Superhuman Tom Tagholm takes a leap into a clear blue sky with his new short film The Parachutist
Alice Jones' Arts Diary
The “Meet the Superhumans” campaign for Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics is widely held to be the best of 2012 and has a cabinet full of prizes – including Campaign of the Year, and a clutch of British Television Advertising and Arrow Awards to prove it.
Now its creator Tom Tagholm is moving into movies. Tagholm, 40, left his job as Network Creative Director, overseeing all of Channel 4’s advertising, after 11 years last summer. His new short, The Parachutist, screened at a Film4 showcase last week and is already touring the film festivals.
A quirky time-travel romance, it follows a German pilot who leaps from his plane in the Second World War and lands in an English suburban back garden in 2012.
“I was on a train, travelling back from my brother’s wedding in Cornwall, and saw a parachutist in a clear blue sky and no plane in sight. It struck me as a really good image so I kind of started with the poster and built out from there. It’s not really the way you’re supposed to do it if you’re a proper film-maker, but my background is advertising.”
The film, produced by Film4, the BFI and Various Films, stars the German actor Oliver Bigalke and Michael Smiley (Utopia) and was shot over 8 days in England and the suburbs of Berlin. “I didn’t want to make a sci-fi film, I wanted to make it deadpan, slightly flat. A tiny suburban story with a big conceit”.
Tagholm’s last short, A Bout de Truffe (2007), about the worst truffle hunter in France, won prizes at TCM Classic Shorts and Raindance festivals and was Bifa-nominated. He is now working on two feature films, one in LA and one in London.
A decade in TV advertising prepared him well for the world of film, he says. “At Channel 4, I was shooting a lot and working on big ideas. You stay match fit and you’re sharpening your vision all the time. We worked a lot with celebrities, or sportspeople who don’t have much time so you get used to being ready to get what you need in a matter of minutes.”
On both The Parachutist and A Bout de Truffe, he worked with 4Creative editor Tim Hardy, aka the man who came up with the idea of setting the Paralympics advert to Public Enemy’s “Harder than you think”.
“He sent me that track and we knew the search was over”, says Tagholm. “I’m still stunned by the reaction to the campaign. It was exactly what we wanted. We want to make something that would make people feel.” Public Enemy also approved.
“They got in touch and invited us to see them play in London. We went backstage and I was talking about raising kids with Chuck D and film-making with Flavor Flav. It was surreal”, adds Tagholm.
Also in the arts diary:
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 MH370: 'Putin ordered plane to be flown to Kazakhstan space port,' conspiracy theory claims
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Catwoman comes out as bisexual
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
Grace Dent on TV: Mary Portas: Secret Shopper delves into a grim cornucopia of retail wrongness
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East