Tag Heuer, The Fold London and Google Arts and Culture by Alex Simpson

It’s been a busy summer so far with lots of great projects to work on and huge variety.

The last couple of months have seen me work with Progress Film, directing content for their biggest campaign project so far, an exciting collaboration with Tag Heuer and four of their superstar sponsored tennis athletes.

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It’s also been brilliant to work with new client The Fold. The Fold is a contemporary British label focused on dressing and inspiring the modern, professional woman and together we shot 5 films and a series of smaller social edits featuring 5 trailblazing women in the beauty, art, fashion and broadcasting sector.

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Last week saw the completion of a film collaboration with Google Arts and Culture and Lovers whose commission saw me direct a film centred around Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen and his latest work for the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park.

The Deep Listener is an immersive app that allows you to listen to species in the park through AR (augmented reality) in ways which otherwise can’t be heard. On arriving at a location in the Deep Listener a person will move through up to 30 different audio layers to experience their surroundings in unique and previously unheard ways. To find out more check it out here.

You can listen to the deep earth breathing of a tree, or the roots, and the bark or the wind.
— Jakob Kudsk Steensen
 

Nowness Premiere by Alex Simpson

Wonderful to see Dambe find a home on art + culture video platform Nowness this week. It hit the homepage yesterday and is being premiered exclusively on the site and their social channels all this week.

To check out the full film head here. Full write up below.

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DAMBE

Blood, sweat and bandages...Step into the boxing ring and uncover Nigeria’s very own fight club

“Nigerian Dambe is a brutal and exhilarating sport. A fight to the knockout with prize money at stake,” say Alex Simpson and Sebastian Barros, the London-based co-directors behind this new project. “This style of Nigerian boxing is fiercely competitive and largely undocumented.”

“Beyond the strikes and intimidating stares there’s a depth to Dambe that you may not have known existed”

The story of Dambe is told through the eyes of 35-year-old Taiwo, a street boxer from Ogun State, Nigeria. Simpson and Barros conducted parts of Taiwo’s interview on top of one of Lagos’s many unfinished tower blocks that provide cinematic sunburnt views across the former capital. Shots reveal the Ogun fighter training in empty stairwells, underneath bypasses and with a make-shift punch bag made from rice. “We wanted to capture the essence of Dambe in a cinematic way,” say the directors. “Witnessing the practice through the eyes and experience of Taiwo felt like the most personal and effective way to do it.” 

Dambe is fought in rounds of three, or less if an opponent is knocked out. The fighters are self-taught and surreptitiously learn the rules and techniques of the game by watching other fights. The most fascinating feature of Dambe is the competitor’s primary weapon, a single arm bandaged in cotton and rope—not for their own protection but to deliver devastating blows. What started as a rural sport in Northern Nigeria has become a national phenomenon that is now somewhat funded by the government and has a dedicated channel on YouTube (Dambe Warriors) boasting millions of online views.

“Beyond the strikes and intimidating stares there’s a depth to Dambe that you otherwise may not have known existed,” the London filmmakers comment. “The sport is steeped in tradition and surrounded by theories of supernatural protection and magical amulets.” Dambe fighters may receive money, cattle or jewelry as winnings but Taiwo explains that the real prize is the glory and adoration the competitor receives from the crowd. Simpson and Barros conclude, “When Taiwo spoke of his fights we felt the enthusiasm pour out of him—reliving each fight with intensity and affection in equal measure.”

 

Personal Work by Alex Simpson

It’s been great to finally get a couple of new personal film projects underway and shot this June.

The first, a short piece centred around GB paralympian Gaz Choudhry. Gaz, who is a member of the British wheelchair basketball team features both on and off the court, narrating over the inspirational visuals throughout.

The same week a (very!) small crew and I travelled up to a remote area of the Lake District and spent 2 days shooting another inspirational person, this time fell runner Calum Tinnion. Our luck was in as 2 weeks of rain eased off and some soft rays of sunshine poked their way through the clouds helping us to capture some beautiful shots.

Looking forward to sharing them both soon.

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Prints in Progress by Alex Simpson

It was wonderful to work with the team at Phase Eight recently and create a film to celebrate their 40th birthday this year. We chose to focus on the raw elements of the design process whilst introducing three limited edition dresses throughout, designed especially to mark the anniversary.

 

All Boobs Welcome by Alex Simpson

It was great fun being part of the brand new #AllBoobsWelcome campaign for Tu Clothing, released this month.

We had the opportunity to chat with 26 wonderful women over 2 days, hearing their opinions on all things boobs, body confidence, self acceptance and bra fit.

It was also the biggest (and only) all female crew I’ve ever worked with, totalling over 45 ladies!

All Boobs Welcome Campaign Images. Agency: Portas

All Boobs Welcome Campaign Images. Agency: Portas

 

Phase Eight SS19 Collection by Alex Simpson

For Phase Eight’s new SS19 collection we were keen to incorporate as much movement and upbeat energy into the campaign film as possible (made easy because of superstar model Astrid who’s always smiling!

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