Jon Chads, executive producer at Stink Films London, shares some of the work from the UK that he returns to when looking for inspiration
When The Directors Label first dropped in 2003, I was a production company runner in London. I played the DVDs on loop, and the work of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer and Mark Romanek were permanently etched into my brain. Great ideas and great film making realised in every frame. Music videos became entertainment and the power of their commercials would still win every award today. It’s all about ideas and finely crafting work that makes you feel, provokes a reaction and gets talked about beyond our bubble, and I still raid this archive for reference and inspiration all the time...
Short Film - 'How They Get There'
Director: Spike Jonze
Technically Levi's never made it onto vol. 1, so I’ve gone with his first short film. The cute setup, the little comic dance between the two characters before he twists and smashes our expectations (quite literally). The simplicity and clarity of the storytelling is what gets me.
Levi's - 'Drugstore'
Director: Michel Gondry
Polaroid or Levi's. Gondry took this incredible campaign work to a new level. The production design, the cinematography and POV of the character are all fantastic, but it’s the music from Biosphere that glues it all together and takes it to a different place.
Playstation - 'Mental Wealth'
Director: Chris Cunningham
Production: RSA Films
The worlds Cunningham crafted felt so original, distinct and memorable in every single piece of his work. The techniques were truly ground breaking and not a lift from somewhere else. The way he used his characters in an almost sculptural form, and the atmospheres he created with the sound and music blew me away, and still do today.
Volkswagen - 'Protection'
Agency: BMP DDB
Production: Academy Films
Director: Jonathan Glazer
A brilliant piece of creative perfectly executed. The epic scale beautifully framed as each character ducks and curls into a tiny ball for protection. Set to a classical score that gives the film so much depth all linking us back to this little car - 'Have you ever noticed how protected you feel when you make yourself small?'
Johnny Cash - 'Hurt'
Production: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
The NIN cover by Cash brought to life so viscerally by Romanek. With the combination of archive and shot footage, you can’t not feel emotional at the contrast of youth and frailty. The track was produced by Rick Rubin who did the real Desert Island Discs last week, and that’s well worth a listen.