This week on Filmmaker Friday, we have Chris Cunningham stopping by to tell us how having a famous name can have some drawbacks, but some perks as well:
In the film & television industry your name is important. Experience and reputation go a long way.
My name, Chris Cunningham.
Several fans have told me how talented I am and how much they love my work. They often want to meet up or volunteer on one of my sets —that is, until I tell them I’m not the Chris Cunningham they’re thinking of.
Chris Cunningham is the name of a well known British film director whose credits include music videos for Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Björk. He directed commercial spots for Gucci and Playstation. Stanley Kubrick personally head-hunted Cunningham to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
In my 12+ years as a producer in the film industry, I’ve been mistaken for the British Chris Cunningham many, many times.
One of those times was when asked about the possibility of getting a set of Panavision C-Series Anamorphic lenses (the ones used on Saving Private Ryan) for a low budget music video. I was sure it would be an easy “no” but when I called Panavision Hollywood they were more than happy to ship them out to me immediately with a heavily discounted rate. Their only questions was, “Why Canada? Are you living there now?” These prized lenses were temporarily lost on the return FedEx journey causing quite a panic. But that’s another story…
When I produced a bunch of music videos for The Weeknd there was a small controversy online about why Chris Cunningham was producing and not directing the videos. To this day if you look up who produced those videos it shows his photo.
I’ve even been emailed and asked when I am going to pick up my paycheque for directing an Academy Awards promo. Yes, I let them know they emailed the wrong person… :)
Of course, I’m a big fan. Here’s a link to one of Chris Cunningham’s best: