Directors to Watch 2008: Emil Moller

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Emil Möller Credit: Mattias Rudh
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Sonny London director found his big break by thinking back to his childhood on the Swedish island of Skaftö, shooting hoops solo, inventing competitors to amuse himself. "In my head there were opponents everywhere, the game was really alive and I was never alone!" says Möller. "I was thinking; what if I made this into film? It could be great! And visual!" He channeled those memories into "Play Your Own Game," a spec spot for And1, which earned awards and landed Möller a spot at Fredrik Bond's shop Sonny London.

The half-dozen or so spots he's shot since then have all had similar characteristics—a doleful gravity, protagonists you can root for. In "Mean Words" for Friends Sweden out of Lowe Brindfors, a boy is plagued literally by the words of bullies, which clog his world, until one day he unwraps a "Hi." "Many times I imagine characters with a lot of empathy and compassion," Möller says. "People you really feel for, from the very first frame you get to see them. I love underdogs."

In part, Möller's quick start as a director can be credited to Bond, who, as Möller puts it, introduced him to a new world of filmmaking. "Fredrik's approach was really different to what I had seen before," he says. "This inspired me to really start searching for my own style." On his debut job out of M&C Saatchi for Transport for London, "Signs," Möller created a dreamlike piece in which bicycles from city signage develop locomotion. His recent "Guitar" for Levi's out of BBH, London is equally evocative, featuring a shadowy bluesman and a young guitarist faced with a decision. "It's crucial that the viewer is hooked from the very first frame," Möller says. "I want to seduce them into my character's world, but in a sensitive and effortless way. Sometimes I think, if I can get just a little bit of poetry into my films, I've made something good."

Read about Benzo Theodore, another of our 2008 Directors to Watch.

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