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27 April 2021

The grapes we quaff.

by Jason Stone



SIMI: “Goodness from Grit” - 4 mins 30s

It's a proper challenge to persuade an audience to stay with a piece of advertising which lasts for four and half minutes because statistically speaking such a piece of work would typically be four minutes too long. Not so here. Director Nick Ball brings his customary energy and humour to tell an epic story which to be fair is worth telling.

The Simi Winery really was founded by the father and uncle of Isabelle Simi, and she really did successfully run it from 1904 when she was just eighteen until she sold it in 1970. And she really did continue to make wine during the 13 years of Prohibition, equipping her vineyard to be one of the few Californian operations to survive this curious phase of US history.

With such fantastic raw material at their disposal, San Francisco agency Venables Bell were able to provide the director with a fantastic opportunity to deliver a truly cinematic piece of advertising.

Handing a task like this to Nick Ball reminds DAVID of a story he once heard about the authorship of the American Declaration of Independence... while the founding fathers recognised that Benjamin Franklin was easily the most capable and brilliant among them, they instead asked the rather staid Thomas Jefferson to put ink to parchment. This was because they were afraid Franklin would put jokes in it.

Thankfully, the decision-makers at Venables Bell did not repeat the error of 1776 because they recognised that this story would be so much more engaging if punctuated by humour, and as you might expect Nick Ball was able to provide it. The real achievement here is that the levity in no way undermines the epicness of the tale, instead it lubricates the story, and ensures that it dances across the screen.


Director: Nick Ball Ⓟ Ⓦ (Blink Ⓟ Ⓦ)
Cinematographer: Seamus McGarvey
Production Designer: Matias O'Donnell
Editor: Leo King Ⓦ @ Stitch Ⓟ Ⓦ

David Reviews is hand-crafted by Lovely Lenzie Ltd, 7 Seven Sisters, Lenzie, Glasgow, G66 3AW. Editor: Jason Stone. Phone: 0141 776 7766. E-mail: jason@davidreviews.com.