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Cabbages & Kids: Ola director Amy on her recent travels

No director can consistently resist the siren call of the dollar or euro - unless he or she is a non-eating, non-home-owning one. In the last eight months, Ola! Films director Amy Allais has been sought after in Eastern Europe and the Middle East to shoot various campaigns involving sugary beverages, lions, cars, palm trees, and the seemingly inevitable child's performance, because that's what people seem to associate Amy with these days... While we can't share these ads because they were eaten by sharks (and because we don't have permission yet), we can share some of her hilarious anecdotes about filming in these mythical foreign lands.
Amy did her thing in Romania twice this year. Their production is extremely efficient and streamlined (albeit a bit of a factory—presenting a first offline cut to agency 24 hours after wrap!) In her down-time, she wandered the streets mesmerised by the brutalist architecture, and gorged herself on cabbage 27 ways.

Though Allais seems to live a life where the glamour never stops, there are some exceptions. It appears the Dubai heat is more than a little challenging, as this video attests:

BTS clip: Luxury - the Client and Agency get an air-conditioned tent. The director is only allowed in at lunch time.
BTS clip: Luxury - the Client and Agency get an air-conditioned tent. The director is only allowed in at lunch time.

"It was 36 degrees at 7am, and reached a high of 44. We shot outdoors the entire day. It was quite something to stay focussed and keep one’s eye on the prize.

One of my cast members — an eight-year-old boy — had little time for the "options" requested by agency and client. We'd anxiously await word on the walkie, and when they'd say we need to go again, he'd angrily shout What was wrong with that one? It was excellent! I got it on the first take. After a while he became a proxy for the whole crew, vocalising what we were all feeling."

Spot the theme in Amy's insta-stories from that trip.
Spot the theme in Amy's insta-stories from that trip.

This year's jobs have been a cakewalk compared to the month Amy once spent in Manila shooting a series of spots while contending with Filipino "tummy flux". Or getting a bunch of teenage girls to dance, without actually dancing, for some conservative Arab markets shot in Beirut. Despite the challenges, Amy admits that she gets a lot out of the experience of working with international crews, seeing other ways of doing things, and meeting lots of lovely people.

Amy's looking forward to being back home, though. Her Bernini "Press for Sparkle" spot, just came third on Kantar's list of SA's most liked ads of 2018, showing that Allais can straddle both local and international markets with ease. She’s a consummate professional, able to translate what the client wants no matter the language or culture, and her years of experience, attention to detail and cool set-head make her clients come back time and again. Since her passion project, Biggest Curse, won critical acclaim 18 months ago, she is trying to devote some time to personal creative projects, and has something local and meaty in the pipes.

Bernini "Sparkle On" that Amy shot for Singh & Sons was recently ranked the third best-liked ad in South Africa for 2018. Click to watch ad.
Bernini "Sparkle On" that Amy shot for Singh & Sons was recently ranked the third best-liked ad in South Africa for 2018. Click to watch ad.

We look forward to seeing more of Allais this 2019.


17 Jul 2019 12:11

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