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14th July 2015
Punctilious Pensacola
Title of film: Giff Gaff, Hey You
Director: Pensacola
When we last interviewed Pensacola the Spanish directing duo were finishing film school in New York and setting out on their directing career. Since then their work has evolved into creating excellent vfx-laden films for major brands

What are the key lessons you’ve learnt about film making over these last couple of years?

Our work both in commercials and music videos has expanded loads in these last two years, and we have started working with bigger brands and bands. It has been a great experience and we hope it keeps growing since we are enjoying it and learning new things from every project.

As the projects get bigger you get the opportunity to work with more experienced people that we have learned a bunch from. The last project in London for example, we worked with Canada London/ Riff Raff which has given us the opportunity to work closely with a client like GIFFGAFF and amazing professionals like the DP Marc Gomez del Moral or Laia Atece (who was our Art Director in our Coca Cola China commercial shot in Malaysia).

It is amazing to see how people that are young and talented are developing their careers and really making their own way as we also grow. That is the case of production designers Laia Ateca or Anna Colomer and DP’s Dani F Abello and Bruce Thierry Cheung, people we started with and that are now working in huge projects, all of them amazing.

Our process in pre-production is much more meticulous, from the treatments up until the way we plan and structure the post of each project. Planning is a big thing for us now and has showed us how important it is to transmit our vision for each project to our closest collaborators. Our energy is still the same as day 1, but we now know better our work and the fields we feel more comfortable with, and for this reason we are trying everyday to do something different that we haven’t tried before. This is something very important and that keeps us going.

How would you describe your style – even though collectively it doesn’t fit into one box?

This is a very difficult question to answer because each project is different. We definitely use VFX and feel comfortable exploring this language but we want to apply it with a surreal tone, closer to comedy more and more. We are developing some narrative projects now that aim to complete this idea of creating work that is iconic, entertaining but most of all surprising. This is not always possible when doing commercial work, but we try to push the creative and ourselves as much as we can to not be conformists and learn from each of our videos.

Your really funny, mad video for Mr Flash, Midnight Blue looks a little lower-fi than your commercial work. Was it straight forward production?

That project was a real ride to be honest. We received the song from the guys at Ed Banger, who we absolutely love. They have total trust in our ideas (which is very rare in the music video and commercial world because at the end of the day you have to sell a band or a brand with their established personality). In that case we decided to go all in and compiled a bunch of ideas we had in mind, put together a close group of friends and a VFX person, flew him to NY and went for it.

We did street casting, got a house in Brooklyn and shot for two nights, two units, loads of extras…it was mad but so much fun. Loads of our friends are in the video.

We wanted to create a surreal party night and we asked Bo Mitchell and his friend Cory to fly from North Carolina to be the main characters in it. The creative freedom allowed us to try and experiment with a bunch of techniques and effects that we had never tried before.

The post lasted for more than a month in our studio in Brooklyn, designing effects in photoshop and then applying them in after effects, mocha, cinema 4D, etc… The result is a bit lo-fi but we had no external support so we produced, directed…did everything in the video which was amazing but crazy. We are really happy with what came out but now we are aiming to do finer, better finished products applying the same spirit and challenges.

Do you collaborate with a usual team – especially creating your effects?
To be honest the effects vary depending on the project and so do the people we work with. For Mr Flash we worked with Josep Foradada, for other stuff like 10deep we have worked with the guys at Oh My Hood in Barcelona. The bigger projects have the support of Glassworks Barcelona, who always work with Canada and are a massive help and resource for us. In the case of GiffGaff we worked in London with the guys at Big Buoy, who were amazing during each stage of the process. For US projects, we work a lot with an amazingly creative VFX expert, Alvin Cruz from Method Studios.

How do you now work together – has your creative process changed much?

The process hasn’t changed that much. Every time we get a brief we agree on a common strategy to tackle it, but of course each of us might have different ideas that we try and incorporate. Lately we have been so busy we have to split and direct different projects, which means we have to let each other lead a different project and always be in touch to supervise and give advise on the other. It is really enriching because four eyes always see more than two.

New York, Barcelona, London – where are you guys calling home now?

This is a great question. We spend most of our time in NY but we travel loads to Barcelona and London to shoot. We like to believe NY is home but we feel great when working with Canada in Barcelona and London. To be honest we hope this “homeless” feeling increases now that we are starting to get more projects in LA and our first one in Mexico. We want to be everywhere!!

List five inspirations that have connected with you recently:

Inherent Vice
The work of the design collective from the 70’s Hipgnosis
The photography of Philip Lorca Dicorcia
Chris MIlk’s Vrse
The new album of our uber talented friend London O’Connor!

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are now trying to do narrative stuff. We want to do surprising commercials that involve storytelling, humour and VFX. Our ultimate goal is to be more involved in the creative part of commercials as well as developing feature films. For this reason we are both writing scripts and preparing a short that combines FX with a coming of age story that we have been planning for years now! We are super excited about this.

Personal Website

Credits

Giff Gaff, Hey You 

Director: Pensacola
Executive Producer Canada London: Oscar Romagosa
Executive Producer RIFFRAFF: Matthew Fone
Producer: Michael Levelle
Head of Production: Rebecca Sykes
Cinematographer: Marc Gómez del Moral
Production Designer: Laia Ateca
Styling: Bex Crofton Atkins
Hair and Make up: Lu Hinton, Frankie The Barber

 

Samsung Galaxy G6, That New Phone Feeling

Directed by: PENSACOLA
Agency: Big Spaceship

 

Mr Flash, Midnight Blue

Directors Pensacola

Producer Rebecca Pendarves

1st Ad / Co-Producer Stefanie Coimbra

Dp Bruce Thierry Cheung

2nd Unit Jason Chau

1ac Jake Ferguson

Gaffer Tyler Chong

Key Grip Joshua Batista

G&E Jamal Solomon , Joy Kim, Matias Mamus, Tomas Velasquez, Jonathan White

Editor Pensacola

Vfx Josep Foradada

Production Designer Lotty Sanna

Art Assistants Joshua Paulin & Blake Clay Mcbee

Stylist Jamie Ortega

Styling Assistant Oak El

Hmu Beverly Nguyen

Production Assistant Chantel King, Joe Saulino, Sam Rimland

Titles Design Joshua Michael Paulin

 

i-D Magazine Model Mother Tongue with Jeneil Williams

Director Pensacola

Produced By Canada With Pensacolastudio

Executive Producer Canada Oscar Romagosa

Producer Canada Laura Serra

Local Producers Sydney Buchan/ Anchor Light/ Kevin Hayden

Director Of Photography Joshua James Richards

Production Designer Katie Fleming

First Assistant Cameraman Kali Marril

Gaffer Daniel April

Key Grip Jack Macdonald

Grip Seth Dean

Sound Mixer Alberto Leon

Production Manager David Duque-Estrada

Production Coordinator David Brody

Production Assistant Zoe Dunkelberg

Editor Carlos Font Clos

Post Sound Mix Jordi Ribas

Music Audio Network

Special Thanks Michael Johnston

Stylist Delphine Danhier

Styling Assistant Ludovica Martinelli

Styling Assistant Sabrina Santiago

Hair Stylist Nicolas Eldin

Make Up Artist Asami Taguchi

Model Camille Rowe At The Society Management New York

Special Thanks Cheri Brown At The Society Management

 

Coca Cola China, 3PM Beat

Director: PENSACOLA
Prod. Company: CANADA
Exec. Producer: Oscar Romagosa
Producer: Laura Serra Estorch
DOP: Miquel Prohens
Prod Designer: Laia Ateca
Editor: Carlos Font
Music: Massive Music
Post Production: Glassworks Barcelona
Service Production Company Malaysia: Landmark Productions