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Director Stuart Hackshaw Reveals His Favourite Projects and Plans for 2018

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The Progress Film Company director on his filmmaking inspirations, factory shoots in the height of a Japanese summer and his next independent project

Director Stuart Hackshaw Reveals His Favourite Projects and Plans for 2018

When Stuart Hackshaw was young, he marvelled at Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Inspired, he borrowed a camera and took to creating sketches and short films of his own, mimicking the styles of his famous influences.

His love of filmmaking was born. In the years that followed, Stuart developed his skills, leading to his arrival at the Progress Film Company in 2012. Since then he’s honed his craft further and is now a Director on the company’s roster.

In this piece Stuart reveals his journey into Adland so far and his thoughts on what it takes to be a filmmaker in the industry.


Q> Starting from the beginning, when did you first become interested in filmmaking?

Stuart Hackshaw> I became interested in filmmaking from a young age. Growing up watching Monty Python and loving the collaborative nature of it led me to start coming up with sketches with friends, which we filmed on my dads Canon MiniDV camcorder. However it was when I was 13, having just seen the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship, particularly all the incredibly inspiring ‘Making Of’ features, that I started trying to make short films more seriously and knew it was what I wanted to do. The passion and attention to detail that I saw in those behind the scenes clips made a real impression on me.


Q> You joined Progress in 2012. Tell us a little about how you started with the company and your time there so far.

SH> After coming out of university I freelanced for close to a year, whilst re-editing my final year film to send out to festivals. I came across The Progress Film Company, fairly local to me at the time. I was impressed with their work so got in touch. After an interview and trial shoot, I came on board, joining a team of only four. Over the years we’ve grown quickly and I’m glad to have played my part in that. As the company grew so did I, leading to bigger projects and new opportunities.


Q> Of these new opportunities, you’ve worked with the likes of Hendrick’s Gin, Holiday Inn and most recently, Mazda. What’s been your favourite project so far?

SH> My most recent film for Mazda, The Art Of Manufacturing, is definitely something I’m proud of, but I would have to say the best shoot I have been on, in terms of experience, came with Land Rover. We travelled across the Arctic Circle, filming in some incredible places through Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Q>  Focusing on your most recent work for Mazda that you mentioned, can you tell us a little about that project?
SH> The Art of Manufacturing was part of a series we did with Mazda and Redwood last year, shot in Hiroshima. I had previously been out to Japan to film Art of Colour and was happy to get the opportunity to go back for another project as I love the country. It was a pretty demanding shoot travelwise - I think it took us 28 hours to get to Hiroshima on our first trip out! With each shoot lasting 2-3 days, the main challenge, besides working in the heat of the Japanese summer, was trying to come away with strong visuals, as working factories don’t tend to be the most aesthetically pleasing spaces. We were trying to highlight the level of detail that goes into Mazda’s manufacturing process, so I did a lot of macro work using a set of diopters and tried to put energy into the wide shots through camera movement. All in all the shoot went very smoothly and we were well looked after by our hosts who could often be seen wheeling fans around the factory to keep us cool.

Q> What are your hopes for 2018 and what you’d like to achieve with Progress?

SH> Looking ahead in 2018, I hope to develop my commercials portfolio and get the opportunity to work on some new exciting projects. I’m also hoping to get another independent series off the ground, and continue to work towards my first feature film.

Q>  With your commercial work in mind, is there an ultimate brand that you’d like to work with?

SH> There are many I could think of but I’d love to do apiece for the Dogs Trust. I love working with animals, having previously directed shoots with dogs for Eukanuba and Barclaycard. As a big supporter of the work Dogs Trust do, I’d be really keen to collaborate with them.

Q>  Pursuing your own independent projects is a big part of the Progress ethos that you’ve embraced with both hands. What’s been the most memorable project that you’ve worked on?

SH> The project I recently finished shooting for Progress’ Lost But Not Forgotten series was amazing, with the bulk of it filmed in the Scottish Highlands, a place I adore. I travelled there with a crew of just three: myself, DP Alistair Little and actor Stephan Chase. This is how I often worked in the early days at university, so it was kind of like going back to basics. Although it has its restrictions, it can be very liberating creatively. Prior to this I had a great time making The Nature Of Daylight with Sam Rookes, as we had a great team who were a pleasure to work with.

Q> Your Lost But Not Forgotten film will be the fourth instalment in the series. What can we expect from it?

SH> The film focuses on the archipelago of St Kilda,which was once the most remotely inhabited part of the UK until it was evacuated in 1930, with St Kildans never able to return. So it’s a story about a lost home and a man now coming towards the end of his life reflecting on what was left behind all those years ago. I’m currently in post-production so it’ll be coming soon.

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The Progress Film Company, Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:31:16 GMT