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The Directors: Christian Bevilaqua

The Directors 44 Add to collection

With an ability to problem solve and a love of animation, HunkyDory director Christian shares his ever evolving style and being totally hands on in his work

The Directors: Christian Bevilaqua

Christian Bevilacqua is a versatile filmmaker and visual storyteller. He loves to innovate thanks to his creative roots as an animator, an addiction to technology, and his ability to problem solve. 

Christian characterises his own style as 'ever-evolving' and inspired by a pleasant barrage of new things. He has won multiple industry awards, among them a pair of Cannes YDAs (Young Director Awards), multiple Creative Circle awards, an ADDY and APA accolades. He’s also been honoured in the D&AD Annual.  

When he’s not directing commercials, Christian keeps busy with paintings and drawings, a children’s book, and a computer game. Fun fact - he is also a talented archer.


For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Christian> I feel during the pitch process, my girlfriend is usually the best person to bounce thoughts off. Or even during production. As a director you tend to work from home, and apart from the odd call here or there, it can be a bit of a lonely life. Even on a production, when you have to spend time thinking about things, it will generally be in a hotel room by yourself.

I imagine creative teams in agencies have that as a working relationship, as a duo that develops over many years, but directors don’t really get that (unless it’s a co-directing duo of course) so having a partner that you can vent with and creatively trust can really open you up to clarity. 

Everyone else you work with might give you a 'slightly' biased opinion on any question you may ask about a problem. e.g. the producer will be protecting the budget, or the DP might see things in a way that they want to capture the shot, the AD might nudge you to consider things from a schedule point of view. and that’s all fine of course, this is what you’re hiring these people to do from day one. So essentially, having someone that is outside of that process and sphere of work that you can just chat to is so important, and I believe the best person is your partner.

 

What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Christian> I’ve always been very hands on in my work. especially from a VFX standpoint. And I think for some reason there is always a little bit of push back, from different areas, to allow me to composite the work, supervise the VFX etc as well as direct it etc. I have always found that when I get to approach a project from a more hands-on role, and usually because a lower budget pushes us in that direction, it tends to come out way better than anyone expected it ever would. But there’s an illusion and a mystique that if you have money / budget for VFX - that you 'must and need' to go to a big fancy post house and sit in Flame to make something look good, which is blatantly not true, more than ever.

I've found that when it’s your own project, with your own name on it, you as a director, will tend to give as much as you can to the film and that means me working on the shots personally until I am super happy, not the other way around. So that includes sitting up super late at night rotoscoping, or pulling your hair out on a shot that takes ages to 3D track etc. just so that the dedication is there, rather than someone taking on a project, who’s not been part of the project from the pitch onwards and then doing a straight day, doing their grind and going home etc. It’s not a dig at anyone, its just being realistically honest about your own projects and what they mean to you and how much work you can give to it if you’re given the chance to do so.


Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Christian> Yes, I am currently doing this... but shoots don’t happen as often as they used to with pandemic pains in full flow. So there’s been a lot of pitching and a lot of projects vanishing into thin air and projects being pushed till later and later in the year. So it’s becoming more and more like now isn’t a good time to have an apprenticeship happening, hopefully the latter half of the year will be best.


How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? 

Christian> I don’t feel like it will changed anything. On my last job everything ran as expected, just everyone had masks on. Soon those masks will vanish as the vaccines roll out further. It is on everyone’s mind to return to normal at some point, we won’t all be living under its shadow. Humans are clever, and it will be a thing of the past at some point. The ONLY big change I think are all the Zoom calls. They are here to stay now…ugh.


Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)?

Christian> Well, it’s not possible at all. You can’t frame a picture in 16:9 and then expect the same composition to look great in 9:16. It’s just not possible. I believe we need to engage and educate clients more about this, and hopefully have them budget a little extra to be able to pan and scan footage later on in the edit, or just to spend a little bit of extra money on being able to format through framing. 

Social media stuff often feels like a last minute bolt-on that’s pushed into a project as you’re about to start a piece and deserves a little more love given to it in the form of a little bit of money and time to help it look as best as can be. It’s an illusion that you can make it work for TV and then suddenly have it in some Instagram square format and not look all cropped. Literally just a day in the edit once it’s all been composited / graded etc doing a pan and scan would help so much. 


What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

Christian> My relationship with it so far appears to be that using virtual sets don’t work as well as the old system (for commercials), and also seems to cost way more. So every time I’ve bid it, it becomes less cost effective and also it’s a new technology that will have teething problems. In the future, it may become more cost effective for a fast turnaround project. But currently it only seems to work for when you’re doing longer form filmmaking - TV shows etc. not short form work like commercials.

 

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HunkyDory Films, Thu, 24 Jun 2021 11:07:56 GMT