Indian-born director Tarsem worked extensively in commercials and music videos before making his feature debut with the psycho-thriller "The Cell" (2000), a largely dreamlike film bringing life to the...
|Dawn of War||Director||n/a||2|
|The Curious Case of Benjamin Button||Second Unit Director||n/a||34|
|The Fall||Composer||("Mystical Directions To Odious")||8000006|
|Directed the Suzanne Vega video "Tired of Sleeping"|
|Worked extensively as a commercial director, helmed memorable and award-winning ad spots for companies including Levi's, Lexus, Miller Lite and Anne Klein|
|Raised in India and Iran|
|Shot international scenes - as second unit director to David Fincher - in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"|
|Won the BAFTA-L.A. Award for excellence in commercial direction|
|Directed acclaimed commercial for Philips featuring a couple employing their car and a big screen TV as a personal drive-in|
|Helmed second feature film, the fantasy drama "The Fall"; also wrote and produced|
|Directed the Deep Forest video "Sweet Lullaby"|
|Made a splash as director of the widely acclaimed R.E.M. video "Losing My Religion"; video took six awards at the MTV Video Music Awards, including honors for Video of the Year, Breakthrough Video and Direction in a Video|
|Helmed the fantasy comedy "Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White|
|Directed Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, and Freida Pinto in action adventure "Immortals"|
|Made feature directorial debut with the visually dramatic action thriller "The Cell"|
While Tarsem's work in directing television commercial spots isn't as inextricably connected to him, his work with products from domestic beer and life insurance to luxury cars and designer clothing have earned him accolades and a sterling reputation in the fiercely competitive and highly creative advertising world. Having previously worked in media that ranges from mere seconds to about five minutes long, Tarsem took on his first feature film project in 2000. With "The Cell", the director hoped that the striking visuals and sweeping yet succinct imagery he employed in his extensive commercial and noted music video work would translate to a large scale feature production. This fantastical psychodrama proved the perfect host for the helmer's skills, demanding an imaginative and dynamic visual accompaniment for a startling and mystifying idea. The film starred Vincent D'Onofrio as a psychotic serial killer in a coma who is harboring a soon-to-expire victim in a mystery locale. Jennifer Lopez was cast as Catherine Deane a therapist with almost superhuman empathetic abilities drafted to enter the mind of the killer in order to save the life of the doomed young woman. The premise sounds like the stuff of a routine thriller, but what Deane finds in the killer's consciousness is a startling wonderland of beauty and horror. Tarsem's uniquely evocative sensibility elevated the film from a supernatural crime drama to a veritable feast for the senses that at once enchanted and horrified. "The Cell" promised to stand apart from the spate of summer releases much like "Losing My Religion" stood apart from other music videos, making for quite an impressive debut entry.
|Art Center College of Design|
|Singh's Levi's "Swimmer" ad won the British Television Advertising Awards' commercial of the year and the Smirnoff "Message in a Bottle" took the Kraft Award and Kodak Award for Excellence.The Smirnoff spot also earned the director a Gold Lion and Grand Prix de la Press at Cannes [in 1993]. - from Variety, April 22, 1994|
|On his approach to commercials, Singh told Variety on April 22, 1994: "Everybody who I have worked with in America knows that I don't shoot storyboards. They should be shooting them with somebody else, or they'll be wasting their money. No, boarding and animatics are nothing to judge by. I just say, 'Give me the ideas, I'll make the boards.' So far, that's worked out quite well with agencies I've worked with in America."|
|"My approach is that someone could stop the film anywhere and say, 'That's a cool still.' I say, let's shoot a still and put movement in it. For commercials I just want to know the idea: 'A man swims from pool to pool. The more you wash [Levis jeans], the better they get.' That's the kind of gem or one-liner that I need. I'll provide everything else." - Singh on his directing methodology, quoted in Daily Variety, April 22, 1994|
|"I'd say my work, both thematically and visually, reflects the influence of several different directors. I love rubbish cinema, crap films, lovely films, interesting films. I also watch a lot of latenight TV, porno films and Andrei Tarkovsky. All of that is in my work. I never know where it's going to go." --quoted in Variety, as part of the "10 Directors to Watch Feature", January 19, 2000|
|"The great thing about Tarsem is that he knows exactly what he wants in every single frame. That's what you want from a director; knowing that they have a vision and they're going to help you get there whatever way they can. What was also interesting about the film is that we were granted so much artistic license. We could experiment with things so that visually and creatively there were no limits." - Jennifer Lopez on Singh, quoted in the production notes for "The Cell", 2000|
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