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Great mix of visuals in this video for James Vincent McMorrow by director Tom Speers of SMUGGLER. Composed of portraits, time-lapse photography, and Super 8mm footage, “Headlights” evokes a surreal, dreamlike depiction of the artist and his daughter. The video was directed remotely with Speers and executive producer Elizabeth Doonan devising a production approach that involved James’s wife Emma shooting at their home in order to allow a more intimate and authentic glimpse into James’s life. Speers provided Emma with a detailed shot list to appear alongside pickup shoots by Speers and Eoin McLoughlin exploring secondary themes of memory and the passage of time. As Speers explains, while working on a project in the middle of a pandemic had the tendency to make him fixate on what wouldn’t be possible, he challenged himself to think instead of what might actually be improved by the physical absence of a director:

“I remembered my dad saying that his favourite photo of himself was one that I had taken of him when I was about 9. By his own admission, he often looks self-conscious in photographs, but not in this one. He attributed his expression in this particular photograph to the fact that it was me taking it, and that he was effectively looking beyond the lens at me, with a feeling of love.

So by the same principal, having James’s wife Emma film this (and given they were in isolation) it was perfectly suited. I asked that they shoot long conversations and then send me the video with no audio, so that what they said to each other would remain private. This was particularly important because if they could trust the process then the visual authenticity of what happened between them on camera would shine through.”

Check out the results above and see credits below!


Production Company: SMUGGLER
Director: Tom Speers
Producer: Lucy Bradley
Exec Producer: Elizabeth Doonan, Patrick Milling-Smith, Brian Carmody
DOP: Eoin McLoughlin
Additional Footage: Emma McMorrow, Tom Speers
Edit & VFX: Dan Hawkins


This video was submitted by SMUGGLER and selected by our team. Click here if you have a project you’d like us to check out!

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