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 one of Duncan’s recent music videos below:

‘Never Change’ Obongjayar (2018)

Directed by Duncan Loudon

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

Essential: Films

I think the same as anyone, naming your top three films is the most difficult thing to answer but then it’s also that thing I find myself asking everyone else, knowing you can’t do it.

There are films I watch over and over that’d be obvious picks for favourites but then maybe I just watch them as comforters. The films I’ve picked below I’ve only seen once, maybe twice each but they all did that thing that feels like a bookmark in your head, marking the way you thought about a certain thing/idea before you watched them and then the new way after.

The Engineer (2013)

Directed by Juan Passarelli & Mathew Charles

I saw the trailer for this online years ago, then for whatever reason I couldn’t actually find the film anywhere for 3-4 years until I found a DVD copy, now it’s super easy to get and the full version is on youtube. If I ever had one choice for any film recommendation this one would be it, as filmmaking goes, it’s kind of basic,  just does what it needs to do and nothing more but the guy/the topic is so interesting and so well covered there’s no need for any polish.

Our Daily Bread (2005)

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Truthfully I think this should be part of every school’s basic teaching, along with telling you about taxes, invoicing, etc. Despite its topic, somehow probably due to having no commentary or soundtrack the film really does avoid being preachy in any way; which I appreciated a lot, it just seems like a pretty honest look at where our food comes from which feels important to see in some way.

Bossman (2016)

Directed by Calum Macdairmod

It’s a short, so maybe that’s cheating. It’s just one of those concepts that seems so stupidly obvious you just think fuck, why did I never think of that. Anyway. It’s very good, very great.

Essential: Music Videos

For me music videos usually only sit well if they’re one simple singular idea, that is executed really well, even if that idea gets built on and complicated along the way. I’ve tried to pick videos that are all simple in their core idea but different in how/ why I liked them.

‘Scars’ Wiley/Newham Generals (2015)

Directed by Luke Carlisle & Broken Antenna

The simplest idea, the cleanest execution. Does a lot by doing very little.

Also, I just think an idea like this works really well as a music video in practical terms as it obviously doesn’t require much budget /crew/the artist or anything, I think it’s just a good less is more example.

‘All Over the House’ Skepta (2011)

If the point of a music video is to promote the artist/song and to be this cultural signifier of a moment in time, or a moment in music…which I think the point of really good ones is… Then I think this video wins.

I was in school at just the right age for this to be really interesting and a bit shocking when it came out (as it came out on Pornhub….). I can’t think of any other music videos people really talked about and shared around school like this, it’s a gimmick, but I love gimmicks. It did the promotion and the ‘marking its moment in time’ job perfectly, and came at a time in internet/online video history when it was still kind of shocking/impactful – can’t be replicated.

‘Daydream’ Jeshi (2017)

Directed by Bafic

Bafic did this one, it’s really really great.

Tells so much of a story, so simply +  done extra beautifully.

Essential: Commercials

‘Hello Tomorrow’ Adidas (2006)

Directed by Spike Jonze

I don’t think I’ve seen anything else that actually looks and feels how dreaming looks and feels. This one and Spike Jonze, in general, was so important to me growing up, still is.

‘Surfer’ Guiness (1998)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Saw this won best commercial of all time on some TV thing recently, I’d agree. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine this playing on TV now, starting with a 16-second silent shot. UNREAL.

Cunning Stunt (2005)

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Not technically an ad, but I know this video is how Ben Wheatley started making online ads for people so guess it counts. Again this was at a time online I think is very different from now when virality was still really a thing and we weren’t so used to seeing these clever tricks everywhere, probably also couldn’t be replicated, (having said that tho I recently did reference it myself in a vid).

It feels like a precursor to Vine + Instagram and how we consume video now in this tiny segment of story, a bit like the Skepta thing this video was a marker in time to me.
It’s also for me just really important as a Ben Wheatley fan and a fan of how he made his way through these sort of early internet, early ‘viral’ vids and his Mr+Mrs Wheatley blog to what he does now, clever guy, clever career path, clever video.