Sam Pilling has directed promos for the likes of Chaka Khan, The Weeknd, Run The Jewels, and DJ Shadow. His work has screened at film festivals across the world including SXSW, Cannes, Camerimage, and the BFI future film festival.

Known for capturing unique moments on camera, Sam’s music video and commercial work have earned him an indelible reputation as a filmmaker.

Below are Sam’s selects and what he had to say:

I know that 3 is the magic number, but you know, rules are there to be broken…

Essential: Films

1. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Directed by Louis Malle

‘Cool’ before it was cool. Jeanne Moreau. Henri Decae. Miles Davis. Enough said.

2. Sexy Beast (2000)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Because… Glazer. Because “I know a bloke who knows a bloke, who knows a bloke…” Because Ben Kingsley as Don Logan is one of the most horrible (yet watchable) b*stards to grace our cinema screens.

3. Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Directed by Ciro Guerra

This film is effortlessly beautiful, haunting and utterly surreal. Mesmerizing. Go watch it.

4. Arrival (2016)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

The perfect approach to an ‘aliens landing on earth’ movie.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

As kids my brothers and I would watch the movie, then watch the making-of, then rewind the VHS and watch it all again. Love the way they seamlessly integrated Gump into so many iconic moments of history.

Essential: Music Videos

1. ‘Angel’ Massive Attack (1998)

Directed by Walter A. Stern

Dripping in suspense. Oozing with style.

2. ‘Cheerleader’ St. Vincent (2011)

Directed by Hiro Murai

My introduction to Hiro’s work. Still remember the first time I saw it. Still love it.

3. ‘JoHn Muir’ ScHoolboy Q (2016)

Directed by Aplusfilmz

A day in the life of a stolen car. So simple. So effective.

4. ‘The Space in Between’ How to Destroy Angels (2013)

Directed by Rupert Sanders

Because it does so much with so little.

5. ‘River’ Leon Bridges (2015)

Directed by Miles Jay

Music and image in perfect harmony.

6. ‘Otis’ JAY Z, Kanye West, Otis Redding (2011)

Directed by Spike Jonze

So. Much. Swag

Essential: Campaigns

1. ‘Hero’s Return’ Stella Artois (1999)

Directed by Frank Budgen

Because they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. A great little story, with heart, humour, wit, awesome characters and great performances. With a funny ending to boot. Remember seeing this on TV as a kid. It’s stayed with me.

2. ‘Vintersaga’ Volvo (2015)

Directed by Gustav Johansson

A visual masterpiece. The car ad that changed car ads.

3. ‘Wasted Away’ Batchelor’s Super Noodles (1999)

Directed by Daniel Kleinmann

SO fun. Wouldn’t be allowed to make it now. The final noodle snub still makes me giggle.

Essential: Short Films

1. A Hole In My Heart (2015)

Directed by Mees Peijnenburg

Quietly affecting and moving. Captures summer love, loss and what it felt like to be a teenager.

2. Fauve (2018)

Directed by Jeremy Comte

Innocence lost.

3. Capturing Santa (2010)

Directed by Chris O’Dowd

Because everyone loves Santa. Don’t they…?