Best of Reel for Direction Craft awarded to Porteus Xandau from Golden Planes.

The SA Film Reel awards the very best in craft by Productions companies in South Africa. This month we asked Mike Barnwell, Executive Creative Director at FCB Cape Town, to select his standouts. Congratulations to all the winners.

Golden Planes | Porteus Xandau (Direction)

Carbon Films | Bruno Bossi (Direction)
DebtBusters ‘Numbers’

Velocity Films | Greg Gray (Direction)
Investec Private Bank ‘More than Data’

Judges Comments by Mike Barnwell, Executive Creative Director at FCB Cape Town

BEST OF REEL: Surrender by Porteus Xandau from Golden Planes.

Surrender is a wonderful piece of storytelling that had me completely captivated for the full 6.31mins. Actually, 13.02mins seeing as I ended up watching it twice. An amazing feat in itself considering I generally have the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. What really kept me glued from beginning to end though was the incredibly authentic delivery of Milton’s testimonial. At no point did I feel like I was listening to someone reading from an overly crafted script. Visually, I also loved the restraint the director showed by holding himself back from deploying the usual visual gimmickry normally associated with a retrospective story. No gratuitous flashbacks and no over the top performances all make this piece feel so pure and honest, I’m still not sure whether the film is fact or fiction. Storytelling at its best. Well done Porteus Xandau.

SPECIAL MENTION: DebtBusters ‘Numbers’ directed by Bruno Bossi at Carbon Films.

The first is Bruno Bossi’s Debt Busters spot. I think this ad is the perfect blend of tight editing, great sound design and well composed cinematography. But it all would have fallen horribly flat without the very believable performance of the lead character. Bruno does a brilliant job portraying the inner torment this man is going through as he progressively gets himself deeper and deeper into debt. By the end of the ad you have so much empathy for the poor fellow that you desperately want to try help him out yourself. And all of this achieved in a mere 40 seconds. Not easy. Unless of course you’re Bruno Bossi.

SPECIAL MENTION: Investec Private Bank ‘More than Data’ directed by Greg Gray at Velocity Films.

My second special mention is Greg Gray’s spot for Investec. I can just imagine how daunting a script like this would be to take on. A sequence of extreme close-up head shots, seamlessly blended together, all delivering one continuous piece of dialogue. Overlay some amazing abstract animation to really make things interesting and you have a script most directors would run a mile from. Fortunately, Greg isn’t most directors and as usual, he bitch-slaps this challenge upside the head the same brilliant way he does every other job. Personally, I think he was just inspired by my profile pic. Just saying.

About Our Judge

Mike joined FCB Cape Town in March 2012 after returning to South Africa from his Auckland based post as Executive Creative Director of Publicis Mojo New Zealand. Prior to FCB CT, Mike carved out his creative reputation working on a wide range of accounts at agencies including Net#work BBDO, FCB JHB and Grey South Africa.
In 2005, aged 33, Mike took the helm as Grey South Africa’s ECD and was tasked with raising the creative profile of the agency. In just two years, he led Grey SA to become the No.1 creatively ranked agency worldwide in the Grey network and No 10. in WPP. During his 5 year tenure, they were never ranked out of Grey’s top three with consistent performances year on year.
A year after his arrival in Cape Town, FCB CT enjoyed their best creative awards haul ever picking up numerous accolades including their first ever Loeries Grand Prix and Creative Circle Ad of the Year. A result, which helped, propels the FCB Group to 3rd overall on the local creative table. In his nearly two decades in the industry, Mike has had extensive experience across almost every category, from cars to cellular networks, but still enjoys the thrill of learning something new every day.
He has been a juror at the Cannes Awards, D&AD, The Clio Awards, The London International Awards and the local Loeries numerous times and currently sits on the FCB Global Creative Council.
In his spare time, he tries to get some exercise in and be a good dad to his son Leo and daughter Finley Mae.

All SA Film Reel Entries

0307 Films | Paul Ward (Direction)
Puma ‘Run the Streets’

Arcade Content | Kyle Lewis (Direction)
Pure ‘No Secrets’

Bioscope Films | Hylton Tannenbaum (Direction)
Toyota Corolla ‘Love Driving’

Darling Films (Direction)
Multichoice DSTV ‘Month Of Love’ 

Giant Films | Peri van Papendorp (Direction)
TOPS At SPAR ‘TOPS Campaign’

Passing Trains | Etienne de Villiers (Direction)
Cash Crusaders ‘Goodbye Cellphone’

Spitfire Films | Markstry (Direction)
Knorr ‘Mzansi Pasta’

Spitfire Films | AK, Peter, Akin (Direction)
MNET ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

They | Grant De Sousa (Direction)
Simba ‘Mapha’
*Directed whilst Grant was represented by CAB films

Aces Up Post Production | Gareth James (Editing)
Knorr ‘Mzansi Pasta’

Aces Up Post Production | Ryan Young & Gareth James (Editing)
MNET ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

Upstairs Ludus (Offline, Grade & Online)
Toyota ‘Love Driving’

Upstairs Ludus (Offline, Grade & Online)
DSTV ‘Month of Love – Taxi’      

Hugh Davison Music Composition and Production | Hugh Davison (Original Mix)
Toyota ‘Love Driving’

Sonar Studios | Chris Querido (Original Music)
Opel ‘Mokka X’

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