One of three prodigiously talented brothers, Antipodean editor-turned-director Lorin Askill has emerged from under the nurturing wings of his siblings to branch out as a creative force in his own right.
With a reel that balances the artistic leanings of fashion film and a practical engagement with commercial commissions, Lorin has rapidly become one-to-watch. His latest TV spot, Epic Fail for DVV Insurances, has crash landed him the top prize in the Web Film Non-European category at this year’s Young Director Awards in Cannes.
You originally started out editing your brother’s films didn’t you? What do you feel you learnt from that collaborative process that’s impacted on your approach to film making?
I guess I really started helping Dan out with videos that he was making in his bedroom while I was still at school and then I made a video in my final year. I then went on helping him while I was making my own animations and videos at University. I always liked editing so I ended up editing, and assisting him while also doing my own experiments all at the same time. It was all quite organic and it all shaped what I do now. I guess what I learnt editing for Dan and why we work well together is, I think, we both believe in a strong yet kind of simple approach. Exploring one idea with purity and purpose rather than cramming ideas and tricks in arbitrarily.
Across much of your work there appears to be a persistent interest in technique – whether it’s the slow morphing exposures of your SDC spot or the subtle reflection/symmetry effects in Castaway. How important is this desire to experiment with different approaches to filmmaking when you’re preparing your treatments? And how / from where do you get these different technical ideas?
Yes, everything seems to start off with a visual technique, I think that is probably a product of my interest in and study of art at university. I find it easier to build on ideas once I’ve established a visual or conceptual direction for it. I usually like to be guided by who or what the video is for.
In Castaway the collection had a lot of symmetrical and mirrored prints, for Dion his dresses actually reflected light, for SDC my friend Michelle Jank who styled the piece said “make it Francis Bacon” and for DVV the agency and I wanted something uncomfortable and slow. All these ideas lead me in certain technical directions and I built from there. Even if the viewer may not know why I used this technique I like to believe it gives a piece more integrity. I’m becoming more and more interested in narratives now but I think a technical approach will always be essential to what I do.
How did the collaboration with Dion Lee come about? And how did the concept for that fashion piece evolve?
Dion is a friend of mine and we’ve worked together before. I love what he does because it’s always strong and focused. He wanted to make a piece for his first showing at London fashion week and he had made some amazing pieces out of strands of Hi-Vis material. This material reflects light back at you if you point light at it from your eye-line but looks grey and almost dead if you shine light at it from a different angle. The range was also about air and breath giving life, circulating through the body and the garments appearing and disappearing to reveal what’s beneath. So, the piece was my interpretation of this concept, combining Dion’s idea with the way the clothes reacted to different light play. It all had to be done extremely quickly but was great stuff to work with.
Tell us about the shoot for your DVV spot – did you use a stuntman or did you use post to create the epic fail?
The DVV shoot was a lot of fun. I was grateful the agency, Happiness Brussels, allowed me to make something like that for what I believe is a fairly conservative Insurance company. And, to do it on the other side of the world. We wanted to make something that was narrative, and funny but still a bit cool, edgy and all together uncomfortable. It was a Web Film so there was a bit more room to move and really let this little story play out slowly. I finally had the chance to shoot something on the Phantom which I want to do more of. For the fail we found a stuntman and made him act. He did a good job but would have been fun to take it a lot further and make it more intense given the resources.
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
I look for creative inspiration everywhere; art, film and everything around me. A lot of images. I keep all that stuff stored and like to bring out what fits for the particular project I’m working on. I love bringing my interpretation to other people’s ideas so I love collaborating whether it be with my brothers, designers, musicians, or creatives.
Which brand or client would be your ideal to work with?
That is difficult to say. It really is more about the ideas. Anything with a strong base to work from and people who want to make great, distinctive work. I’d really like to start doing things with a larger scope and scale, to work on bigger, broader ideas. So, high end brands would be great of course. I think what I really like to watch are things that are big, beautiful, epic and grand with a bit of edge or quirk. Alternatively something really simple, focused and essential. Ideally, these are the kinds of things I’d like to make.
Dvv Insurance, Epic Fail
Production Company: Collider
Producer: Rachael Ford-Davies
Director of photography: Stefan Duscio
Agency Creatives : Phillip Vanden Berghe / Tom Galle
Agency Producer: Bart Vande Maele
Creative Director: Gregory Titeca
Product: DVV Insurances