In April 2009, executive producer, Oliver Lawrance; director, Scott Otto Anderson and producer, Florence Tourbier, launched a boutique production company dedicated to the limitless potential of storytelling in all its forms.
Photoplay is now ten years old.
Last Thursday night, September 19, the advertising and production industries got together at Porteno in Surry Hills, Sydney, to help Photoplay make its tenth birthday party noisy, crowded, swamped with music and drenched in fun – in a single word, perfect.
“We were naive about the advertising industry when we started out but I think that impressionability gets you everywhere and gives you the energy to keep going,” Lawrance commented.
“Essentially, we broke away to start our own venture to be free to play on all kinds of creative projects that interested us whether commercial or not, all under the one roof,” he added. Those interests included film and TV, long-form and short films as well as commercial work.
They still do.
Photoplay is more than a company entering its second decade and a helluva lot more than its beginnings as a bunch of three self-confessed naïve filmmakers knocking about in a Redfern warehouse. It’s a group that also includes Photoplay Film & TV, Photoplay Photography and Photoplay Playtime and is one of the major production houses in Australia.
The group has just moved to Alexandria, in a space that will allow its film and TV side to continue to grow and develop.
“We now represent eighteen directors and ten photographers,” Lawrance added, “and Photoplay has a reputation for supporting an eclectic mix of brave storytellers and, we hope, even braver stories.”
Here are ten of Photoplay’s favourite braver stories by its brave storytellers, with behind-the-scenes notes by Lawrance:
This ABC TV feature documentary was the first project we put through Photoplay funded by the ABC.
We wanted to be a production company that could do both creative commercials & our own creative film and TV projects in the one place.
PAULS MILK – EXTRAORDINARY DAIRY
Crazy, crazy set build of miniatures & life-size sets. It pushed our limits and we worked on the designs for so many months to pull this off. Scott Otto Anderson was in his element. Shot in Prague with our friends at The Monkeys.
A real zoetrope built for real with our friends TBWA in Singapore & Six Toes. It won a string of awards at Cannes Lions etc.
I love the craft of the Blackmores campaign that we created with our friends at The Monkeys. We got to set the brand style and worked on it across three directors – Lucinda Schreiber, Scott Otto Anderson & Dropbear. Even the food scenes were animated for real…
Photoplay was a production partner with Bunya Productions on this feature film which won sox AACTA awards including Best Australian Film of the Year.
SONY DSLR NO IDEA
This was a series of online films which worked incredibly well virally. Each of the separate films achieved millions of hits. We created this with our friends at Havas and it did well at awards including Cannes.
P&O SOUTH PACIFIC EXPERTS
This campaign directed by Gary John was a wild undertaking as we had to shoot on islands in three countries, including PNG. It was a logistical achievement for us to pull it off. Worked with our friends at Bashful.
Amazing design and set build concept by director, Dropbear. It was an installation that worked for real and was such an undertaking. Created in collaboration with our friends at BMF.
BONDS – GOTTA BE BONDS + QUEENDOM
A hugely successful campaign for Bonds that rode the zeitgeist, created with our friends at Leo Burnett. Director, Gracie Otto.
NAB: STORY OF PROGRESS
A campaign of six films. One of our biggest campaigns as there were so many films & three directors involved in it. A huge rebrand campaign for NAB with our friends at Clemenger BBDO.
View the six main films here.
For Lawrance, being true to Photoplay’s core values has always mattered. “It’s our emphasis on craft and storytelling in anything we do. It’s that we’ve never been fazed by big or small budgets and that we’ve always been about approaching every project from a filmmaking angle.
“We’re never a copy and paste production company; we are a creative partner that helps intriguing ideas come to life.”