Let’s talk talent. You have a knack for scouting and recruiting promising talent and taking it under your wings. What are the qualities you’re looking for in an emerging director or creator?
Margo Mars: "Passion and genuine desire to create something real for audiences. Talent who can tell stories that can compete with the best of entertainment."
Fabrik: Tell us about five turning points in your career: education, successes, failures, diversions. How did you dust yourself off and move onwards and upwards?
Margo Mars: "My education was a real mix, I trained to be a dancer, attended drama school, and then flipped to a very serious business degree at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. All of these courses were abandoned early for the school of life - I don’t see those as failures though, I had to find my own path!
Facing disappointment and picking yourself up is a daily thing, I think as soon as you realise that, you’re not ever knocked by it when it happens."
"Facing disappointment and picking yourself up is a daily thing, I think as soon as you realise that, you’re not ever knocked by it when it happens."
Fabrik: Any advice you’d like to impart to those entering the field?
Margo Mars: "Surround yourself by mentors, people who care. Don’t let go of your vision. Work hard and then even harder. Have a vision. Express yourself. Be inclusive, be open, have fun."
Fabrik: Final question. What do you like most about Fabrik? What's your favourite feature?
Margo Mars: "It’s SO user friendly and looks high end. Every aspect of the website is touched on, which means any template can become personal and show our style. Also love the customer service, I always get answers instantly in a very clear way. You are truly helping creators be creative!"
Lief is built using Poplin, an incredibly versatile and straightforward theme with lots of layout options to help you to find a unique style for your website. With a focus on simple thumbnail grid layouts, creatives with lots of projects will find this theme useful.