It’s been a good few years for the award-winning Wallop Film. With a roster of emerging directors and a strong client portfolio, the Vancouver-based production company finds itself in the unique position to showcase the growing benefits of producing commercial work on the west coast of Canada.
The results also seem to indicate as such, with Wallop’s recent ascent having the industry on alert. Following its jury prize win at the SXSW awards for best music video, the time has proven right to add in-house producing capabilities, and Wallop is now avidly pursuing its next goal - growing its director roster.
LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with Wallop Film creative director Martin Glegg to learn more about this recent success, what drives the production house, and the vision he has in store for the company’s future.
LBB> Please give us some background on your history! How did you get started, and how did you evolve into the production house you are today?
Martin> What makes Wallop Film unique is that we are all filmmakers at heart, but we are all from varying parts of the world (Canada, Europe, Africa and Latin America). It’s this collective cultural experience that has allowed us to be successful and has evolved us into the production house we are today. Alongside our growing commercial clients, our team have produced works with the BBC, Monocle, VICE, Telefilm and The Guardian.
LBB> Your mantra is based around creating impactful work. What does ‘impactful work’ mean to you, and how does this influence the way you select and approach projects?
Martin> That’s a good question, and it’s one we have to keep asking ourselves as filmmakers. For us, it’s about creating memorable work and taking risks, all while pushing for innovative and thoughtful stories. Although, at the same time, we take the care needed to make sure we are creating work that serves our agency and broadcast partners. We also need to keep thinking about this from a sustainability angle. How can we be less impactful while being impactful storytellers?
LBB> Equally important are the three wings at Wallop Film, ‘Branded’, ‘Narrative’ and ‘Documentary’. Why are these essential, and what do they mean to you?
Martin> Iron sharpens iron, so it’s important for us to allow our skillset to grow within different cinematic mediums; that way we can grow and become even more powerful storytellers. That said, there is a natural cross-pollination that we are seeing between the different wings. For example, we recently filmed a global campaign for Corona Studios, and that was a branded documentary. We also are producing a feature documentary around a famous Canadian sports star, and the team is filming high intensity drama moments on the field. This will only help with pushing our new branded work.
LBB> One of your productions recently won the SXSW jury prize for best music video. Congratulations! Please tell us more about this!
Martin> Winning at SXSW was a huge landmark. The director, Alexander Farah, incubated that project within the company and to see it flourish alongside artists like Tyler the Creator and Lil Nas X was truly a magical moment. It taught us that the story really is king, and if we continue to serve the story, we can do anything. It was a great collaboration and we owe a lot to our partners and the amazing cast and crew who gave so much to the project.
LBB> You mentioned focusing on supporting emerging talent. What does this entail, what are you hoping to accomplish, and how is this setting up Wallop for success down the line?
Martin> At Wallop Film, we put an emphasis on supporting emerging talent - not just because it improves our work, but also because we have incredible talent here on our doorstep. Our team have all succeeded through collaboration, so the more we collaborate in Vancouver, the more the world will see what Vancouver has to offer.
LBB> Tell us more about Vancouver, and British Columbia in general! How does the scene compare/differ from other parts of Canada, and how does your location elevate your work?
Martin> We have the privilege of living and working on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples – Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam First Nations. The natural beauty of this land provides us with an incredible range of locations to tell stories in British Columbia. It really is a filmmaker’s utopia. We have some of the most dramatic and varied landscapes on our doorstep, with the mountains, rainforests and desert all being a stone's throw from the city. The technical crews and industry support has the infrastructure to service Hollywood, so we have world class technicians alongside world class facilities. We believe it's now time for this young city to really showcase the creative talent it has to offer. That is where we come in.
LBB> With British Columbia being a place of diverse natural beauty, Wallop Film is a member of ‘1% for the Planet’. What does this mean for you?
Martin> The environment is one of the biggest existential crises the world is facing right now, and the production industry is a huge part of this problem. We still have a lot to learn and improve on as we try to create greener productions. Being a member of ‘1% For The Planet
’ means we are legally obliged to give one percent of our net income to environmentally-focused charities. I’m not pretending that this fixes anything - it doesn’t - but it's a small way of pushing us in the right direction. It’s something we really need to collectively focus on going forward. We all must be more accountable, and as a company, we have the power and responsibility to make those changes on the ground.
LBB> Can you tell us about some of the challenges the production house has faced recently, and how you’ve overcome those?
Martin> We are in a strange industry where our directors often have to pitch for work that they don’t always win. In fact, sometimes we discover that the job never even materialises. I think this culture of pitching on jobs that aren't certain has to change. We are getting better at advocating for our team, but I think production companies need to band together a little more to help protect time and creative energy.
LBB> You recently added in-house production capabilities, and are planning to expand your director roster. What made now the right time to do this, what can we expect in the coming future?
Martin> We have been around for a while now, and feel it’s time to move into another gear in the commercial space. We have just enhanced our in-house producing capabilities by bringing on another talented producer. This now allows us to conceptualise, produce and service multiple projects at once, which means we can expand our director roster in both an exciting and sustainable way.
LBB> Where did the name ‘Wallop’ come from? What does it mean to you?
Martin> Wallop Film, derived its name from ‘wallop’, the sound of being whacked over the head - in a playful way of course. It’s an impactful but fun word, and that is what we are all about. Please visit us at wallopfilm.com