Below are Billy’s selects and what he had to say:
Each of these selects formed me in some way. At the time when I first saw them they redefined my view of their category and twisted my axis on what I thought the medium could be. Perhaps not my all time favourites, but each has influenced the filmmaker I am today.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Age 14: A teenage awakening. From infantile film fan, to realising that a movie could shell-shock you. I didn’t understand it then, but goddamn it I wanted to drink that milkshake. Probably the first movie that made me want to make movies.
Paris, Texas (1984)
Directed by Wim Wenders
Age 17: It’s almost three movies in one. The perfect collision of European and Western cinema. An experience of re-birth, realisation of love, tragedy and sorrow. The attempt of sowing together broken hearts. It redefined the kind of journey that cinema could take me on. We are all Travis.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Age 21: This blew my mind and broke my heart, but also captures what I love about film: how it can get inside your head. Schnabel’s subjective approach breaks classic film form and reinvents it, turning what would be static stories, into poetry-in-motion. This film has probably influenced everything I’ve worked on since.
Essential: Music Videos
‘Elektrobank’ The Chemical Brothers (1997)
Directed by Spike Jonze
Age 15: I remember hating music videos. All I knew of them were Top-40 pop music channels. Then somebody gave me a ‘The Work of Spike Jonze’ DVDs and everything changed. I could choose anything from Jonze but this one always stayed in my heart. Jonze made me realise the possibility of what a music videos could be.
‘A Case For You’ James Blake (2011)
Directed by Seb Edwards
Age 19: God this video and Blake’s cover is perfect. Seb’s use of film style is so deeply integrated into his storytelling, but at the same time entirely invisible, just letting the story and emotions take over. Hall’s performance is so delicate, but also overwhelming.
‘Canal’ Ratking (2014)
Directed by Eric K. Yue
Age 22: First time I saw this I fell in love with it. Play it big and loud. It hits like a ton of bricks. Slick yet harsh. It doesn’t break or change the medium or genre at all, but to me it’s the quintessential version of it. It just sings.
‘Think Different’ Apple (1998)
Directed by Jennifer Golub
Age 13: I was an Apple fan before I was a film fan. Or more-so, a Steve Jobs fan. Ethos first and product last. Answer with the whys rather than the what. It’s so full of inspirational value and cuts further ahead of brand messaging than almost any ad I can think of, ever, before or since.
‘Surfer’ Guinness (1999)
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Age 18: Growing up I always remember Guinness ads being wicked. Never really knew why. But watching this again when I was in school I began to realise the power of advertising. Glazer is a master and this one is top of top. Probably the best ad ever. It still feels like it’s from the future.
‘Learn The Hard Way’ The Prince’s Trust (2015)
Directed by Seb Edwards
Age 22: Watched this at work when I was a runner and I remember beginning to cry at my desk. Unbelievably powerful and succinct. So raw and gives an essential voice to those without it.