Two skiers stand poised on a cliff face, staring into white expanse. On a signal, they launch down the mountain, threading the needle between treacherous rocks and half-buried trees before plummeting over the edge – followed by a four-wheel vehicle. They hang in blue-sky free-fall for 21 seconds before parachutes deploy, guiding them to a soft landing.
This never-before-seen triple ski base jump, shot by Adrian Moat for Pirelli Tires over 14 days just inside the Arctic Circle, won a Gold for Best Stunts at the 2013 British Arrow Awards. It was just the latest in Moat's long career of boundary-pushing work.
Born in northeast England, Moat discovered the liberating conveyance of photography in his early teens. After completing a college degree in graphic design (where he spent most of his time in the darkroom developing photos for the other students), he relocated to London. Within six months, his short film, Pase Adelante (“come forward”), a visual essay celebrating the indigenous culture and natural beauty of Guatemala, screened as part of the BBC’s 10x10. Moat’s first commercial directing assignment, Polaroid’s Mafia, won a Silver Lion at Cannes, where he was also recognized as Most Promising Young Talent.
Since then, Moat has done groundbreaking work for scores of international clients, including BMW, Rolex, Lee Jeans, Sony, Speedo, Mazda, UBS, BBC World, San Miguel, Guinness, Nokia, Nissan, and Buick. He has been nominated three times for D&AD Awards, twice at the British Television Advertising Awards, and won Silver at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival.
In addition, he has directed music videos for Bob Marley, Jamiroquai, Beverly Knight, and the Sundays; a short documentary for UNICEF; and the 2010 narrative short Two Broad Arrows.
In 2011, Moat directed Gettysburg for the History Channel, a nonfiction feature that meshed performances with documentary elements, expert commentary, and graphic inserts to deconstruct the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. The film won four Emmys. Killing Lincoln, made for the National Geographic Channel, followed in 2013, setting viewing records and earning an ASC Award for Best Cinematography.