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The Directors: Twinset

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Johnny Foreigner director on her love of fashion, being connected and the need for clear lines of communication

The Directors: Twinset

Twinset is the alias of director and cinematographer Alex Scherillo. Half Italian & half British she is equal parts level headed & passionate, creative & economic, focussed & flexible. Alex has a deep love for film, lighting and storytelling, especially when exploring Fashion and Beauty. She’s worked in a vast range of forms and genres from commercials to movies via documentaries, dramas, art series, independent films and more working with some of the best directors, actors and models in the world.


Name: Twinset

Location: London and Milan

Repped by/in: Johnny Foreigner 

Awards: 

'Stella Artois' Nomination for Oscar Short Film 2015

'MTS mobile' best commercial of the year 2017 Russia

Gold Promax 

Silver Promax

'Swatch' Finalist at Cannes 

'Couples' WINNER – XI MEDIA STAR COMPETITION Italy 


Q> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Twinset> Anything with a strong visual core and style. I adore fashion. The combination of impeccably tailored clothes and movement in captivating locations (architecture, dance and sport are other passions of mine, I was a professional skier in my past life) make the best brief for me. Intelligent fashion for intelligent women. Poetry in motion 


Q> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Twinset> I always start with accumulation. Lots and lots of stills from locations to lighting effects, to models and their poses to paintings to clothing to accessories to landscapes to furniture…..I collect them all and then I let them percolate slowly. I like to come up with a feeling, an emotion to imbue my treatment with.


Q> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Twinset> I cannot remember a time I did not know the brand but if that would be the case I would research it extensively before starting. I need to be intimately connected before giving a relevant treatment. 


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

Twinset> Filmmaking is a collaborative art and I think everybody is important. As a constant filmic companion from beginning to end on a project I would say the producer is key, but so is the agency and the crew. So I go back to the everybody’s bit.


Q> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Twinset> Fashion directed and photographed by women for women that expresses women’s desires and view of themselves in the world and to the world, not via a filtered male gaze.


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

Twinset> That I only do High Fashion …that is not true I like all fashion. Different brands have different energy and it is interesting to explore them all.


Q> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been? 

Twinset> A friend of mine is a cost controller. I understand her role, and she is a very good cost controller because comes from producing. I am not sure if all cost controllers are that knowledgeable of the process. I have only worked with a cost controller once in Beirut and it was ok.

 

Q> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Twinset> While filming in Ethiopia we got stranded in the Savanah for days, with limited resources, because the helicopter that was supposed to pick us up and take us back to Addis Ababa  was commandeered by some American diplomats.  In the end we arranged with the local national park to drive us back. It took three full days …lots of dust and rough terrain in an ancient land rover with no suspension…. But I would not have missed that for the world.


Q> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea? 

Twinset> Clear lines of communications. We are all on the same side

 

Q> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Twinset> We should and must most definitely open up the film and advertising world to all. I started my journey in the film industry in the camera department and it was brutal. 

I always make a point of supporting women in the industry, particularly in under represented roles.

 

Q> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Twinset> I certainly have had enough of zoom meetings. I like human contact and communication. I suppose it makes PPMs easier to organise.


Q> 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)? 

Twinset> We should give each format the respect it deserves. You cannot fit a square into a circle. Happy to shoot different formats but ideally one needs to allocate the time and space for stylistic changes to be able to do so.


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

Twinset> I have to be honest here virtual production or interactive storytelling or AI are not my areas of interest so I will not pretend. I keep an eye on things but as a film-maker I get more excited about an organic, tactile approach…


Q> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

Twinset> Essie nails ‘Damsel in a dress’ I like the script, the casting, the location  wonderful Tuscany and the model was particularly elegant 

Age UK ‘Chanson d’amour’ I loved the script, the b/w aspect of it and the casting was brilliant …plus it is about love……..

L’Occitane En Provence ‘Pivoine Flora’ the colours the gentle humour and the setting 

Tallulah Lingerie ‘I do not know why I can get no sleep’ I found it particularly satisfying to show female sexuality, desires dreams all from a female prospective . 

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Johnny Foreigner, Mon, 30 May 2022 06:24:00 GMT