CITIZEN FUNK caught up for a chat with Stink TV Filmmaker Rohan Blair-Mangat, an individual who is both charming and refreshingly unpretentious despite his recent success. Rohan is responsible for directing a number of short films and music videos, gaining plenty of praise for his body of work so far.
With his reputation growing, more opportunities have occurred, such as being chosen to direct visuals for DJ Fresh Feat. Rita Ora’s chart topping single ‘Hot Right Now’, which has notched up over 28 million YouTube views already. Rohan has also directed videos for a number of established artists, such as Kano, Gorillaz Sound System, Dizzee Rascal, Goldielocks, Herve and most recently, British X Factor finalist Misha B’s ‘Home Run’ video.
Further evidence of Rohan’s talents can be found in his efforts for esteemed brands Red Bull and Nike and his viral films for Adidas, including the ‘Messiah’ campaign featuring FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, for which Rohan won a Cannes Bronze Lion Award in 2011.
Photography By: Emma Woolrych
What inspired you to get into directing?
When I was little I used to watch TV with my Grandad, we would watch it all day till my eyes were sore. All the old shows like the A Team, Man From Uncle and classic films like the Godfather, Blade Runner and Vertigo. My earliest memory is watching the Empire Strikes Back with him and that film always stuck with me because it was the first story I ever heard or saw where the good guys lost at the end. I guess the power of the moving image for storytelling really had an impact on me and so I always wanted to direct.
Describe your style of filmmaking?
I try and make really emotive work, for me the story is paramount but I like things to look nice as well. I would say my style is quite natural, observational and photographic. Where possible I like to use real people, locations and natural light.
What do you want people to gain from watching your work?
I really want people to feel the emotion I try and create in my work and in the more narrative based stuff I hope the stories are engrossing and come across clearly. I’m grateful to everyone that takes the time to watch my stuff.
You’re a passionate football fan, what was it like to work with arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi?
It was completely surreal to be honest; to go from shooting small projects from friends to making that was incredible. I still remember it so vividly especially the levels of excitement amongst people on the day and how humble and accommodating he was. As a football fan I’ve been lucky to work with a few players and its always a lot of fun.
How did Stink TV approach you?
I actually contacted Stink, I was looking for a new production company and I am a massive fan of their work. They have made some really special films, like the Kanye West Power video, Phillips Carousel and Stink Digital is really doing some exciting things. So for me it was a huge honour and surprise that they wanted to represent me.
What does it mean to you to be apart of an established company like Stink TV?
It means a lot, as you say they are very established and offer an amazing support network. It’s great to be able to draw on their experience and advice and also to have them representing me.
What equipment are you currently using to film?
I started my career shooting myself on a Canon 7D and I still like to shoot stuff with it but most of my recent work has been shot by several very talented DPs mostly on the Red Epic with anamorphic lenses. I love the look you can achieve with real anamorphics, it’s very cinematic.
If you had the opportunity to film anywhere, where would it be and why?
I always wanted to shoot something in LA and I got to do that with Hot Right Now which was amazing. I guess I’d love to shoot again at the Emirates. When I shot there the last time it was guerrilla with a 7D and no shoulder mount so I’d love to go back on a job with permission and shoot with more coverage and create something a bit more polished.
Do you have any hobbies?
I play football every Sunday with my friends and I watch as many films as I can, everything from obscure art house films to big blockbusters. I’m also kind of addicted to Fifa on the PS3.
After gaining your well-deserved recent success, what’s next for you?
I’m just trying to keep growing and learning as a director, there is a short film idea I really want to make and hopefully I’ll do that soon.