These days it’s rare that a film goes viral without a little help from seeded advertising, but when a concept captures the public imagination, it can spread like wildfire.
Recently I directed SLAUGHTERBOTS – a seven minute found-footage short, commissioned by the Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking backed ‘Future of Life Institute’, which examines the positive – and in this case negative – effects of cutting-edge technology, especially AI.
The film is the Institute’s attempt to build support for a global ban on autonomous weapon systems, which kill without meaningful human control. It was released to coincide with meetings at the United Nations’ Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Previous discussions with lawmakers and governments had been academic and dry. SLAUGHTERBOTS was the chance make some noise. We made the film in a ‘found footage’ style, with a TED talk beginning, followed by scenes of a rapid disintegration in society, as terrorist controlled micro drones attack the Capitol Building and a university campus.
As well as creating debate at the UN, the film has been widely shared on social media, gaining over 40 million views across thousands of platforms. In the UK articles have been written in publications including The Guardian, The Times and The Economist.
SLAUGHTERBOTS was produced by Matt Nelson and written by Matt Wood, both of Space Digital. The same company turned around the multiple CGI shots in just two weeks.
What Stewart delivered totally blew me away. He created a set of films that brought to life the Energy Within in the most powerful and emotive way. The results have been phenomenal. Over 20 million online views… seeing the impact the films have on people who see them and how they inspire, made the project very special.
Stewart’s direction infused the
pieces with such passion and emotion. The Energy Within films are some
of the best I have produced in over 30 year of my long
career – and Stewart is one of the best Directors I have worked with.
He is organised, focussed, truly creative and visionary, whilst being
calm and pleasant – a real joy to work with.
It’s always a pleasure working with Stewart. Having worked with him on five different projects, Stewart consistently achieves a well crafted film, with a particular focus on achieving beautiful visuals to accompany great storytelling.
Stew is not only an exceptional visual director and storyteller brimming with original ideas, but he is also a problem solver that pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved to create something really special each time. Stew also has the experience and presence to direct ambitious productions with large crews and A-list talent. He is great with our clients, and his blend of confidence and friendliness on set creates a productive calm atmosphere, which is particularly valued in challenging situations. Stew will pour his passion for film-making into every job, from small scale to major productions and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him over the last 10 years.
Stewart directed Channel 4’s ‘Dare to Believe’ Paralympic shorts, sponsored by Allianz. His creativity, skill and passion for Paralympic sport were evident from the very first pitch meeting. The final films were all beautiful and gave a brilliant insight into the personality of each of the 7 athletes featured.
I have worked with Stewart on three major campaigns. Stewart has the incredible skill of quickly obtaining the trust of the films subjects, creating a relaxed and informal tone. He creates real emotion, warmth and subtle humour. Stewart always delivers, an incredible storyteller and an absolute joy to work with.
Stewart was commissioned by Channel 4’s London 2012 Paralympics team… Stewart took this concept and with his extraordinary visual awareness and artistic flair created something simply stunning that we are incredibly proud of.