EXIT signs bold cinematic director Sam Walker

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EXIT signs bold cinematic director Sam Walker

Exit has announced the addition of Sam Walker to its roster in Australia and New Zealand.


Walker knows what makes advertising tick. The highly-awarded director is known for his instinctively bold, cinematic approach to filmmaking, for crafting daring films that resonate with audiences.

Walker knows what makes advertising work. The highly-awarded creative has been an ECD at Uncommon, a creative director at Fallon, a creative at Mother London and an ECD at Karmarama and is known for his unique insights and cut-through work.

As a director, Walker’s ability to create brave films that permeate popular culture has won him global renown. He has a notable bent for directing large scale set pieces, telling stories in original ways and bringing defining ideas to life through a strong understanding of narrative, music and editing. His experience as a creative director has finessed his ability to collaborate with agencies to create top tier work. Walker’s most recent ambitious directorial work for Uncommon Creative Studio captured 35 normal people doing everyday tasks on e-foil surfboards for Avios.

Says Declan Cahill & Leah Churchill-Brown, executive producers, Exit: “We are both pleased and excited that Sam is joining us for representation in Aus and NZ. The work speaks for itself. It is visually challenging and as a consequence the ideas stand out. Sam’s skills have already proven their worth in large new brand launch campaigns as well as reinforcing and enhancing existing brand profiles.”

Walker shared his thinking about creativity in a conversation with Exit:

You have been a creative leader at some of the UK’s most creative agencies, especially Uncommon. What has this added to the skills you bring to directing jobs?

Sam Walker: Creative to director is a very well-travelled path. It’s a great training ground that has produced some brilliant directors over the years. Coming from a creative direction background means I have an instinctive understanding of the idea and how to translate it to the screen. I can also work with the creatives to help make their idea as good as it can be and intuitively know what they’re trying to achieve, but also be in tune with what the client might be worried about too. I can also push the belief and ambition on set, and see it through to closing in on the detail in post. I think it makes you more rounded as a director and it’s a great advantage knowing how and when you can push ideas to be as ambitious as possible.

What made you move into directing?

SW: I’ve been directing for nearly my whole career. It’s always been in my soul to be honest. And I still get a kick out of every shoot I do and every set I walk onto. For me, directing is such a visceral, exciting experience. I still find it amazing that for each job we assemble this small army of experts who all come together to make a single vision of an idea come to life, no matter how insane that idea might seem on the page.

What do you think matters most in a commercial?  

SW: You have to make people feel something. It’s no different from any other kind of filmmaking for me. It’s essential to engage the audience and elicit some kind of emotion, be that wonder, shock, sadness, joy, excitement or laughter. If you can give people something in return for their attention you’re doing something right.

Your hallmark is reputed to be daring or challenging films. What is it about them that turns you on?

SW: I’m always excited by ideas and films that push the boundaries. They’re exciting to shoot and exciting again in the edit room. My goal is always to add an extra spark or a little bit of magic that is beyond what’s there on the page.

Avios Everyday was a super ambitious production, right from script stage. I knew that it had to be done for real or we would have done something else. The stunt is a first-of-its-kind and was shot almost entirely in-camera. The audience don’t always know how it was done but I really believe they can recognise the craft and commitment that went into shooting it. It would have been easy to shoot the whole thing on a sound stage but doing it for real added something, and it pays dividends in the end.

Equally with Formula E Progress is Unstoppable the obvious approach would have been to shoot against green screen but I don’t think the results would have been as spectacular. A lot of people still don’t know if it was real or not and that’s down to the lengths we went to shoot it. If the script says you need to throw a car from a plane then that’s what needs to happen. Or at least do it in such a way that that’s how it feels.

What drew you to Exit?

SW: “I’m super excited to be joining Exit Films in Australia and New Zealand. It’s a brilliant production company spearheaded by Declan and Leah, and exceptional directors such as Garth (Davis) and Mark (Malloy). It’s an honour to be represented alongside them, and I can’t wait to get started.”

View Sam Walker’s reel here.

For all enquires contact Leah Churchill-Brown or Declan Cahill.