Anglo-Swiss, London-based Ben Strebel is a rising star among young filmmakers. He made his name working on music videos and directing fashion films for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and AllSaints. He is now also a successful commercial filmmaker, working with brands such as Toshiba, Nokia and Audemars Piguet. In 2012 his music video/short film Once And For All won him an award at Cannes. ‘My approach to storytelling is driven by careful casting, art direction, visual techniques and cinematography,’ he says.
Wallpaper*: How much of your working day is spent outdoors?
Ben Strebel: It depends on the shoot. Recently I shot an interactive commercial for two days out on the open sea in Marseille, both above and below the water. Rain or shine, shooting outdoors is worth it – natural light can’t be beaten.
W*: How do you travel to work?
BS: In east London or Soho I tend to cycle. Apart from the air quality, it’s an exhilarating experience every time. I take all kinds of transport when filming – boats, ski lifts, the Bullet train in Japan, helicopters.
W*: What essentials do you carry when you travel?
BS: A sharp shirt, my laptop, my sunglasses and, because I like to run, my trainers. I pack everything into a Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Dual-Access Global Carry-On – I travel a lot and it's such a robust piece of hand luggage. It tends to rain a lot in this country; my Victorinox Belmont Overcoat is a waterproof jacket that’s also very sturdy. My Victorinox Swiss Army knife opens bottles of beer and wine when I’m outdoors, at festivals or on long hikes.
W*: Why do you live in London and what inspires or infuriates you about the city?
BS: House prices are extortionate and transport is ridiculous. However, I love the food, galleries, music and buzz. Professionally, it’s a constant battle to be the best, but it keeps creatives like myself on our toes.
W*: As an Urban Outsider, how would you cope if stranded on a desert island?
BS: I spent a lot of time in the woods in Switzerland with my dad, carving swords, making fires and building wood huts. I think I’d be all right washed up on the beach – just need the right tools.
W*: What is your most useful practical skill?
BS: Cooking and languages.
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