An Interview with Mats Lignell

Judges Interviews

What is the single most interesting brief you have worked on during your career?

It sounds a bit cheesy, but it is the one I am currently working on for Save the Children. We are trying to inspire companies to take on-board children’s rights in their work. Essentially we are producing pitch material for companies about child rights and how great that is for business and what change business can bring to children. It is a brilliant brief to work on.

The material I have been commissioned to produce spans films, still photographs and written interviews. Through this project I have travelled and interviewed representatives for large and small companies that are already engaged or about to engage in corporate social responsibility in a number of countries. It is great to hear their passion and the way they present this, not only as the right thing to do, but also as something that makes solid business sense. To see how companies can make a positive impact on children’s lives is great. The brief has also offered me great creative freedom and I am producing, project managing as well as shooting with a great team of experts and photographers.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influence has not been the ‘big names’ but photographers that I have met and some that I have been lucky enough to be friends with and been able to learn from.

What role does film making have in helping solve humanitarian problems?

A huge role I think. Film carries emotions and empathy really well. And if it is executed in a way that is respectful and balanced it makes people connect with the people in the films. It can prevent the sometimes de-humanising process that you often see in news and advertising, and in people’s minds. People are not just victims of poverty, disaster or war, they are people. Film I think can show that well – it can connect you to other people and make you realise that they are just like you. It can help tear down that horrible us-them wall that we all are guilty of building from time to time.

Images and footage that show us that we are humans is so powerful that I believe it can encourage change. If people are aware of issues, but also truly understand them and relate to the people affected by them, change will happen.

What’s the best advice you could give to a creative student?

If I started out as a student today I would start by trying to develop a reason for why I do what I do. I’m definitely not the first to say this, but it helps to always start with the ‘why’. The rest will not follow automatically, but it will fit better and more naturally. I think understanding why you want to do something helps enormously.

How does your creative conscience show itself through your work?

Hopefully in all my work. But probably not always to be honest. I believe in every person’s right to a voice. When I do work that gives people a voice that they would not normally have, I enjoy myself. If I can contribute to meaningful understanding – through film, photography and words –  I know I’m doing the right thing.

What was it about this initiative that inspired you to get involved?

It comes back to what I think is important – helping people to have a voice. If I can contribute in any way to encouraging students to get involved, and help giving them a voice so they can change things for the better through their future work, I am right where I want to be. I think the possibility to be part of this inspired me to get involved in Creative Conscience.