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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2008
T VC PRODU CT IO N Curious Film Australia has just signed three of the industry’s most accomplished directors, snared two of its top emerging stars, and scooped some gongs along the way. Campaign Brief speaks with managing director Peter Grasse about the company’s arrival in Sydney. IT’SA CHILLY AFTERNOON at the offices of Cu rious Film Au stralia in Fox Studios, and Pete Grasse is finding it di fficult t o co ntain himself. “It’s been a great fucking year!” he s ays wi th tra demark ent husi- asm. “Curious Film is the newest production company in Aust ralia yet we’ve just signed three of the industry’s best-known direct ors. We wer e a win ner a t New York Fes tivals, a f inalist at Cannes , and we’re now representing three of the region’s most coveted up- coming talents.” Over th e pa st 12 mo nths, the company has suddenly emerged as one of Australia’s most inspir- ing produ ction shops, vo ted CREATIVE magazine’s Hotshop of the Year in February 2008. Today, dressed in a pair of par- ticularly outlandish shoes, Grasse seems confide nt that C uri ous Film has w ell and truly arr ived on t he Aust ralia n producti on scene barely a ye ar since its o ffi- cial Sydney launch in May 20 07, when Grasse stepped up to head the company in Australia. Grasse cla ims it’s n ot j ust t he strength of Curious’ dive rse ros - ter of di rector s t hat’s g etting noti ced – i t’s the comp any’s overall phi losophy. Unlike some of its older, mo re conse rvative counterparts, Curious is de ter- mined to si t at the forefro nt of the industry, and is committed to experimenting with technolo gy and content, no matter if a f ew feathers get ruffled al ong the way. As a r esult of thi s ba llsy at ti- tude, Curious recentl y attrac ted three o f Australia’s most soug ht after big- name directors: Lan ce Kel leher , N ick Re ynol ds and Kier McFarlane, who all ga ve up thei r exi stin g p roducti on r ela- tionshi ps to jo in Curious F ilm this year. All in al l, w hen you consi der the company’ s milestones over the past year alone, it’s no t hard to see why Grasse is loo king s o chuffed. Campaign Brief cau ght up with him to h ear more about the company’s progress over the past 12 months... 40 CAMP AI GN B RIEF CURIOUS You’ve just signed Lance Kelleher, who is one of the region’s most respected directors. When did he come on board? Lance joined us o fficially a f ew months ago. He was o n my ra dar while I was working in the US and Japan in t he ’90s, and when I ar rive d downund er al most fo ur years ago I saw him a s a daunting local competitor for Cu rious. I’m glad he’s on our team now. Lance is well known for directing large-scale VFX epics, b ut he’ s also h ighly respected for creating i dea-driven stor ies t hat ar e polished an d unique, which makes him a great talent to have on board . Hi s wor k for He ine ken’s , Toyot a, an d Orange are all both indicative of his ability to create visually compelling pieces of film. However, above all, I am most looking forward to le arn- ing from Lance and being a part of what he d oes best – ex per iment with film and push the boundaries of its creative limits. Nick Reynolds and Kier McFarlane have also joined Curious, which makes your Australian roster impressive – particularly seeing as you represented mostly New Zealand- based directors only a year ago. Curi ous has worke d ve ry hard proving that we’re s erious about our presence in the Australian mar- ket. As a result of that hard wo rk, we’ve been able to sign three of Australia’s top directors within the space of six months, which s ays something about how we’ve evolved as a company. Nick Reynolds is the director behind the famous ‘Lynx Jet’ campaign. What does he bring to your roster? I also knew Nick f rom Lynx Jet . However, I’ve recently had so much fun cutt ing Nick’s Curious re el. He’s done a remarkable set of first- class global award win ning work - the majori ty o f whi ch i s ac ute ly funny material I wasn’t aware was his. His ‘Plastic surgery’ for Virgin Credit Cards bagged t hree DM Gold Lions for Le o Bu rnett in 2004. He won Gold for Lowe Singapore in 2002, Bronze for ‘Axe’ in 2003, an d B ronze ag ain for ‘Lyn x Je t’ in 2006. An d… lik e Oscar de la Renta, Nick knows how to make a woman beautiful! I think the critical element to Nick’s work is that his characters a re s imply believable people living in convinc- ing environments. Therefore, when they “bet their left nut”, its plausi- bly funny. Or, when that gorgeous girl tells you that “she’s mad at her boyfriend”, it persuasively stimulat- ing. Ove rall , Nick’s been recog- nized as an important director by skilfully executing ideas into com- pelling stories. He’s also an easy guy to relate to and never fails to be fun. Yet,, I think that most thrilling thi ng abo ut N ick is that he’s a poised and potent director that has the very present ability to provide a credible comedic alternative to this market. And Keir McFarlane? Keir has been based in the US for the p ast few year s, collabo rating wi th major br ands l ike Ni ke, Toyota, LG and Samsung, and directing music videos for pop stars like Kyl ie Minogue, Janet Jackson and Sheryl Crow. He brings a very intuitive approach to the craft of filmmaking, and he has a knack for translating the latest cultural trends in a style that’s underplayed yet beautiful. When he decided to base himself back in Australia, we were keen to get him o n board. More- over, he did the amazing London car chas e s equ ence i n Jer ry Bruck heimer ’s l at es t, Nat ion al Treasure: Book of Secrets. You have to appreciate and get behind a film- maker with that kind of experience. That’s the real deal, and the chance to bring that to commercial adver- tising is honestly inspirational. You say Curious has ‘evolved’ over the past year. What do you mean? We’ve been very vocal about the strength of all our directors and the diversity of their talents – they are all equally passionate about telling storie s, but t hey each have their own style and strengths. We’ve also been very vocal about our c ommit- ment to the craft of production, and now offer one of the most robust pr oduct ion fac ilities in New Zealand and Australia. And we’re incre dibly prou d of our achieve- ments on the awards front – we were Hotshop of the Year in 2007; Daryl just picked up a finalist and silver at New York Festivals; we had a fina list at Canne s and we were the only production company to win a Sir Julius Vogel Award for sci-fi fantasy and horror. JU L Y /AUGU ST 2 0 08
May June 2008