Ones to Watch

This month's new talents show that it's possible to be creative no matter what the budget.


Knight took this year's Rushes Film Festival by storm when he scooped best director for his debut short film, Salaryman 6, the tale of a lonely Tokyo office worker and his monotonous working life.

His Japanese wife co-wrote the script and produced the film, which was shot entirely on super widescreen. "Shooting was pretty mad, but I used that technique to isolate the character from the real world. It's all about him being lost psychologically, like the classic outsider," he says.

To create a sense of monotony, the shots feature close ups of Japanese architecture - based on modular structures - with understated colours. A graduate of Sheffield Polytechnic, Knight was spotted by the organisers of OneDotZero festival, which funded the making of Salaryman 6 after they saw a test-film version. "If you are doing commercials, it's harder to stand out from the crowd, but when it's something self initiating, it's easier to create something that will get you noticed," he advises.


Simon & Jon met studying for a visual communication degree and their first collaboration, a documentary about arthritis, featured at the D&AD new talent exhibition in 2000. After serving their time as runners, the pair built contacts in the music industry, producing band documentaries and EPK's. In April 2001, they were commissioned to make a low-budget music video for MTV, featuring a knock'em dead dancer. They were signed to Addiction on the strength of the piece.

Their reputation for producing highly creative work on a tiny budget grew with the brilliant "Treat me Better" for Northern Lite. The promo, a table-top car chase, driven by human fingers, and costing just £500, is surprisingly thrilling and cinematic. It's also beautifully art directed and edited.

For their latest music video, for Tom Middleton's "Cosmos", they broke the rule about never working with animals, to tell the story of our four-legged friends being sent into space.

They had to make their first commercial on a shoestring too. A humorous tale of a chicken and egg chasing each other through the streets of London, the ad promoted Nike's "Run London" event. They got through several supermarket chickens on the day of the shoot, animating them with wires attached to their wings and legs. The effect paid off, even if the team risked being attacked by vegetarian animal rights activists.


Kaplan may be new to commercials direction, but he's certainly no newcomer to the world of TV, drawing on years of documentary filmmaking for programmes such as the BBC's Modern Times to help him develop his film language for commercials.

"I became more interested in the process of filmmaking than recording events, and saw commercials direction as offering more scope," he explains.

It didn't take him long to stand out from the crowd and he picked up a silver Lion for his first ad, for Wrangler, a seductive number that turned jeans into the sexiest fashion item on the high street.

Kaplan is now signed to production company, Great Guns, and has recently finished shooting a new ad for Nytol.

He says his strengths lie in visual storytelling, creating mood and tension and touching people by creating that mood, but in terms of future work, he says: "I want to get into more performance-based work."


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