Provocative Visions

A bright light in a new wave of female directors, Vicky Lawton (Creative Director of The Full Service and Executive Creative Director of Hunger Magazine) was nominated for Best New Director at the 2015 Shots Awards and won a Silver at the 2016 Young Director Award in Cannes. This year, she was awarded the Creative Circle award for Best Up and Coming Female Commercial Film Director 2017.

ASFF: Having received a number of prestigious awards, including the Silver award for Best Young Director at Cannes in 2016, what does this particular accolade, Best New Female Commercials Director at Creative Circle, mean to you in terms of career development and recognition, both personally and with Rankin?
VL: Winning these awards is fantastic for achieving recognition, and most importantly for me – it’s a sign I’m on the right track. Trusting your gut, and your instinct is very important to staying true to your style and the stories you want to tell, but it’s also helps to have someone saying you’re doing a good job.

ASFF: What do you think is the relevance of awards in terms of the wider ecosystem of film?
VL: I think the awards give you a spotlight, a platform amongst the industry folk. You can become recognised on a global scale, for that small film you may have made for a certain market. There are so many talented directors out there, it’s essential to try and make your voice heard.

A: How do you see the nature of multi-disciplinarity working in film in terms of combining advertising, fashion, art and film?
VL: I don’t think there are clear boundaries any more. When you’re making a film, its not just about one thing – intact, going into a campaign you need to be aware of all the assets you need to create in order to make a strong project – from stills to digital to social. And I think when it comes to the visual aspects – art, fashion and advertising aren’t exclusive to each other. In fact, it’s about being inspired by all elements. I love to reference theatre stage set designs, alongside sculptural artwork or colour palettes by incredible 20th century painters. There are no rules.

A: What steps do you think advertising is taking in terms of requiring an innovative and artistic vision?
VL: This year, I am seeing work that is all about freedom. Creativity shouldn’t be restricted, in fact the bolder the better. I think when advertising takes risks, and really explores the imagination you see magic. I think the steps can be seen in some of the more surreal pieces of TV commercial work out there at the moment. I’m all for seeing “personality, and attitude and fresh beautiful skin” – the buzz words of the moment – but give me a dream, a story – a fantasy, and that’s when I’m going to sit up and turn up the volume. Show me a character that speaks to me, let me watch as the female lead doesn’t get the man, cry with her friends or go out dancing. I’m bored of what you think I want to be, or who I am. Take an idea, then turn it on its head. Now we’re talking.

ASFF: How do you think that fashion is changing to be a visual, sensory experience?
VL: I actually think that fashion is changing to be a place for storytellers, as well as the visual spectacle we expect. Fashion can no longer rely on just a pretty picture, we need to feel something. Make a connection with the viewer. For example Kenzo’s Spike Jonze directed film with Margaret Qualley was an absolute game changer. Fearless, whacky – cinematic and effortlessly beautiful. But surreal to the point of absurdity. I loved it.

ASFF: Who or what are your biggest influences, and how do these translate into your works?
VL: My influences stretch from film directors Mark Romanek and Jonathan Glazer to photographers Guy Bourdin, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. I love bold uses of colour plus dramatic and action based storytelling. Fast cuts and bold camera moves alongside fashion focused styling. Steven Spielberg’s over the shoulder scene stealers and Cecil Beaton’s lavish set designs. Now, my biggest influence is Patty Jenkins. She’s just paved the way for something seriously exciting.

ASFF: What are your future plans for 2017?
VL: I really want to make another short film this year, hopefully something action based. I’m desperate to create my own mini-action film, with an interesting complex narrative and gorgeous visuals…hopefully! I want to develop some scripts for a more emotional based short film idea too. Either way, I’m going to be kept busy.

For more information:

1. Vicky Lawton, Bourjois – Brand Film. Courtesy of Vimeo.