in conversation with British advertising legends

Hugh Hudson

Born 1936, London

Hugh remembers the first film he ever saw at the cinema at the age of ten. It was newsreel of the WW2 evacuation of concentration camps and it taught him the power of the moving image.

Following his national service, he trained as an editor in Paris returning to London to work with David Cammell and Robert Brownjohn on a series of documentaries including A for Apple, which won a Screenwriters' Guild Award, before starting work in advertising, producing and directing many television commercials for Ridley Scott Associates. He directed iconic television adverts, including the British Airway’s ’Face’, seen in over 80 countries around the world and running for almost a decade, and the Benson & Hedges surrealist ‘Swimming Pool’ in 1978.
Film direction was the next natural step, with the establishment of Hudson Film. Key successes included Greystoke – the Legend of Tarzan and Chariots of Fire, which won four of the seven Academy Awards for which it was nominated, the BAFTA award for best film, and a Golden Globe. In 2003, Hudson was given a special Cannes Lions award, reserved for directors who have won the Grand Prix Cannes Lions more than once.

Hugh still believes in the power of shocking visuals, “The digital age is no different to the non-digital age in the sense of visuals. You’ve got to get the attention. You’ve got to say ‘Oh my God, that’s wonderful. That’s amazing. That’s horrible. That’s horrifying’.  You’ve got to use superlatives, to get the person to keep his two eyes fixed on the screen or on the billboard as they drive past. It’s not easy.”