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The Work That Made Me: Peter Strickland

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Curly director Peter on classic 80's ads, working on a porno set and the work that has inspired his career

The Work That Made Me: Peter Strickland

Having spent more than a decade making short films, Peter rose to international prominence in 2009 with his first feature film, KATALIN VARGA. In 2012 BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO was released to much critical acclaim and established Strickland as a key British filmmaker. In between films he co-directed a concert film for Björk during her Biophilia tour in 2013. After his third film in 2015, THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY, Peter continued his exploration of sound and went on to write and direct several immersive radio plays. His most recent film, IN FABRIC (2019), starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Gwendoline Christie, has received universal critical acclaim and won dozens of awards across the world. 


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

The ‘80s school bus Wotsit advert. Proof that you don’t need a big budget to come up with an advert that stays in people’s minds for decades.


The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Tim Pope’s video for The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’. Tim Pope proved that a pop video could work as an extension of the music rather than something that merely showcases it.


The creative work that I keep revisiting…

‘The Street of Crocodiles’ by The Brothers Quay. I still don’t understand the film, but its mysteries keep drawing me back to its arcane and hidden world of tailors’ shop fronts, cryptic typography and menacing mannequins.


My first professional project…

An assistant on Bruce LaBruce’s porno film, ‘Skin Gang’ (1998). I was carrying lights around on set and remember a crew member telling Terry Richardson off for ruining a skinhead’s erection with his constant photography. 


The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

The Carling Black Label sunbed advert. You can probably trace the roots of Brexit back to that.


The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Chris Cunningham’s video for Björk’s ‘All is Full of Love’. When everything was becoming faster, here was a slow, cold and graceful video that felt unlike anything else.


The creative project that changed my career…

My first feature film, ‘Katalin Varga’ (2009), which opened doors to funding for further work.


The work that I’m proudest of…

‘The Duke of Burgundy’ (2014) mainly because it was an easy film to make, which is an anomaly for me, unfortunately.


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

My first narrative short film in 1995. It starred one of my favourite actors, Holly Woodlawn, who was great in it, only I wrote some truly awful lines.


The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

A music video for the band GUO on Mute Records. The budget was £1,100, which was only enough for a four-hour evening shoot. With a minimal crew, just one SLR camera and a few lamps we got a surprisingly kinetic result.


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Curly, Tue, 23 Feb 2021 11:44:58 GMT