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May 26, 2017

Leningrad “Kolshik” was included in the recent Flux Screening Series on May 24th at the Hammer Museum in LA.  The Flux Screening Series at the Hammer is a quarterly showcase of the most innovative short films and music videos from around the globe. Filmmakers and artists who have presented in person or performed at the Flux Screening Series include : Michel Gondry, OK Go, Andreas Nilsson, Hiro Murai, Martin de Thurah, the Daniels, Ryan Heffington, and Chris Milk.

Link here


February 21, 2018

BMVA-nominated director bolsters production company’s international roster

 

 

London, Tuesday 20th February: Great Guns announces the signing of director Andzej Gavriss to its roster, where he will be represented globally by Great Guns.

 

Originally hailing from Riga, Latvia, the young director and writer has already cultivated a strong body of work that showcases his incredible appetite for experimental filmmaking. Gavriss’ distinctly stylised portfolio combines beautifully crafted shots with storytelling that packs a punch.

 

A multi-talented and hands-on director, Gavriss’ rich background in editing, cinematography, and grading equips him with a sharp eye for visuals – while his mastery of lighting is informed by his set-building experience. A keen traveller and trilingual in English, Russian, and Latvian, Gavriss takes inspiration from his international adventures – enriching his creative approach by weaving these eclectic experiences into enticing narratives.

 

His signing comes off the back of a recent nomination at the Berlin Music Video Awards. Gavriss’ short film, ‘1190’, follows a young woman on a dark journey to find her lost home and identity. Inspired by his personal experiences backpacking and staying in a capsule hotel, Gavriss and his team navigated the challenges of shooting in Moscow, Bangkok, and several Thai islands for the project. The Latvian native also shot a shorter music video version of ‘1190’ for Samsung and St. Petersburg-based electronic duo Aigel, shot on a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. For this project, Gavriss’ curiosity for the filmmaking process drove him to challenge himself to achieve his vision using a Samsung– to stunning results.

 

Commenting on the signing, Great Guns’ Founder and CEO Laura Gregory says: “When you see the work of a potential director the next step is to meet the person behind the work.  Andzej and Julija his wife, producer and art director, arrived in London, complete with a list of their favourite movies, tv shows, top music videos and scripts for Andzej’s upcoming music video and short film.  When they discovered two of the music videos on their list, for Rudimental and Chase & Status, were produced by Great Guns EP, Tim Francis, it made for an exciting Korean lunch at the Great Guns Social.

 

Andzej Gavriss comments: “I’m incredibly excited to join Great Guns and to take on new creative experiences this year. Challenging myself with ever more complex projects and pushing the limits of my style has always been something I’ve enjoyed. I was after more than just representation. I was looking for people who truly share my ideas, vision and passion for what I do – and I’ve found them in Great Guns.”


Award-winning filmmaker, writer and creative director signs to Great Guns following award win for Little Shit

 

London, Tuesday January 23rd 2018 Great Guns are delighted to welcome filmmaker, writer and creative director, Richard Gorodecky, to their growing roster for director representation across commercials, branded content and music videos).

 

The new signing follows Gorodecky winning Best British Short Film for Little Shit at the London Short Film Festival. Little Shit is a fictional short about a child’s journey to discover his and London’s hidden nature.

 

Gorodecky has won over 60 industry awards during his career, including a Cannes Gold Lion, the Grand Prix at Eurobest and a Silver Effie. His work has been featured in a number of books and publications, and is in the permanent collection of The Museum for Arts and Crafts in Hamburg.

 

Gorodecky incited his love for storytelling at Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam where he worked as a writer for eight years before he became one of the founders and the creative director of Amsterdam Worldwide, an agency specialising in long-format branded content.

 

In the years between now and then, Richard wrote, directed and produced The River Man (sold to RTE & Aer Lingus). This documentary earned Critics Choice in The Sunday Times newspaper, was finalist for the Grand Prix and Best Documentary at Cork Film Festival, finalist for Best Short Documentary at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and won Best Short Documentary at the Lift Off Film Festival Amsterdam and Sydney. Richard then wrote and directed a branded documentary about the controversial and convention-defying founder of Perricone MD.

 

Commenting on the signing, Great Guns’ Founder and CEO Laura Gregory says: “I was introduced to Richard by ECD Paul Shearer who said, ‘Richard’s the best director this side of the Channel and you need to meet’. I saw ‘Little Shit’ and was stunned. It is crafted to perfection in every department and you couldn’t fail to be engaged, Londoner or not. Richard has a pure, raw, instinctive talent, and can tell a story”

 

Richard Gorodecky comments: “For the last 20 years, Great Guns has been behind much of the work that has inspired me to become a director. They somehow combine a global presence with the atmosphere of a close-knit family. Everything they do comes from a love of great film and great directors. It’s an incredible compliment to be signed by a company of this caliber.”


Great Guns’ Tal Zagreba directs the heart-racing, half-live action, half-animated film, ‘Call My Name’, using Volvo as the vehicle for narration

 

Tel Aviv, January 9th, 2018 Great Guns Director, Tal Zagreba, tells the story of explosive heartbreak and escapism in a half live action, half animated road trip for Volvo.

 

This cinematic piece of branded content, which also acts as a music video for ‘Call My Name’ by The Goldman Brothers, features McMafia’s Yuval Scharf, one of Israel’s biggest stars, behind the wheel of a Volvo V40, as the fantasy of leaving her partner in the dust begins to materialise in clever flickbook-style animation. Her animated partner gradually develops into a full cartoon and, as the explosive story unfolds, the narrative uses the vehicle as a literal and metaphorical means for telling the story.

 

Great Guns’ Zagreba worked closely with producer Lior Miller, animation director Robert Moreno and car manufacturer Volvo on the film. “We wanted to achieve something really out of the box and epic for Volvo. In this film, the vehicle and the characters are equally integral and interconnected with the narrative, and the animation enriches this connection. I wanted the car to function as the narrator as it takes the lead character through the stages of a breakup,” states Zagreba. “From pitching the initial concept right through to post production, Volvo trusted us completely to create the film as we saw fit, and didn’t see anything until the finished product – which totally blew them away. It was so rewarding for us to initiate this idea ourselves and be given the trust and freedom by Volvo to realise a final film that was so true to the original idea with such few limitations on creative direction.”

 

The film was shot over two days in the wilderness between Jerusalem and Jericho in Nabi Musa, Israel. The stretch of land provided the spanning mass for the vehicle’s course. Filming in the peak of summer, however, brought some challenges. “We were filming in 50-degree heat, in the hottest place in the country,” Zagreba adds. “The temperature got so hot that the drone almost overheated!  But we overcame it and the landscape was perfect for the backdrop of the film.”

 

Having found a natural chemistry whilst working together on previous projects, Tal was keen to collaborate with animator Robert Moreno again. “Robert is truly brilliant. The animation he created was exactly what I had imaged. We have a real creative connection and it was great to work with him and such a talented bunch of people on the film, not least the guys at Great Guns for their all their support in co-producing this video with us.”

 

Volvo will distribute ‘Call My Name’ through their global digital media, music and social channels from Tuesday 9th January.


Great Guns and Director Duncan Christie produce a stirring and empowering film, ‘2050’, for the charity

 

London, Thursday 9th November 2017: Great Guns and Director Duncan Christie deliver a heart wrenching and moving campaign film, ‘2050’, to promote and raise funds for the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now.

The film follows a young girl on a secret mission – the purpose of which isn’t revealed to the viewer until the very end. Over a series of days, we see the tiny trooper determinedly studying complex science textbooks, watching quantum theory videos, and raiding the house for objects to use in her special project. In the final reveal, the girl wakes up her mother, who has breast cancer – and leads her inside a ‘time machine’ that she has made from cardboard and household items. As mother and daughter sit in the makeshift machine together, the girl turns the dial from 2017 to 2050.

The film closes with Breast Cancer Now’s aim that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. The message of the film is that for some, including the family portrayed in this film, the year 2050, can’t come soon enough.

Great Guns’ Duncan Christie directed the bittersweet film – skilfully striking the perfect balance in tone between heart-breaking and empowering. Commenting on the project, Duncan says:

“My aim was to build up a sense of intrigue to draw in the audience, making the final reveal all the more impactful. We kept the visual tone hopeful as we wanted to focus on the optimism of our young hero. We also felt the story would benefit from a naturalistic approach. In order to capture off-the-cuff, ‘snatched’ moments in the life of this family, we chose to improvise at times, leaving room for spontaneity during the shoot.

“In order to tell this story truthfully, we had to get into [actor] Jessica’s mind-set,” Duncan continues. “As one expects for a film so heavily reliant on a child actor’s performance, our casting process was exhaustive. We saw a lot of great young actresses but Jessica had that spark which ultimately made her the only choice. She has the emotional intelligence and charisma to a carry a film of this weight.”

‘2050’ was unveiled this month at the 2017 A Bigger Bounce fundraising event at The Roundhouse, held in aid of Breast Cancer Now. Sponsors included Viktor & Rolf, ITV, The Roundhouse, Hearst Magazine, Cucumber Productions Ltd., Moet Hennessy, Phil Mcintyre Television, Talon, Quantum, JamVans, Rhubarb and Great Guns.

During the event, hosted by Alex Jones, generous prizes were donated and auctioned off. A Raffle saw prizes ranging from a brand-new car, to an overnight stay at the Dorchester, tea at the Wolseley with Dame Barbara Windsor and dinner at restaurant ‘34’ with Bruno Tonioli.

CEO of Great Guns, Laura Gregory comments: “Breast Cancer Now is making progress towards the 2050 goal, but reaching it is dependent on continued public awareness and raising money for vital and much needed breast cancer research. The committee for A Bigger Bounce worked tirelessly to produce the third event.  Co-Chairs, Carolyn McCall and Philippa Brown did a superb job pulling the committee together and harnessing everyone’s strength to deliver a top-notch night of fun and entertainment.  The committee gathered prizes that were truly out of this world and worthy of the amounts raised. I lost my mother to breast cancer and will always give time to raise money for continued research to beat the disease.”

‘2050’ is now live on ITV.

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, dedicated to funding research into this devastating disease. For more information, please visit breastcancernow.org.


A dawn-lit shoot in Croatia shows off the prowess of the awesome new sports car in the film by Keko and Great Guns

 

London, 25th October 2017 – Bentley and Keko commission Kit Lynch-Robinson and Great Guns to create the launch film for the first ever re-design of the Bentley Continental.

Bentley is aiming to build upon record sales and the burgeoning success of its Bentayga SUV with this all-new, third-generation Bentley Continental GT sports tourer, which has been unveiled for its public debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Shot around the breath-taking scenery of the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, the concept was to reveal this stunning new design with the breaking light of dawn.

Director at Great Guns, Kit Lynch-Robinson comments: “This was such a gift of a script – a redesigned classic and a study of form and light. I wanted the film to be understated and subtle.  It was crucial to shoot in the magic hour, so all of the locations were chosen for their compass aspect and when the sun would be rising or setting. It may be a bit old school but there is a reason car commercials used to be shot exclusively in the magic hour – they look stunning in that light with the metal swirling.”

In order to capture the Bentley in the perfect light and environment, Kit researched locations where the roads were sweeping but not arid in surrounding to show off the luxury feel of the car. Settling on Croatia as the perfect place, Kit used both a Russian Arm and drones to capture the sweeping shots and tease out the design lines of the new model.

Lynch-Robinson comments: “I am usually hitting someone around the head with a frying pan, blowing something up or hurtling up a race track at 180mph, so this film really gave me an opportunity to show off a more serious beauty side to my work. Bentley as a marque is pretty important to me. It’s a British car manufacturer that embodies what the Brits export well – refined luxury. It was so important that the final film emanated the same refined luxury as the car.”

The main film will be released online and on Bentley’s website. A shorter version of the film was screened at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, which was the first time the physical car was revealed to the world’s press.


Great Guns signs multi-talented for director Jeremy Rubier off the back of his new electric branded short content film  

Tokyo, 24rd October 2017: Following his electric new branded short content film for RedBull, director Jeremy Rubier signs to Great Guns for representation globally.

With this latest announcement, the award-winning global content and music video production hub continues to expand its international reach. Commenting on the signing, Jeremy says: “I’m really proud to join this crazy team and kick ass worldwide. Let’s make magic!”

A multi-talented young director, Jeremy’s unique mastery of visuals, music, and voice-over has already seen him work with artists such as Skrillex, Avicii, and brands such as Robert De Niro’s NOBU and Porsche. Having lived in Paris, Montreal, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, and Hong-Kong, the rising star’s rich and eclectic cultural background imbues his work with a freshness and curiosity.

The signing is bolstered by the release of Jeremy’s vibrant new branded short content film to promote Shibuya Redbull Festival, a music festival at the heart of Tokyo.

‘Love Letter to Shibuya’ invites viewers to experience the iconic district’s unique appeal through the eyes of four local artists: Zeebra, Chanmina, Leader, and AISHA. Jeremy expertly weaves together their different perspectives and stories to paint a pulsing neon paradise. Taking influence from the Japanese capital’s artistic and music scene, the film captures the heartbeat and energy of the metropolis, resulting in a sumptuous visual love letter to this incredible part of Tokyo.

RedBull Producer, Joseph George, approached Jeremy for the project after being inspired by the director’s short documentary, JUMP.

With Love Letter to Shibuya, Jeremy flexes his multidisciplinary skillset to remarkable effect. Entrusted with complete creative freedom on the film, he single-handedly executed nearly every aspect of the production; not only directing, but also acting as DOP, editing the film, composing the music, mixing the sound and completing the grade. Working around the artists’ tight schedules, Jeremy managed to pull together the shoot in just three days, and completed the edit within six.

Commenting on the process, Jeremy says: “I first came to Tokyo 11 years ago and it completely blew my mind. God knows I’ve had crazy nights in Shibuya, so this project really resonated with me. This was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. On a personal level, it was an honour to show the world my vision and pay respect to this special place. On a professional level, I had complete creative freedom – which is perfect for my style of working, as I do everything. When I shoot, I’m simultaneously editing and also considering the music, so I don’t have to adjust the visuals post-shoot. It’s a very organic process, so seeing the completed identity of the film was very emotional. Thankfully, the brand also loved it.”

Discussing Jeremy’s signing, Laura Gregory, CEO of Great Guns, comments: “We are excited to have discovered Jeremy, his style of work fits with our own search for unique creatives souls. The story of how he found himself living in Tokyo, speaking Japanese and living so far away from his birth home is a life adventure in itself. If you meet him one day I’m sure he’ll share his crazy journey. The influence of Asia on his work shows through in his choices and everything he does. His more recent RedBull and JUMP projects (and the skills he brought to each – including the direction, edit and in some cases music) are standout.”


Tal Zagreba weaves world choreography to create one stunning trans-border performance for J.Views

Grammy-nominated electronic dance artist J.Views launches the music video for his track ‘We Moved (feat. Benja Lyman)’. J.Views has been described by Billboard as a lustrous New York-based producer who creates intimate spaces in sound that are tucked into detailed layers of dazzling synthesizers. Having always been a fan, Great Guns’ Director Tal Zagreba, approached J.Views with the idea to collaborate on the film. #WeMove connects dancers across the world who accumulate their positive energy to destroy J.Views’ physical manifestation of fear. Slowly but surely, as the power of dance unites the world, J.Views begins to channel the energy to break free from the monster’s grip.

“The idea was to explore the connection and solidarity between real people from all over the world. We wanted to show how every one of us affects their surroundings and influences society on a much bigger scale than we could ever imagine,” explains director, Tal Zagreba.

In order to bring all of the dancers together and create a truly global feel, Tal and J.Views reached out to musician’s fanbase around the world asking them to send in footage of themselves dancing which was then integrated into the edit. With careful instruction from Tal as to how it should be filmed, the footage was assembled to create a cohesive dance sequence that connected all of the dancers with the footage of J.Views himself.

With the choreography carefully intertwined, Tal and J.Views brought on animation director Niv Shpigel to design the animation that would add the final interconnecting touches. The energy created by the dancers is visualised in several ephemeral forms, from fluid light trails to sparkling jets and dreamy auras.

Tal adds: “We didn’t want it to be a ‘VFX Video’ that might feel artificial because the most important value for us was keeping it real, and to preserve the authenticity of the footage. We are all very proud of the result but, more than that, we are proud to share this globe with so many awesome, fearless dancers.”

J.Views has previously worked on projects that integrated his fan base into the creative process, seeing him win a Silver Cannes Lion in June 2015 for The DNA Project. The DNA Project was a website presenting the step-by-step making of J.Views’ ‘401 days’ album in real-time. The concept was originally presented as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Jonathan Dagan (J.Views) had a vision to create a multi-layered player for his next album, allowing listeners to access the origins and creative processes behind every song.


Great Guns Omar Hilal shoots the thought provoking spot for Royal Jordanian Airlines through Ogilvy Memac and DejaVu

 

 

Royal Jordanian Airlines have been working hard in the past few years to build awareness for people’s rights. In this latest campaign, they approach the message from an angle that all of us can relate to, to promote serious discussion.  The film highlights cultural prejudice and human fears.

 

The film opens on a camera gliding through a plane’s cabin as people are boarding. As we journey further down the cabin, the concerned faces of multiple passengers suggest that something isn’t quite right. As the tension builds to a crescendo, it is revealed that the source of this concern is nothing more than an Arab passenger taking a seat on the flight.

 

“The film was only possible because of the passion of the director, Omar Hilal, and his production team at DejaVu. – Says Paul Shearer, Group COO at Memac Ogilvy –  It was important to make a positive statement about something that is happening all around us and for Royal Jordanian to speak up was twice as powerful. Being afraid isn’t healthy for anyone”.

 

“It was important for me to make this film,” says Omar Hilal. “Going into this project, I was focused and determined to make a hard-hitting film. I had not felt this thrill or tension on a film set for a long time. We had 12 hours to make the film and we worked every second of it. The hero was a delightful man. He had that perfect mix I was looking for, between looking incredibly kind and friendly and being a cliché of what the media depicts as a threatening Arab.  I hope this spot helps to change that biased vision.”


July 18, 2017

Article published by LBB on the 18th July 2017

The film for the Swedish sportswear brand highlights the uniting power of sport

Great Guns director Klaus Thymann directs the new campaign for Swedish sportswear brand Björn Borg. The brand has established a tennis match on the U.S. and Mexican border with one player on each side of the border, half the tennis court on Mexican soil and the other half on US soil. Borg Open – Tennis across Borders – is an initiative intended to manifest an open world in which sport has the power to unite people and Klaus was the perfect choice to capture the game.
The brand wanted to highlight how the world of today seems full of conflicts; conflicts that can lead to frustration, causing people and nations to build walls between each other. But why build walls, when we could get to know and learn from one another instead? That’s why the Swedish sportswear brand decided to establish a tennis match on the US/Mexican border, at Tijuana River, where a game is played between tennis players Mariano Argote (MX) and Peter Clemente (US). On average a tennis player swaps sides 13 times during a game. In this game, they weren’t allowed to.
“Borg Open is our way to state that we, as a sportswear brand, believe in an open world,” says Henrik Bunge, CEO of Björn Borg. “Unfortunately, the activity is not likely to make those people who promote raising walls change their opinion. But, with our heritage, we know that not only tennis nets, but sport in general, has the power to unite people. We hope to inspire people to reach out to their neighbors and do sport together instead of building walls.”
“This year I have been working a lot with Round & Round and they had the outline for this idea a while ago,” adds Thymann. “I got onboard and made the impossible happen, we are really on the real physical border. We were looking at many sights and wanted to find something that was logistically possible first and foremost. But as we investigated further it turned out this was almost impossible. It was not until I thought of a kind of legal loophole where we did everything from the Mexican side, minus US player, that it became a reality. When we were filming, the US Custom and Border Partol were observing us but never interfered.”
“It is very difficult doing a film shoot not knowing how long you have, and that we could get shut down at any time. So instead of planning the shoot in a more traditional way, we shot with 3-4 cameras simultaneously to get as much footage as possible. It was interesting watching the crew. Because we had such intense pressure, everyone was mega effective, but we still had fun on set”.
You can watch the film here.

June 26, 2017

Published by LBB on the 26th of June 2017

Great Guns director teams with the electronic music group to release music video for ‘Siren Song’

Great Guns director Calum Macdiarmid has released a mesmerising music video ‘Siren Song’ for electronic band Three Laws.

Three Laws (Louise Gold and Adam Relf) are a duo out of London and ‘Siren Song’ originally started out from inspirations of happy memories, before becoming a song about tragedy.

Mixing a blend of dark-pop, Louise’s brooding vocals and solid percussion work throughout the entirety of this track, Three Laws continue to expand their body of work to date, using their atmospheric sound and heartfelt lyrics to deliver another memorable release. Calum Macdiarmid’s interpretation of ‘Siren Song’ takes the viewer to a dark and uncomfortable place where lust, abuse and twisted obsession seem to offer little hope.

“The artist, Three Laws,” says Calum, “are Louise Gold and Adam Relf whom I went to Kingston art college with – we studied illustration together. Louise is the singer and Adam is the visual director of the band as well as producer. Upon being signed to West One they immediately approached me for a video. Their music has a strong cinematic score quality which I was keen to express so I basically pitched them a short film rather than a standard performance piece. The film is a neo-noir Yakuza thriller about a stripper and a mob boss. The idea was to take a low-brow subject and make it beautiful.

“Shooting for the music video was done over a weekend. Although it’s based in a futuristic Tokyo, everything was shot in central London with some of the external shots receiving heavy CGI work (the CGI was done by Adam Relf and myself, competing to create the most believe city compositions – it was pretty much like being back at art school!) while the interiors were shot at the Trafalgar hotel.

“Casting a strong actor for the hero role was crucial, as we needed someone who could hold the camera’s attention for the duration of the film. Luckily, I found Sonny Sun, a mesmerising French actress and model who lit up the screen when combined with Nick Bennett’s flawless cinematography.”

Calum continues: “Saskia Whinney’s hands-on approach was crucial to the project in particular due to her background as a location scout, as she was able to guide us to various locations which she had experience of shooting in before.”

“She offered up her own car for the shoot, and was brave enough to trust an actor to drive it through Blackwall Tunnel at rush hour whilst he performed to the camera… relying on the car’s computer navigation system to keep it in the right lane.”

You can watch the film here.


June 23, 2017

Ilya Naishuller never fails to deliver during award season! He can add another award to his collection as he gets a Bronze Lion in the Music Video category for his “Kolshik” music video for Leningrad!

Watch the music video here.


 

Both our two newly signed directors Tal Zagreba and Ricky Staub won Gold at the YDA this year!

Tal Zagreba bags the award in the Short Film/Middle East category for his “Vows” film. You can watch it here.

Ricky Staub gets awarded for his “The Cage” in “Short film/Northern America” category. You can watch it here.


June 22, 2017

Article published by LBB on the 22nd of June 2017

Ricky has cultivated a deeply human style of filmmaking with astonishing intimacy and a stunning cinematic aesthetic.

To coincide with his being shortlisted at the CFP-E/Shots Young Director Awards, the Global Content Company Great Guns proudly announces the signing of director Ricky Staub to their international roster where he will be repped by Great Guns globally excluding the French and Dutch markets, where he will be repped by Insurrection.

 

Ricky has cultivated a deeply human style of filmmaking with astonishing intimacy and a stunning cinematic aesthetic. He has considerable range, Having directed spots for acclaimed brands Nike, Co
ca-Cola, Jeep, Cadillac, and Anthropologie that blur the line between documentary and fiction, Ricky has cultivated a deeply human style of filmmaking with astonishing intimacy and stunning cinematic aesthetic.
His breathtaking short film, “The Cage” was what first drew Great Guns to Staub’s talent.
Watch “The Cage” here.
Directed and edited by Ricky, “The Cage” is an intense and ultimately transformative story with exceptional performances and dazzling visuals.  More than a tale of redemption, “The Cage” is a story of survival. Philly’s streets try to bring down one young man and entangle him in a web of violence, anger, and death, and it’s up to him to find a way to break free. His only escape may appear to come from the basketball court, but make no mistake, this is not a game.
More than a skilled young director, Ricky’s an artist with a social conscience. While working with Oscar winner M. Night Shyamalan on several projects in Philadelphia, Ricky felt a need to give something back to the community he’d spent more than two years getting to know. He launched a production company, Neighborhood Film Co in a renovated factory in North Philly with the sole purpose of creating an apprenticeship program to employ the formerly incarcerated.
Great Guns are fully aligned with Ricky, supporting not only his directorial career but committed to aiding his personal projects, including the desire to expand his social outreach. Ricky said “I’m thrilled to sign with Great Guns because I feel they not only understand my creative vision but align with my deeper desire to make the process of my craft meaningful. I’m so excited for the body of work we’ll be able to build together!”
See Ricky’s TED TALK on the subject.

June 19, 2017

We are proud to see two of our talented directors shortlisted for the YDA at Cannes Lions: Tal Zagreba with “Vows” and Ricky Staub with “The Cage” both for Short Films; Tal has also been shortlisted in the Music Video category for “Legal Eyes”.

Watch the films here.

YDA shortlist.


Great Guns campaign “Potatoes on Mars” though MEMAC OGILVY & MATHER, Dubai bags a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions 2017.

Read this fantastic article about the project published by The Independent.

Life on Mars? Scientists successfully grow potatoes by replicating Red Planet’s environment

Harsh atmospheric conditions recreated in lab in Peru as astrobiologists prove possibility of cultivating vegetation beyond earth

In a lab in the Peruvian capital of Lima, a simulator mimicking the harsh conditions found on Mars now contains a hint of life: a nascent potato plant.

After experimenting in the Andean nation’s dry, desert soil, scientists have successfully grown a potato in frigid, high carbon-dioxide surroundings.

Though still in early stages, investigators at the International Potato Center believe the initial results are a promising indicator that potatoes might one day be harvested under conditions as hostile as those on Mars.

The findings could benefit not only future Mars exploration, but also arid regions already feeling the impact of climate change.

“It’s not only about bringing potatoes to Mars, but also finding a potato that can resist non-cultivable areas on earth,” said Julio Valdivia, an astrobiologist with Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology who is working with Nasa on the project.

The experiment began in 2016 — a year after the Hollywood film The Martian showed a stranded astronaut surviving by figuring out how to grow potatoes on the red planet.

Peruvian scientists built a simulator akin to a Mars-in-a-box: Frosty below-zero temperatures, high carbon monoxide concentrations, the air pressure found at 6,000 metres (19,700 feet) altitude and a system of lights imitating the Martian day and night.

Though thousands of miles away from colleagues at Nasa’s Ames Research Center in California providing designs and advice, Peru was in many ways an apt location to experiment with growing potatoes on Mars.

The birthplace of the domesticated potato lies high in the Andes near Lake Titicaca, where it was first grown about 7,000 years ago. More than 4,000 varieties are grown in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, where potatoes have sprouted even in cold, barren lands.

The Peruvian scientists didn’t have to go far to find high-salinity soil similar to that found on Mars, though with some of the organic material Mars lacks: Pampas de la Joya along the country’s southern coast receives less than a millimetre of rain a year, making its terrain somewhat comparable to the Red Planet’s parched ground.

International Potato Center researchers transported 700 kilos (1,540 pounds) of the soil to Lima, planted 65 varieties and waited. In the end, just four sprouted from the soil.

In a second stage, scientists planted one of the most robust varieties in the even more extreme conditions of the simulator, with the soil — Mars has no organic soil — replaced by crushed rock and a nutrient solution.

Live-streaming cameras caught every tiny movement as a bud sprouted and grew several leaves while sensors provided around-the-clock monitoring of simulator conditions.

The winning potato: A variety called “Unique.”

“It’s a ‘super potato’ that resists very high carbon dioxide conditions and temperatures that get to freezing,” Valdivia said.

Nasa itself also has been doing experiments on extraterrestrial agriculture, both for use on spacecraft and perhaps on Mars.

Ray Wheeler, the lead for advanced life support research activities at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center, said plant survival in the open on Mars would be impossible given the planet’s low-pressure, cold temperature and lack of oxygen, but showing plants could survive in a greenhouse-type environment with reduced pressure and high carbon-dioxide levels could potentially reduce operating costs. Most research on growing plants in space has focused on optimising environments to get high outputs of oxygen and food.

“But understanding the lower limits of survival is also important, especially if you consider pre-deploying some sort of plant growth systems before humans arrive,” he said.

In the next stage of the experiment, scientists will build three more simulators to grow potato plants under extreme conditions with the hope of gaining a broader range of results. They will also need to increase the carbon dioxide concentrations to more closely imitate the Martian atmosphere.


Published on canneslions.com on 17th June 2017

Lions Health kicked off to a packed room over at the Inspiration Stage in the form of a session called ‘Fighting for Your Creative Life’ hosted by global chief creative officer for McCann Health, Jeremy Perrott. We were introduced to two dynamic and mould-breaking creative artists by the name of Mike Massimino, a former NASA astronaut, and Jonty Toosey, a commercial director, to tell us how they worked within the constraints of their industries and fought for their own personal creative lives to bring their childhood dreams to real life accomplishments.

Massimino told his story of fighting to become an astronaut, something he had dreamed of since being a child. After 4 rejection letters from NASA, Massimino finally made it into space. “To complete repairs to the Hubble and keep it going while improving its technology, those were my missions,” he explained, adding that even though it had taken years to get there, he was still expecting someone to knock on the helmet and tell him they’d got it wrong: “we are going to send someone else instead, Mike”

As the audience giggled, Massimino explained this was because as he was growing up, he thought probability of becoming a space man was very unlikely. “There was always the voice in the back of my mind saying ‘that will never happen’,” he said. “But sometimes the biggest doubters are ourselves. It might be nearly impossible but it’s not.”

“The age of misinformation should be called age of ill-information. The system is us.”

Jonty Toosey

Next on stage is Toosey, who jumps up to the mic with boundless energy, opens his mouth and spills out the words: “Hello, I’m a liar… I lie for a living.”

He elaborates that these are only white lies, mind, and aren’t malicious but “in the era of post truth, I find myself in the heart of this information epidemic where I stage and manipulate reality”. As a commercial director, he explains it’s the industry that makes him do it, like many do; a caving to make our content engaging and for an audience that has a very short attention span.

“If you see a car crash you have to stop and look, and the internet is interpreting this behaviour and it’s constantly delivering these car crashes to us,” he says, with the audience hooked on every word. “Taking the current internet mechanism and mixing in the badness that’s been fed into it makes a really nasty cocktail.”

Toosey continued that big internet companies are currently trying to deal with this toxicity by regulating.

“We don’t want to see jihadists beheading people or child pornography, so the government has decided they would punish these big companies if they don’t remove it from their platforms. But that’s scary as it means the end of democracy and the internet as we know it – who becomes the arbitrator of truth?”

According to Toosey, it’s us who have an ethical responsibility to use truth. We have to be the agitators of the truth and if we don’t we are going back into the dark ages and will lose the internet as we know it.“
The age of misinformation should be called age of ill-information. The system is us. To get noticed in the tsunami of information, we must research new ways of making people share and give content and also make it fun,” he said.

“So that’s what I try make things fun this is what I do. Challenge reality and make that happen in a concise period of time.”

Fighting, and winning
Mike Massimino and Jonty Toosey have very different stories but one thing in common: they are creative artists who have followed their lifelong passions to succeed in highly competitive industries to make their dreams a reality. Their talks, which kept a packed room engaged for a full hour during the opening seminar at Lions Health today, not only shed light on how they achieved childhood desires, but offered an insight into how we must challenge our realities and be the “agitators of truth” in order to find success in a competitive landscape, especially the creative industry.

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