Tell us something about working on this project. The challenge was that the budget was limited and filming on York Island, a very remote part of Sierra Leone, was mandatory. I was into the idea of going with just a director of photography and a focus puller and an ambitious production in mind – something you would normally need a substantial crew to undertake – then we would make up the numbers using local people.
I’d heard a story about a documentary crew smashing their Land Rover axle while in Sierra Leone and a couple of locals crafting a replacement out of hardwood. If they can do that, then surely we can muster a crew from such a resourceful population? And it worked!
It was amazing to see it all come together. Especially when you consider that the nearest TV is a boat ride away and none of them had ever seen a film crew before, let alone worked with one. By the end of it all, sure, it was a little rough around the edges, but it felt like a proper crew.
When we called wrap, there was the same cheering and high-fiving you would get with any other crew after a great shoot. And it felt good to shape the production so that crew salaries went back into the very community that Christian Aid was there to help.
How did you get into directing? When I was seven, I accidentally wandered on to the set of Magnum PI and have been obsessed with moustaches and directing since.
What other projects are you most proud of? I won the Smoke & Mirrors 48-hour film challenge with Lost & Found. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a spare couple of days, a camera and a pineapple. The film I made for Yorkshire Tea with Beattie McGuinness Bungay is the commercial I’m most proud of. The production was very challenging and time and weather were against us, but a bit of luck and a great team saw us through.
What inspires you? I love to surf. I always feel like I’m more productive if I’m getting regular time in the water, so I try to spend as much of my spare time as possible going sideways.
What are you working on next? I’m finishing a fun ad for M&C Saatchi and there’s a top-secret movie script that I’m working on.
Tell us something unusual about you. My hair started going grey when I was 14 and now it’s pretty much all silver. People think it’s surfer blonde – but, no, it’s all grey.