Simon Ratigan, director, HLA

Tell us something about the making of this ad. Not only did we film in a remote part of Greece that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, we were using the same film-making techniques used in the early 20th century.

Shooting film, undercranking, using static cameras with everything front-lit and, of course, hand-painting every frame.

The hand-tinted look was the idea of Richard Baynham and Ian Gabaldoni at AMV, and their trust was admirable as it took ages for the beauty of the film to emerge.

It was a challenging job for Toby Aldridge, AMV’s effects artist, as the footage was soft, grainy and often devoid of any detail. What he achieved is a reminder of the filmic beauty that has been lost as we move towards sharper, brighter, higher-resolution images.

How did you get into directing? I started off cutting TV idents and trailers. I never went to art school and knew nothing about film-making, but making several spots every month quickly teaches you what works.

After a while, I moved to shooting my own footage. Low-budget stuff at first, but with experience came confidence and bigger projects. Then a lucky break at Channel 4 and signing with HLA gave me the chance to direct commercials. I’ve always received the support and freedom I’ve needed to refine my craft and it has been great fun.

What other work are you most proud of? Sony "foam", MasterCard "coming home" and Avios. What these projects all had in common was unpredictability. Despite hours of planning, the film-making process had to be incredibly reactive.

What inspires you? A healthy dose of madness and chaos. I like the precision good preparation brings to a project but, for me, it’s simply a way of creating a stage for something more spontaneous and unexpected. Discovering and reacting to events that you can’t imagine or plan for is what makes filming magic.

Do you have a favourite technique? I don’t have a technique, although I am a lover of naturalism. I find reality so full of interest and surprise, and I’m forever trying to minimise the sense of artifice in my work so that I can engage more directly with an audience.

What are you working on next? A story about friendship and waterproof phones.

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