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D&AD Next Director Award Interview - Pensacola

Together, Pau Suris & Pau Dalmases make up the directing duo Pensacola. Currently based in New York, the pair have worked on projects globally, writing and directing music videos and commercials for Giffgaff to Coca Cola and iD magazine to ASOS.

In 2015, their film Mr Flash: 'Midnight Blue' was shortlisted for the D&AD Next Director Award. We caught up with them to see what they’re currently working on and hear if they had any top tips for fledgling filmmakers.

Mr Flash - Midnight Blue

What are you up to now and what’s next for you?

Keeping busy as always and trying to create new, better work that to builds on our directorial voice.
Currently we’re working on some international commercials before finding our way back to music videos, something we put aside for the past year or so. And as well as the usual submitting to Labs and Festivals etc, we’re also in the process of writing and developing a feature film.
How did you two meet and what are the benefits of working as a team?

It’s always better to bounce ideas of someone to make them better. I don’t think there has been a single time when working as a team hasn’t made a project, an idea, or even a shot better. It also takes a lot of pressure off one’s shoulders.

It also allows you to work more: sometimes we are away shooting and we get the option to work on another interesting project. Instead of turning it down we can each take some moments off to work on the pitch, then we share it and rework it…
Also, being in a team allows us to keep moving, which is ultimately what we want. Because we’re working in many different countries: Mexico, Greece, US, Europe, China... we are bringing into the team a third member, Pablo Larcuen, who is an amazing director with a really strong directorial voice, which complements Pensacola perfectly.

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What would be your dream project?

We’d love to start working with VR in a narrative way. We would love to find a way to make use of it as new format rather than just as a gimmick. It would be great to find a project that fits the medium so well that the story can only be told in VR.

Other than that, would love to do the next NIKE football campaign starring Messi and Neymar. We’d like to make it as a comedy with both trying to prove Brazilians are better than Argentinians, and vice versa.

What’s been the key to your success?

We don't think in those terms.  We  just love to keep working on what we like and doing it better and better all the time. The hope is to get to the point where you have some influence and can even inspire other people to get out there and try fun, crazy things for themselves.
I think the key to staying afloat in this business is that we like what we do and we’re always eager to develop and improve. We haven’t lost the thrill. I think that’s it: we still like to get together with people and shoot weird things whilst having a laugh.


What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on since being shortlisted?

There have been three French lottery commercials which were the biggest production we have been involved in, and that was fun with a really nice crew. Also our third big GiffGaff spot we wrote and directed.
Some of the most exciting things have been some pitches that we didn't win, but helped give birth to some really interesting and new ideas anyway.  Ultimately the most amazing part of our work is coming up with new things and finding a way to turn them into a reality on a budget.
How important are competitions and awards shows for creatives?

Competitions and awards put you on the map. Being shortlisted for the Next Director Award also meant we got introduced to a mentor from the industry. It was very interesting to talk to him. Over a year later, we are still in touch and sometimes we call him up when we have questions about fees, productions, etc.

The D&AD Next Director Award unearths the best new talent and promotes it back into the industry. The competition is open to new directors with less than two years professional experience.

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