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Trevor Cornish: director

By ✉ webmaster@lesbellesaffiches.com

Also read the story of Ghostpuncher

The interview of Jordan Mc Closkey

The interview of Gabriel Napora

Trevor Cornish has been directed many commercials around the world for prestigious clients and has been widely awarded for his work. He's currently working on a new feature with Gabriel Napora and Jordan Mc Closkey named « Ghostpuncher ». A funny name with outstanding posters. Let's go and meet him to know more.

Trevor Cornish

Hello Trevor. Tell us about your profile, and why did you choose to become a film director? My first love was music and I had dreams of being a rock star. Apparently I wasn’t very good at that, so the only thing I loved as much as music was film. I started out as a PA and quickly moved up the ranks to an AD, production coordinator, then manager, and finally producer in the world of music videos and commercials. I just loved everything about film and being behind the scenes, and still do. I then moved over to working at an advertising agency as a producer when I started to get the creative urge to try something new. So I took a shot at directing. First music videos, then commercials, and so on. That was 15 years ago. But going back earlier then that, my first strong film memory that made my brain first think, “What is this and how can I be involved?” Was when I was a kid and saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I remember that large rock rolling after Indiana and the excitement I felt. It then became about knowing as much about movie making and behind the scenes stuff as I could. You directed a lot of commercials, music videos... What's your best memory? I’ve directed several hundred commercial and music videos, so picking a distinct memory is always a challenge. Obviously whenever you get to do any sort of action or chase scene, or something where you get to blow something up or destroy things is always fun. It appeals to the little kid in all of us. Which is certainly something I look forward to doing while making Ghostpuncher. But one great memory I do always think of happened years ago while filming a commercial for the San Diego Zoo. We were shooting for three days at the Wild Animal Park and basically had unfettered access to the whole area and the animals as well (with supervision of course). There was just something about the energy of that shoot. The weather was perfect, the pace was relaxed, and just all these amazing animals all around us. Years later everyone that was on that shoot still talks about how it was one of their favorite shooting experiences. You've also been travelling around the world for your work. What's the difference between Europe and North America? In regard to being a director, especially in the commercial realm, Europe is much more about the director as an auteur. They hire him/her for their vision and tend to defer to them and trust them when it comes to the creative and the story. Each project is different and it is still a collaborative process, but the reigns are much more in the director’s hands overall. North America tends to be a little more of a committee approach. In the best case scenario this can lead to some great collaborations of creative energy, especially when you all have the same vision. But often this can lead to a "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation, which generally results in compromised creative and story. Which person influenced you the most? I had two early mentors, Lisa Francilia and Dan Scherk, who were my creative directors while at an advertising agency. When I started to direct they really supported and encouraged me at this early stage. Even giving me my first opportunities to direct commercials. They were my launching pad in to become a director. You're now working on Ghostpuncher and it sounds really exciting, a kind of horror comedy with great artworks designed by Pietro Gagliano. What kind of movie lover are you? A good story is a good story, regardless of the genre. But, I do love dramas and thrillers. I love the tension and mood they create, I get sucked right in. Have you ever gone to see a movie purely because of its poster? Purely because of the poster? No. But, a well done movie poster has certainly had me investigate a movie further. Look for its trailer, try and find out more about it. I prefer posters that suggest rather then spell out what the movie may be about. For me a poster is an extension of the film, an extension of the trailer. It should hint at something about the film. Perhaps set a tone, pose a question, tease at an idea. Most movie posters are head and body shots of the stars in the film. This is a wasted opportunity. That’s marketing, not art. Great movie posters can do both. I think of the poster for American Beauty, with the rose against the stomach and the question mark shaped belly button. Or the "Why so serious?" poster for Dark Knight, where the Joker is out of focus and the words scrolled in blood trailing off to make the Joker’s smile. These posters entice the audience to want to learn more. Trevor's favourite posters Who's the actor, or actress, you dream to work with on a film? I’m loving Michael Fassbender. He has such intensity. And Jake Gyllenhaal is really at the top of his game (and from what I’ve heard, an amazing guy to work with). For female actors, it is Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett hands down. Every performance they give is just mesmerising. What's your favourite movie? There are too many great films in so many different genres to choose. But certainly the movie Se7en is right up there in my top five. I saw that film in theatres and it just blew my mind. It’s a masterpiece. Fargo would have to be on that list too. A favourite director maybe? Coen Brothers. The range, style, and genre of films they do is so vast and so uniquely them. Whether it’s drama, comedy, noire, thriller, and sometimes all of those at the same time, you just know it is them telling that story. Love them. Spike Jonze can also do no wrong in my book. And I’m also loving Denis Villeneuve and Bennett Miller. Denis’s command of tone and mood is amazing, and Bennett’s trifecta of Capote, Moneyball, and Foxcatcher put him at the top of the new class of auteur directors. Recently, which movie impressed you the most? Over the last couple of years there were three films I saw and immediately wished I had directed: Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols, Looper by Rian Johnson, and Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve. Take Shelter and Prisoners were all about mood and tension and just ratcheting it up slowly. Where with Looper I just loved the low-fi sci-fi story, and how it told such a complicated story so simply.