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The Essential List: Mateo Willis


The director/cinematographer’s tastes reflect the adventurous spirit that’s led him to work on several epic Sir David Attenborough nature documentaries

The Essential List: Mateo Willis
Based in the UK, Mateo Willis is a two-time Emmy and BAFTA-winning director/ cinematographer who works across drama, documentaries and commercials. He’s probably most recognised for his wildlife filming on a number of landmark series that include: Blue Planet 2, Planet Earth 2, Frozen Planet, Dynasties, Hostile Planet and Night on Earth. One of the most respected and experienced in his field, Mateo is currently developing a series of long-form television projects and working on his first feature film. His recent commercials have shown he’s equally at home with our domestic four-legged friends, and their owners, in films for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Frontline.


  • Place of birth: Granada, Spain
  • Hometown: Muscat, Oman
  • Staycation: Paris with a scooter
  • Vacation: Namibia by 4x4
  • Pet: A guilty-looking Labrador (it was you wot ate it!) 
  • Place of work: A cabin in the woods
  • Place of workout: Trampoline
  • Side project: My short film Eulogy 

  • Mode of transport: Helicopter
  • Bonus travel essential: Jar of Vegemite


  • Artist: John Singer Sargent
  • Musician: Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • Commercials / music video director: Tom Tagholm
  • Film director: Malick on a good day, Iñárritu for the rest
  • Photographer: Peter Beard
  • Film: Tree of Life/The Revenant
  • Series: Succession: Series 1
  • Commercial: The Loneliest What, Three Mobile 

  • Board game: Go
  • Book: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 
  • Graphic novel: The Arrival by Shaun Tan
  • Podcast: Late Night Live, ABC Radio National
  • Newspaper (off or online): The New York Times
  • Magazine: Sight & Sound
  • Bonus culture essential: Pick any capital city…walk across the centre in a straight line…soak up everything

Food and Drink

  • Breakfast: Poached eggs (runny on the inside) and avocado
  • Restaurant: Noma
  • Cheap bite: Mexican street stall
  • Working lunch: Empanada 
  • Favourite dish: A secret tomato-based pasta recipe 
  • Signature dish: Burrito
  • Snack: Yes please
  • Guilty pleasure: Chocolate ice-cream
  • Bar: Somewhere on a beach facing the sunset
  • Booze: Only for cooking
  • Not booze: Bitter lemonade
  • Bonus food: Mango
  • Bonus beverage: Columbian coffee, medium strength


  • Phone: iPhone X
  • Computer: MBP
  • TV: Huh?...what’s that? 
  • Headphones: Airpods
  • Camera: Arri Alexa Mini LF
  • Soundsystem: Again…I’ve seen them in museums but…
  • Pen / pencil: Fountain pen
  • Where you document an idea: Mindnode. If you love mind maps it’s the DB’s.
  • Casual clothing: Adventure wear
  • Smart clothing: Shirt, jeans
  • Footwear: Approach shoes or Chelseas
  • Watch: Any Elliot Brown. Proud to be one of their ambassadors
  • App: Mindnode
  • Website: 
  • Favourite social media feed: George Steinmetz
  • Work program: Mindnode
  • Digital work tool: Arri
  • Analogue work tool: 1979 Canon K35 lens set that I bought in Hollywood.
  • Morning grooming / makeup essential: Shave
  • Bonus kit essential: Leatherman. Take on the world

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Annex, Tue, 03 Aug 2021 12:45:32 GMT