Director Jono Hall’s debut film signals the levelling up of a bold visual storyteller

Gentlemen Films director Jono Hall’s debut film ‘Awake’ is a bold and captivating emotional experience that lingers in your memory and behind your eyelids long after you’ve watched it. Breaking free from the constraints of the commercials world, ‘Awake’ serves as a testament to Jono’s ever-expanding talent at creating striking work that is classy and restrained, yet still able to deliver utterly unexpected and attention-grabbing moments. It is a meticulously crafted film made by a confident visual storyteller who shows every indication of levelling-up in his career. Hell yeah!

First developed during a Gentlemen Films writer’s retreat in the Midlands, the script was a pandemic baby – worked, re-worked and re-re-worked through lockdown and shot in Joburg at the tail-end of Covid. Currently playing on the international festival circuit, it will be released as soon as it has finished its run – and yes, due to film-circuit rules, we can’t actually show you the film… YET. But, we can give you the official blurb (‘Ben and Laura, a young married couple whose relationship is eroding, are forced to confront those fractures when they realise that history may be repeating itself. But not in a way they could ever have anticipated’), and also tell you how it made us feel. Which was A LOT!

‘Awake’ is lush, emotionally charged and reflects the essence of what Jono brings as a director: bold style and the ability to bring feeling and weight to an idea. Because for Jono, it’s always about having the sensitivity and awareness to fully realise whatever the main idea is, especially when directing commercials. And that is what we think ‘Awake’ is – a beguiling and bold idea, filled with moving performances from stars Kate Liquorish and Conrad Kemp and beautifully cinematic.

And the story? Well… you’ll have to wait and see.

First, get a taste by watching the trailer.

‘Awake’ Short Film trailer

‘Awake’ is testament to just the kind of passionate person Jono is. Whether it’s filmmaking or cricket, he lays it all on the table. As with Jono’s latest commercial work for Pick n Pay, Budget and Hyundai, his film is a showcase of a director deeply in love with his craft. Jono says: ‘I don’t ever want anyone to think that they are not getting 1000% of my creativity and time. Every ounce of creativity that I have I will squeeze it out, it doesn’t matter if it is the smallest retail job or the biggest brand job, it’s a core component of who I am. I want you to feel as excited and as passionate as I do.’ And when around Jono, you do.

Here are some of our favourite Jono Hall commercial spots.

Budget ‘Archie’

Hyundai Venue ‘The 4am Club’

Pick n Pay ’55th Anniversary’

Greg Rom, Executive Producer at Gentlemen Films says: ‘Whether it’s commercials or film, Jono is always crafting. He brings such a tenacity to each project he undertakes. He’s in commercials because he loves filmmaking, he will throw himself on the tracks to do it.’

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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