With the winners for November's shots Awards already announced we take time to talk to the gold winners, Andreas NilssonPhil Crowe (ECD, The Mill LA), Gustav Johansson (Director -UN World Food Programme 805 Million Names), Zak Razvi (Best New Director, Jordanne) and Stéphane Xiberras (CCO and president, BETC Paris, Canal+: The Stone) about their awards and the secrets behind their creative success.

New Director Of The Year: Zak Razvi


Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into directing.

Seven years ago I spent a week over at BBH as the ‘work-experience kid’. Each Friday at around 5pm I’d ask if it would be ok for me to come back in on the Monday. That went on for 10 weeks until they eventually offered me a full-time job. After a couple of years in the print production department, I moved over to the TV department. I became fascinated with the intricate details of film production. I spent hours watching director reels. Pulse Films called me one day to see if I’d be interested to head up their music video department. I jumped at the opportunity and after two years of working closely with directors and crew across a range of videos, while gaining a greater understanding of the other side of production, I had the urge to direct myself.


What is the story behind how you came to make Jordanne?

[Editing company] Stitch launched a short film competition called Homespun Yarns in 2014, and it was around the same time that I’d read about this girl up in Birmingham, Jordanne Whiley, who was winning a load of national tennis tournaments. We started chatting over email and she was really excited at the prospect of making a little film.


Did you always have an idea of how you wanted to approach the film; what you wanted to put in and what you wanted to leave out?

Jordanne and I hung out together once before the shoot day. What instantly grabbed me about her was how humble she was. She had no idea how fascinating her background was. I wanted to create a film that highlighted her upbringing and success to date, while at the same time allowing the viewer to gain an honest portrayal of her character and personality.


What was the most difficult aspect of putting the film together?

It was the classic problem of very little time and even less money, but luckily, I had the support of a great crew who were unbelievably generous to me, and were equally as passionate about telling this story.




And how long did it take?

We shot the film in one day thanks to the stupidly talented DP, Steve Annis, working insanely quickly, followed by a couple of weeks in post, working with Paul O’Reilly at Stitch in the edit, Luis Almau on the score at Soundtree, String & Tins on the sound design, and MPC London on the grade.


Which other directors do you look to for inspiration?

I was lucky enough to work with Ringan Ledwidge early on in my career, and learnt so much about building and developing emotion within a narrative. Siri Bunfords work inspires me hugely when looking to capture real human stories and present them in an engaging and considered way.


What does winning gold at the shots Awards mean to you?

I’ve attended the shots Awards as an assistant producer, producer, and executive producer, so to win gold as a director was genuinely very special for me.


What are you working on next?

I’m signing to Knucklehead for representation in January. They’re a company I’ve always hugely admired so I couldn’t be more excited about working with [managing partners] Matthew Brown and Tim Katz and the whole team there.


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