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“We Endeavored to Give Each of Our Locations a Tone, Rhythm and Color Palette”: Richard Poplak and Diana Neille | Influence

A still from Influence by Diana Neille and Richard Poplak (courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Whether capturing or creating a world, the objects onscreen tell as much of a story as the people within it. Whether sourced or accidental, insert shot or background detail, what prop or piece of set decoration do you find particularly integral to your film? What story does it tell?

Influence is ultimately about the protection of the reputations and, by extension, the wealth and power of the global elite. That power and influence vests in our cities: the immense blocks of steel, glass and concrete that have been built on mounds of money for centuries. Our characters and the powerful people they represent own these urban spaces in every sense of the word. So it was important for us to transform urban locations into characters. We decided to shoot all our interviews with cities as backdrops, to serve as a constant reminder of the ivory towers from which firms like Bell Pottinger operate. This was no easy feat: Finding the right view in the right building for the right price was one of the biggest challenges of the production, particularly in London. We endeavored to give each of our locations a tone, rhythm and color palette—each one is unique, but each one is linked by a matrix of global influence.

Sundance Responses 2020

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