Meet the people behind our award-winning work across the globe. Up next is our London colourist and 2021 Cannes Lions Juror, Philip Hambi.
Award-winning colourist, Philip Hambi, has been perfecting his craft at our London studio for the past few years. A fast-rising star in his field, Philip has built himself a diverse portfolio of commercial and promo work and was recently awarded a D&AD Pencil for his work on Glenmorangie ‘It’s Kind of Delicious and Wonderful’ film. This year, Philip was selected to join the prestigious Cannes Lions Film Craft jury, alongside an impressive global line-up of experts from all over the world.
Some of his other notable projects include the likes of Little Mix’s ‘Bounce Back’ music video, ghd’s ‘Long Live the Queens’, Nike’s ‘You’re It’,Lexus’ Hybrid Disruption’, H&M’s summer 2019 campaign, and Matt Lambert’s ‘Diesel On’.
We interviewed Philip to learn some more about his personal stories and career highlights. Here’s what he had to say.
1. What do you love about being a colourist?
For me, it’s the best job in the world. Where else do you get to work with such an incredible array of insanely talented people on a daily basis? The combination of collaborating with clients and colleagues and creating unique and striking work is so rewarding. I absolutely love it!
2. How did you first get into the world of post-production?
My first real job in the industry was at Smoke & Mirrors where I was a one of six runners. We were true grafters and so much was asked of us, much more than just running. I vividly remember having to go round on a regular basis flash wiping door handles, skirting boards, unblocking toilets, doing bits of DIY on top of the regular job’s runners did. It was rough and tough, but we were a fantastic team and we really supported each other. We partied hard together too! In testament to our work ethic and attitude we were credited on Jonathan Glazers ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ promo for Jack Whites band The Dead Weather.
3. What drew you to work at MPC and what has your journey been to date?
After doing a stint in the library and a little over two years in the MCR department at Smoke & Mirrors, I made my move to MPC which has now been my home for almost ten years. From the very first day I’d said to myself that this was the place I was going to become a colourist and after climbing the ladder, from MCR to the MPC Datalab, I was then given my big break and moved into the Colour Department as an assistant. After countless hours of late-night assisting, followed by training and grading loads of nice jobs and modest budget promos I was rewarded with the title of Junior Colourist. A year later I was told I could drop the “Junior”. After witnessing my two boys being born and my wedding day, it is easily my proudest moment.
4. Who has positively impacted or inspired you in your career, and what have you learnt from them?
The answer here for me is obvious, it was Ellora and Jean-Clément Soret. After first reaching out to Ellora in early 2012, I was given the opportunity to join MPC almost a year later. After many years of hard graft, I found myself in one of the most enviable positions in Colour, assisting Jean-Clément Soret. Shadowing JC gave me an in-depth look at one of the industry’s most successful visionaries. This has taught me, along with the guidance of others such as Matthieu Toullet, to constantly question my approach and push for more! I believe this, together with regular creative and technical discussions with Peter Oppersdorff, keeps my understanding of the craft and work always fresh and evolving.
5. Tell us about some of the projects you’ve worked on.
The first project I’d like to mention is one that I worked with alongside the amazing crew at Mikros MPC in Paris. The online was being handled by the team in Paris and I was brought in remotely for the Colour. The project was a product launch film celebrating a new collaboration between Tag Heuer & Porsche and the release of their new Carerra time piece. It was an amazing opportunity to work with some seriously talented people: directed by Maxime Guyon, lensed by ASC member Darius Khondji and working with the agency legends at DDB Paris. The film was an epically stylish film that just oozed charm and charisma. It was a real joy to be a part of.
The second project was again working with the guys at Mikros MPC and DDB Paris. However this time, the direction was handled by iconic fashion photographer, Miles Aldridge. The brief was straight forward: match the style and aesthetic of Miles’ photography in the film. The realisation was less straight forward, technically challenging and I am really proud of what we achieved. Testament to the success was the award of a D&AD Wood Pencil for Colour.
The final project I’d like to mention has been a bit of a passion project for the past three years. Tom Day’s epic Boxing Documentary ‘Nuffin For Nuffin’ recently premiered on the Olympic Channel and was the second project that Tom and I collaborated on. It’s an incredible story about three young boxers trying to make the grade to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The production process took many twists and turns, reflecting the challenges of Olympic boxing and then the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a testament to Tom’s tenacity that it has finally delivered, and I am delighted to have been a part of it.
6. Favourite piece of MPC work that you didn’t work on?
This is easily the Burberry spot that MPC worked on for their epic Christmas campaign 2020. It’s such a clever concept and a hugely popular job. MPC really excelled with this one in every department showing an incredible amount of resilience to produce something so spectacular after such an incredibly hard and challenging year. MPC colourist Mattieu Toullet did an absolutely wonderful job with the colour and I could happily watch this spot all day long. In my view, it really puts MPC at the top of the pile when it comes to post and I have a feeling that it’ll be one of the jobs that people will look back on in years to come and draw inspiration from.
7. If you could go back, what one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Focus on your own personal goals and don’t worry about what other people around you are up to.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time, any passion projects or side hobbies?
We recently renovated our house and so when I’m not running after my two boys, I’ve been trying to put the finishing touches to the garden which became a bit of a building site during the work. Currently, I’m at the BBQ/smoker stage which I’m excited about! It’s only in development at the moment, but hopefully in a couple of weeks it’ll be up and running. My intention is (fingers crossed) to use it in more than just the summer. Only time will tell with that one!