London-based production company, Armoury, reveals three up-and-coming directors it's earmarked for great things.
It shares the stories and inspirations of D&AD Next Director Award nominee Ben Perry, versatile commercial and black-comedy short director Dominic Hicks, and quirky pop-culture inspired Andrea Youth, dubbed ‘Italy’s answer to Wes Anderson’.
Ben Perry is a master at executing beautifully observed moments and characters, with stunning visuals accompanying his strong documentarian streak. After a sudden and unconventional transition into the industry, he now counts Vodafone, Hyundai, SKII, and P&G, amongst his clients and has directed music videos for Crystal Fighters and Echo Lake.
Showing a knack for directing early on, Ben scooped up three Kodak Commercials awards for his first project as Monatomi – Ben’s joint directorial venture with Duncan Christie – whilst still at university. But with no doorway into the industry, he began moonlighting as a storyboard artist and editor after graduating, whilst working full-time at a fish and chip shop.
Armoury spotted the young director’s talent through his storyboarding for them. Occasional trips to London from his hometown in Dorchester soon turned into a full-time position in-house, doing storyboards, edits, and helping with production and creative. Saying goodbye to the chippy once and for all, he moved into a friend’s living room in London to work full-time with the production house and has been working nonstop ever since.
Reflecting on the experience, Ben comments, “Armoury’s close and collaborative environment really gave me an opportunity to progress as a filmmaker and encouraged me to pursue my own projects. Jack [Laurance, Co-Founder] and Clare [Gibson, Co-Founder] taught me a great deal.”
His distinct directorial style has he earned him a nomination for D&AD Next Director Award for his very first job under Armoury’s roster (the Chevrolet ‘Power of Play’ film shot in Indonesia) just 18 months after quitting the chippy. His fascination with real-life stories and their ability to resonate with audiences has taken him all over the world and led him to capture an array of unique stories, including an Indonesian activist with HIV and a Korean model who defies expectations by becoming an amateur boxer.
With his latest project in virtual reality, Ben’s show-reel
is constantly expanding. He’s also set his sights on making his own fiction films so watch this space – you might be seeing his name on the big screen in the near future.
Chevrolet - Power Of Play - Indonesia from Armoury on Vimeo.
Dominic’s short films court the darker side of human nature and masterfully capture the black humour that arises from horrific situations. His commercial projects are worlds away from his gallows comedies, demonstrating Dominic’s versatility and creative flare across multiple formats. Comic Relief, Isme (now Very), and Sky Sport, are amongst his commercial clients.
Although Dominic initially approached Armoury about an in-house creative position, the production company was so impressed by his show-reel
that it decided to represent him as a director.
Interested in exploring that which horrifies or excites us, Dominic’s short films, Keeping Sophie and The John, challenge the audience to find humour in serious subjects like kidnapping and murder, offering laughter as a natural response to events that are beyond rationalisation.
Featuring Richard Glover (of Ben Wheatley’s horror comedy Sightseers) as a stuttering serial-killer wannabe confronted by a difficult victim, The John perfectly taps into the actor’s twitchy awkwardness and comic timing. The often glamorised act of murder is playfully stripped back to reveal the mundanity of everyday life.
“Whenever we hear about a tragedy, a joke soon follows,” explains Dominic. “For me, they’re intrinsically connected. I like casting performers who come from a background of stand-up and sketch comedy, particularly in straight dramatic roles. They’re great collaborators and always introduce something unexpected to their roles.
“Clare and Jack are brilliant. They have a genuine passion for making original, brave content and pushing new talent.”
The John from Armoury on Vimeo.
Andrea Vinciguerra, aka Andrea Youth, is a music video and commercial director. Characterised by a playful energy and bold, colourful aesthetics, the young director’s work is peppered with humorous twists that come from recognisable motifs in fresh situations.
Andrea’s memorable commercial work and music videos showcase his gift for creating unique and arresting visuals in a single image.
Andrea’s attraction to bold contrasts and surprising combinations was evident from a young age. Aged nine, he wrote a pirate story mixing Mickey Mouse episodes with Goosebumps and elements of Roald Dahl. A fan of hard-core punk as a teenager, he itched to explore the counterpoint between the dark imagery, fast, rough screaming, and quirky bright colours.
Commenting on the variety of creative processes for both music videos and commercials, Andrea says, “I love that the short time-limit of music videos challenges you to be really creative and experimental in telling a story, especially in low-budget scenarios. Where else would I have the chance to involve my Chinese flatmate to play a cowboy possessed by the devil?
“But I also like the planning behind making commercials and that nothing is left to chance. Being surrounded by great professionals, there’s a big team-work effort from A to Z and you feel like part of a multi-headed machine.”
Andrea’s trademark bright colours and quirky imagery – think an unruly gang of over-60s dressed in pastel-coloured balaclavas - have prompted some to understandably dub him as ‘Italy’s answer to Wes Anderson’. But the unique energy and individual promise evident in the young director’s work already pushes beyond the boundaries of this term and inspires recognition in its own stylistic right.
Counting Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze amongst his inspirations, Andrea is interested exploring a personal music-video-oriented approach to filmmaking. With his first short movie, Teeth and Pills
, currently in development, the director’s ongoing expansion into longform will no doubt be as innovative and memorable as his current show-reel
Benin City - Bus from Armoury on Vimeo.