The Perlorian Brothers, Reginald Pike

By Published on .

Some thirty-odd years ago, in the Saskatchewan town of Nut Lake, The Perlorian Brothers emerged from a single womb, about a couple years apart. Nurtured in the warm creative embrace of guitar-strumming farmer parents, they developed a knack for telling stories as children's entertainers-puppeteering, painting faces and hobbling about on stilts. Or so they say. Their executive producer, James Davis of Toronto's Reginald Pike, backs them up, claiming they first aroused his interest with rough but remarkable videos of their carnie exploits. Others, however, I.D. the Perlorians as Ian Letts and Michael Gelfand, former creatives behind smart laughs for the likes of Zellers, P&G and Unilever out of Toronto shops like Leo Burnett and Ogilvy & Mather. Why the two would go to such lengths to smokescreen their identities, we leave to their shrinks-or their marketing consultants. In the meantime, one thing holds true. The ambiguously brotherly duo knows how to direct. Really well. In less than a year behind the camera, The Perlorian Brothers already have applied skewed but steady touches to standouts like Vim's "Prisoner," featuring the would-be jailbird mom who turns out to be trapped inside her shower battling soap scum. "We decided early on that it would be most funny if we treated the spot as seriously as we could," explains Letts. "So we sort of set aside the fact that some people might find it funny and treated everything-from the choice of how it was shot to who was cast to the way that it was performed-as though it was a serious and poignant dramatic story." Every tear-jerking nuance in place, the spot earned a Cannes Gold Lion (which the directors promptly auctioned off in a buzz-creating eBay stunt). Since then, the team, also represented by Biscuit Filmworks in the U.S., has continued to titillate audiences with commercials for Saturn, Mrs. Paul's (featuring the unnervingly quiet fish-out-of-water scenarios), Bootlegger Jeans and the latest for Orbit Gum, including one spot featuring the original Pippi Longstalking actress as a bus driver with a religiously luminous smile. Most recently, the directors paired a Croatian woman and a power drill in hilarious backwoods documentary spots for Skil power tools, out of Toronto's Taxi. Although the directors seem to expend considerable creative energy on concocting their fanciful histories, on spots, they'll also devote plenty of brainpower to elaborate treatments that read like fairy tales with a bite. "They should be exciting for the people we're presenting to, a chance for them to see their work anew," explains Gelfand. "Most of the time, having talked to these people, we feel that they've been sitting with the script for a while and they've lost a sense of what makes it special. They should get excited-what a wonderful chance for them to hear somebody talk about their script, how fun it is and what a beautiful thing it will be when it's on TV. That's a beautiful tender moment and I think we treat it very seriously." Adds Letts, "Like when the kids are sitting at the birthday party and it's time for us to come out and do our juggling or stiltwalking. That is the moment when things happen for them. We have to keep that in mind and respect it."
Most Popular
In this article: