Q&A | Director Hopi Allard on igniting his imagination and impact of pandemic on filmmaking Q&A | Director Hopi Allard on igniting his imagination and impact of pandemic on filmmaking

Q&A | Director Hopi Allard on igniting his imagination and impact of pandemic on filmmaking

Director Hopi Allard's body of work is a marriage between the ethereal and visceral. 

Each story by the UK-based filmmaker is told humbly, but with finesse and he traverses genres effortlessly – each project wielding a still, authentic voice. 

His past collaborations include Adidas x Stella McCartney, Prada, Marc Jacobs, BBC and Vans.

Allard has previously worked on a successful Al Dar 'Mamsha Al Saadiyat' project with electriclimefilms in the Middle East, creating abstract and dreamlike scenes to give the film texture and ambiguity as it jumps around in time and space.

We had a chat with Allard, who electriclimefilms represent in the APAC and Middle East regions, which you can see below.

Above: Hopi Allard on set of Adidas x Stella McCartney

Throughout the filmmaking process, what’s your favourite part about it and why?

Hopi Allard: My favourite part of the film making process is probably the bit that happens in between the ‘productive’ moments. Sometimes even before the project begins.

It’s the micro ideas that come to you when your doing something else that end up igniting your imagination or solving that creative problem. They usually exist as a bunch of weird notes and scribbles in a pad that would mean almost nothing to anyone else. The trick is trying to tap back into that initial spark, feeling or image and use it in your work.

What do you find most difficult/challenging about being a director?

The thing I find most challenging about being a director is all the questions that are directed at you on set. The actual reality of our role is often just working ways round obstructions be it budgetary or physical and creating solutions. 

I guess that’s why pre-production is so important to really distill the essence of the idea so the answers can be more effortless and you can rest assured that all the HODs are on the same page even if you don’t have the time you’d like with them on the day.

Do you have a set way you approach each project, or is it always different?

I’d say each project is different in terms of what the shoot days look like. For example some may require understanding a new piece of kit, which often means embracing a new rhythm or pace to the shoot.

That said my approach is usually the same: Work out the essence of the idea and try and keep that safe through out the raging storm of production problems that arise, rolling with inevitable punches and embracing compromise that is almost always necessary.

Above: Hopi Allard on set with David Beckham

Is there a particular project or moment from your filmmaking past which you’re most proud of or stands out?

I think the film that stands out most from my current reel is the Adidas x Stella McCartney film I did in 2019. 

It was one of those projects where things just come together in a very intuitive way and as a result was a really fun project to work on. I think we were able to capture an authentic essence of The Hellcats raw energy whilst still presenting it with a more polished sports film aesthetic.

Has the pandemic changed your approach to directing and the process behind it?

I count my self as very fortunate that the pandemic hasn’t yet profoundly effected me in a very negative way. I did of course go through the angst of financial worry, having had many projects slip away. I found i needed to adapt to a different rhythm at home with no childcare in a kind of forced sabbatical from work. And for this I retrospectively feel very lucky.

I guess this time taught me that creativity is a feeling and how you present yourself at all times (even outside of work) effect your outlook and in tern your output.

I definitely now have an enlarged appreciation for the small moments and try to embrace more regularly opportunities to be under stimulated. I am truly grateful for the lessons I learnt about patient, present and seeing the bigger picture.

On a practical level I also learnt it is possible to successfully direct remotely.

What’s next for Hopi Allard?

I definitely have a renewed excitement for connecting with people and filmmaking in general.

Without naming projects I have a few things I’ve been chipping away at that I’m excited to get off the ground and share with the world when they are ready.

To see Allard's work, click here