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The Essential List

The Essential List: Benito Montorio

Pulse Films’ director loves shooting on film, frequents a boxing club and part owns an East London Italian restaurant

The Essential List: Benito Montorio

Having started his career making documentaries, risking life and limb getting familiar with some of the world’s most dangerous people - from gangs in Ibiza to inmates of Bolivian prisons - Pulse Films’ director Benito Montorio has lived a more interesting life than many directors working in advertising.

But that’s not to say all his work is gritty realism. As a commercials director, Benito has made a wide range of work for VW, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Robinsons and John Lewis. He’s won awards including 10 British Arrows, 3 Cannes Lions, multiple Craft Awards and a D&AD for Best Direction for his adorable Cesar spot.

When not shooting he can be found in East London, but as you will see in his Essential List, he’s never let go of his Neapolitan background.

Travel

o Place of birth: Napoli
o Hometown: London / Napoli
o Vacation: Conca Dei Marini in Amalfi and Pantelleria (Italy). Or Ko Kuut and Ko Tao (Thailand)

Conca Dei Marini on the Amalfi Coast

o Place of work: When not shooting, Haggerston in East London
o Place of workout: Selby Boxing Club in Tottenham. Owned by former African Champion Paulo Muhongo: The calmest yet hardest trainer you’ll ever meet


o Mode of transport: Bike 
o Miscellaneous Travel Essential: A Fistful of Dollars


Culture

o Artist: Diego Armando Maradona


o Musician: So many. Today I listened to Kendrick Lamar and Bob Dylan
o Commercials director: Frank Budgen - a genius 
o Film director: Too many. But in a rough order - Martin Scorsese, Federico Fellini, Jacques Audiard, Paolo Sorrentino, Lynn Ramsey 
o Photographer: I love Magnum photography and, in particular, Sebastiao Salgado. ‘Workers’ and ‘Migrations’ are incredible.  
Then …Saul Leiter for his use of light 
o Film: ‘Raging Bull’ is my all time favourite


But then: ‘The Bicycle Thieves’, ‘The Deer Hunter’, ‘Godfather Part II’, ‘True Romance’ and ‘In the Mood for Love’
o Series: True Detective, Gomorrah
o Commercial: Frank Budgen’s ‘Bet on Black’ and Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Swimmer’, both for Guinness, inspired me when I was growing up. Don’t think I would have considered shooting a commercial if it wasn’t for work like this


o Music Video: Been so many  - Bjork’s ‘All is Full of Love’ was pretty magical at the time 
o Book: ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ or ‘100 Years of Solitude’ – both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
o Newspaper (off or online): The Guardian but… I love La Gazzetta dello Sport as a means of escaping the real world. 


Food and Drink

o Restaurant: Campania & Jones in East London, but it’s part-mine so I’m biased!


For Pizza, Da Concettina ai tre Santi - La Santia, Napoli.
o Cheap Eats: La Cantina di Via Sapienza – Via Sapienza, Napoli
o Working lunch: Viet Hoa, Bun Bun Bun - Kingsland Road East London
o Dish: Pho
o Guilty pleasure: Don’t do guilt
o Bar: Try and stay out of them but I do like Satan’s Whiskers on Cambridge Heath Road and Sager + Wilde, Hackney Road, London
o Tipple: Good wine or a Negroni


Kit

o Where you document an idea: Notebook & pen 
o Camera: Anything with film in it. I always have my Bolex 16mm with me on shoots just in case I can persuade producers to let me shoot on film!
Stills wise, I love my Nikon FM2 film camera
o Watch: Never owned one 
o App: Instagram 
o Analogue Work Tool: Director’s Viewfinder 
o Digital Work Tool: I have a great lens app on my phone that I use on recces but there’s nothing like looking through glass
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