Review of the Year 2015: director Kim Gehrig
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In the second of our interviews with ten creatives whose have had a remarkable 2015, Kim Gehrig reflects on her work and hopes for next year.
Australian director Kim Gehrig has a slew of great ads, short films and music videos in her show reel and has worked with some of the biggest brands including Vodafone, Ikea, Cadbury and Asics. But it was the incredible work she did for Sport England with the This Girl Can campaign earlier this year that highlighted what a true talent Kim is. Launched in January, This Girl Can aimed to encourage women and girls to exercise by showing a series of women as they worked out confidently, overcoming the fear of judgement everyone has experienced at some point. Many hailed the ad as the first health campaign that didn’t shame or exclude women and instead celebrated the individual stories of these ladies.
Next on Kim’s agenda was a slickly choreographed ad for Honda, in which dozens of people moved seamlessly around a car. Packing the same sparkling energy as This Girl Can, the ad was polished, technical and the contrast between the projects demonstrates Kim’s diversity.
The director has ended the year in spectacular fashion with her direction of the most anticipated ad of the year, the John Lewis Christmas ad. The first female director tasked with the job, Kim tells the story of a little girl who spots an old man living on the moon. Charming and simply communicated, it’s a wordless homage to the idea of giving at Christmas.
Below, Kim tells us her highlights of 2015 and some of the big lessons she’s learned.
What was your creative highlight of 2015?
When I opened Facebook and my first friend from childhood in Australia had posted my This Girl Can ad on her feed as inspiration, having no idea I had done it. That made me realise it had actually touched normal women all over the world.
What was your lowlight of 2015?
Hurting my back on my Honda shoot, which was all choreography. I couldn’t jump around like I normally do and felt very restricted sitting in a chair to direct. Frustrating.
What do you think are the markers of a good year creatively?
This year felt good… I think because all my projects this year managed to be released in a form I was really happy with. That doesn’t always happen. They all felt complete somehow. Real collaborations between myself and the agencies. And they were all a lot of fun, and that for me is satisfying.
Which piece of work from the last year has been your favourite to work on?
I enjoyed them all, but probably This Girl Can because of all the great women I got to meet. Honda was more of a brain strain, and I love problem solving. I also really enjoyed John Lewis as the team were amazing to work with, and helped me not feel so daunted by the project.
Which piece of work from the last year do you feel has been most significant to your portfolio/career?
At the beginning of the year This Girl Can had a huge impact and I saw a lot of great scripts because of it. This spot really informed the rest of the year… But doing John Lewis at the end of the year has been equally impactful to influence what is next.
How has your work evolved over the last 12 months?
Each film I did this year was entirely different to the one before; from documentary to stylised choreography to narrative. But even though they were all different genres and tones, what evolved was a core feeling that connected them somehow.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?
Less is more. This year I did a fewer projects, but made more impact with them as I had the time to really concentrate my energies.
Who has been the most influential creative for you in the last year?
Probably Daniel Wolfe who is also at Somesuch. His work ethic and drive always keep me pushing.
Describe 2015 in five words.
Big. Challenging. Exhausting. But ultimately incredibly rewarding.
What are your hopes for 2016?
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About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.