We’re well and truly into awards season, and there’s some lovely work out there that hits all the right notes. Insightful insights, big ideas, amazing craft. The stuff you know is going to play on the minds of judges. But sometimes, you come across a piece of work that has something extra: a soulful quality that is hard to define, and even harder to create. These five excellent pieces may not all end up on the podium, but through their soulfulness, they’ll connect deeply with viewers, change perceptions and expand horizons. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Phoenix Central Park x Gordi - 'Refracted'
Concept / Entertainment Studio: Subversus
A collaboration between the singer / songwriter Gordi, Judith Neilson’s Phoenix Central Park venue and Sydney original entertainment studio Subversus, 'Refracted' is a mesmerising piece of branded entertainment. It's a live performance film, set inside the new space in Sydney's inner city. I love the artistic freedom in this piece. It takes brave clients to let go of traditional advertising conventions, but the results here speak for themselves. I’ll definitely be checking this place out.
Tourism Tasmania - 'The Call of the Off Season'
Director: Justin Kurzel
I was a big fan of the original ‘Come Down For Air’ creative platform from BMF, and this follow up campaign builds on the idea beautifully. Tourism work can present an overly idyllic, sanitised view of a place, but Justin Kurzel’s direction in the film perfectly captures the elemental wildness and unique winter light of Tasmania, while the radio, print and digital elements translate this vibe well to their respective mediums. Many will shudder at the thought of a winter trip to Tassie after seeing this work, and that’s exactly what makes it so good.
Alzheimer’s Society - 'Dementia Is Killing Me'
Production: Academy Films
Director: Novemba (Good Oil)
Post: Black Kite Studios
This isn’t technically local work, but the directing team Novemba are based in Australia, and I’ll definitely be scoping them out for future projects based on this beautiful piece. Kate Dickie is a phenomenal actor, and the sensitive direction here allows the full range of her talent to shine. Alzheimer’s is a truly awful disease and no ad could ever really capture the weight of the experience. This miraculously, in two minutes, feels about as close as it gets.
Global Women New Zealand - 'Career-Limiting Move'
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi NZ
Production: Passion Animation Pictures
Damn, I wish I made this. So much social-impact work out there defaults to a serious and overly-worthy tone of voice, and this one couldn’t be more different. Anna Mantzaris’ flawless direction brings a hilarious, wonderfully offbeat vibe to this animated short; and it works perfectly to land the punch of the endline and the seriousness of the issue it addresses. Animation craft at its absolute finest. I won’t stop being jealous of this one for a while.
Kathmandu - 'Out There With...'
Agency: We Are Social
Production: VICE Australia
I really enjoyed the first episode of this series, which sees notable Aussies escape into the wilderness to explore some of the niche subcultures that exist in nature. It was a bit of a trip to see PNAU and Empire of The Sun’s Nick Littlemore looking decidedly less flamboyant than usual in a Kathmandu down jacket, foraging for mushrooms. This doesn’t feel overly produced, like a lot of branded content does; the relationships and interactions come across as genuine, and that’s what will make people invest for the full seven-something minutes, as I did - and will again for episode two...