Capturing the public imagination to launch BFI Southbank

Under Waterloo Bridge on London’s South Bank is a place that has long been a favourite location for film fans. With the launch of BFI Southbank, the site of the National Film Theatre is set to become the place for anyone who loves film.

New audiences

It’s also the location we chose to help promote this centre for UK film and television to new audiences. The BFI asked us to create a campaign that would raise awareness of the revamped attractions and connect with people who might like film but aren’t really bothered who the second grip was on the Third Man.

Iconic images

Our idea was to imprint in people’s minds that BFI Southbank is the home of film and television. We sketched out scenes from screen classics and set them on the South Bank. The shots we chose had to be iconic as well as reflect the breadth of films the BFI put on and the audiences they want to attract.

The shortlist was Gene Kelly in the classic musical, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’; the gang of droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s controversial, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and Count Orlok from the silent horror, ‘Nosferatu’.

Lens flare

Armed with our ideas and sketches we cast around for a photographer that could evoke the look, style and impact of classic film images. As soon as we saw Mitch Jenkins’ work we knew he was the person for the job.

Mitch’s enthusiasm for the project was unbounded and it needed to be. Shooting between 4 and 8 in the morning to capture all three images tested Mitch’s professionalism to the limit. At one point he was standing in a pool of water, filling with raindrops from clouds and a machine, trying to capture all the carefree joy of Singin’ in the Rain.

Big production

As soon as one shot was completed Mitch went to the next scene which had already been meticulously prepared by his team. The rather startled commuters who started arriving as dawn broke probably thought they were walking onto a film set.

We worked with Mitch on the night and art directed the shoot to make sure we had all the detail we needed to build a brilliant campaign.

Where film lives

For people who know film these images are iconic. For those who don’t know the original films they are powerful, intriguing, cinematic stills. And anyone who sees this campaign will know that BFI Southbank is where film lives.