Our Selects: Series is an interview format we run with film and video directors. We ask directors to name key and influential works under the film, campaign, and music video categories. The series aims to broaden horizons of reference and acknowledge works from the back catalog.

You can check out Danny’s recent short below:

War (2018)

Directed by Danny Sangra

Below are Danny’s picks and what he had to say:

Essential: Films

My top films always juggle around. Number one always stays the same but the rest shuffle constantly. I know there are some recent films that will become my all-time favourites in as I get older.

Strangely, some of my favourite directors aren’t even in my top 5. I don’t necessarily pick films that I think are the greatest technical masterpieces of cinema. It’s all about what I can watch at any moment. If you start picking the masterpieces, things start to get very obvious and the same old names come up. I have a separate list for Tarantino, Kaurismäki and Scorsese.

Ok, I’m really over complicating this. As you can see, listing films is when my nerd levels go into overdrive.

Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

Directed by John Carpenter

Choosing my top films is always difficult. However, number 1 is easy. I always choose Big Trouble In Little China because of the memories attached. I was 5, I remember the video store, the smell of the place and the feeling that Friday night video store feeling.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

When I pick my top films I usually pick the films I can watch at any given moment. It doesn’t matter about my mood I could watch Boogie Nights on repeat.

Husbands and Wives (1992)

Directed by Woody Allen

The third pick could easily have been Seven Samurai or Bande A Parte. However, I chose Husbands and Wives because it’s had such an influence over my approach to films and the way I edit.

Essential: Music Videos

Growing up in the 90’s we experienced the prime era for music videos. Spike Jonze for me was the one. As much as I respected Jonathan Glazer and Chris Cunningham. Spike was who I felt I’d grown up being most influenced by. Then, of course, there’s Michel Gondry. People throw around the word genius too lightly these days, so I choose my words wisely when I say that I believe Gondry is a genius in his field.

‘Sabotage’ Beastie Boys (1994)

Directed by Spike Jonze

‘California’ WAX (1995)

Directed by Spike Jonze

‘Deadweight’ Beck (1997)

Directed by Michel Gondry

Essential: Commercials

Commercials didn’t mean much to me until I was in my late twenties. Guinness adverts were always talked about like they were the greatest thing on the planet. I didn’t really care about them, to be honest. What got me interested in commercials was how you can tell a story in less than 30 seconds. Breaking it down to its minimum. The mechanics intrigued me.

Also, I’m typically drawn to character-based commercials. Roy Andersson could be the only commercial director I am in awe of. I never knew of him when I was younger however at some point in college I found Ali Kaurismäki, who became one of my favourite directors. I connected with his humour immediately, through him I began searching for more Scandinavian humour and at some point, I saw a Roy Andersson piece. I don’t even think I thought it was an advert. It felt more like a highly composed and precise short film.

‘Fallskärm’ (Parachute) Handelsbanken (2006)

Directed by Roy Andersson

I couldn’t choose my favourite Roy Andersson commercial so I plucked the one that stuck in my head the most.

‘The Water in Majorca’ Heineken

Directed by Paul Weiland

I’ve always loved this spot. These are the commercials I grew with.

‘Is It The Shoes’ Air Jordan

Directed by Spike Lee

Growing up playing basketball, I loved sports commercials. Jordan always had the best commercials. Everyone else followed the lead. These Spike Lee as Mars spots were so on point and of the era.