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Hughes William Thompson | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Hughes William Thompson

A New Man

Hughes William Thompson

1) How did you get into directing?
I started out as a youngster taking lots of acting lessons and improv classes but gradually made my way behind the camera. I loved being able to craft the world of a film — it was magical to capture stories and sequences that only previously existed in my head. I was addicted.

2) What is your most recent project?
My most recent project was a piece for the NYC non-profit Hudson Guild that explores the amazing work they’re doing to better the West Chelsea community.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
There is no better feeling than being on set and seeing images, characters, and scenes you’ve been thinking about for weeks play out in front of you in reality. It feels like a superpower to be able to conjure up dreams so that other people can see them. And it’s so rewarding when an audience really connects with the work and is affected by it. Maybe it’s sociopathic but it’s fun to affect people.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
It’s lousy when the real world interferes with what you’re trying to do. Sometimes it’s the realities of production or money, but it can be such a sad moment when there’s an image or moment that you love that can’t be brought to life. Granted there are usually creative solutions, but there’s always that initial let-down.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I’m currently focused on commercials and branded content. I really love stylish comedy—the richer the tone, the better.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I feel I’ve had a collection of mentors down the line. One of my favorite lessons was from Rebecca Miller who instilled within me the value and power of performance—it’s amazing how much latitude a scene can have and subtle changes can have major effects. I’m currently learning a lot about filmmaking for brands from David Gaddie who is the founder of The Colony, the production company with which I’ve recently signed.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
In terms of films, I’m a huge fan of David Lynch. I think he’s in a genre all his own, and I love getting lost in his subconscious world. In advertising, I’m a huge fan of Tom Kuntz. His work is incredibly bold and committed to the absurd.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
I’d say my favorite film is David Lynch’s Eraserhead—there’s something so beautiful about its darkness. With commercials, I love all of Tom Kuntz’s work but my favorite of all of his spots is “Fruit By The Foot—Replacements” for its simplicity and great, restrained performances.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and my first film was a 40-minute Kung Fu epic filmed in the suburbs when I was 12. I attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and had a short student film screen at the American Pavilion at Cannes. Since then I have made short films, including A New Man, which was supported by the Kevin Spacey Foundation and attracted a Young Director Award (YDA) in 2014. I’m now directing commercials and content at The Colony in New York.


Sharon Lew - U.S.
New Business @ The Colony
Sylvaine Mella - Europe
Executive Producer, Stink