A British native, Lee J. Ford worked as a creative in the advertising industry for years before pivoting to directing. A cinephile since youth, Ford grew up next to a video store and would stay up late re-watching The Hills Have Eyes, The Exorcist, Exterminator and other banned-in-the-UK movies until he failed his classes. This led him to drop out and go to art school to study graphic design. Studying at The University of Brighton and the esteemed Central Saint Martins School of Art helped inform Ford’s preferred minimalist aesthetic, and gave him his first hands-on experience with art direction.
After graduation, Ford worked his way through the advertising industry as a creative, working for various heavy-hitting agencies including 180 Amsterdam, Ogilvy London, TBWA London, and Saatchi&Saatchi London, to name a few. While he ended up as a creative director, Ford never forgot his dream of directing, so when working at an agency in Amsterdam and the opportunity to direct Top Gear came his way, Ford leapt at it.
His agency experience allows Ford to see the stages of making commercials from every angle, which lets him “understand the politics and daily struggles the creatives are facing throughout the process, and will continue to face” long after he’s done directing the piece. Ford’s background as an agency creative also means that he can jump in and offer collaborative and creative solutions with script changes and on-the-fly ideas that preserve the integrity of the concept and everyone involved.
From crafting a gritty, high-energy glimpse at New African Icons for SportsPesa to a moody nighttime drive for Audi, Ford’s visual aesthetic is always refined, and tailored for what the brief requires. His visual sensibility is on full display in the short film he directed for fashion designer Roland Mouret. A surreal and visceral narrative based on childhood memories of Mouret watching his father, who was a butcher, the film spurs an emotional response in an unexpected way.
Ford, who was previously repped by Prettybird in the US and UK, knew Interrogate was the right home for him when he met Executive Producers and Partners George Meeker and Jeff Miller. Their inaugural project together, a spot for Blizzard Games’ Diablo III out of Omelet LA, proved to be an auspicious start to the creative partnership. Ford explains, “They understand passion, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to create something great. It was instantly obvious we just knew how to talk to each other. I’m looking forward to many more memorable projects with them.”