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Johnny Hardstaff

Johnny Hardstaff is a writer-director committed to the pursuit of imagining, developing and executing contemporary stories for film and game studios, recording artists and brands. 

Whether commercial or non-commercial, short or long format filmmaking, Johnny likes to craft original bespoke stories for modern audiences. In 2010 Johnny wrote and directed ‘DarkRoom’, part of the unique Cannes winning Philips ‘Parallel Lines’ project. In 2012 Johnny co-wrote and directed several strands of a hugely successful integrated campaign to promote Ridley Scott’s feature film Prometheus, including ‘DAVID’ starring Michael Fassbender and ‘Transmission’ featuring Idris Elba. And in 2013 Johnny conceived (Cormac McCarthy writing) and directed The Counselor promo ‘Hand’ for Ridley Scott, again featuring Michael Fassbender with Natalie Dormer.

The last 12 months have seen Johnny crafting long format music videos (see his 2017 forthcoming 3 track Jimmy Whoo promo ‘Motel Music Part. II’ starring Theo Cholbi), writing and directing online branded entertainment (see his 2016 ‘SeaWolf’ film), directing commercial advertising (Ferrari) and writing and developing episodic and feature film projects both in Europe and the US. 

Regardless of format, central to all of Hardstaff’s output is his dual focus on performance and production design. A keen draughtsman, Johnny likes to carefully design the worlds that he imagines and directs. Originally a graduate of graphic design from Saint Martins School of Art (1989-92), Johnny started directing in 2000 (with ‘History of Gaming’ for Sony PlayStation) making it onto the Cannes New Director Showcase a year later (with the follow up – ‘Future of Gaming’). In 2001 he crafted the two track special promo ‘Pulk Pull Revolving Doors / Like Spinning Plates’ for Radiohead and since then his graphic influence has been prevalent in almost two decades of commercial mass-media work (Sony, Honda, XBOX, Smirnoff to name just a few), Johnny winning Golds at Cannes, D&AD, The British Arrows and many others.

Treading the line between art and predominately commerce, Hardstaff’s work has been exhibited at creative institutions around the world including MOMA, Tate Modern, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Laforet in Tokyo, ICA, the V&A and other significant cultural institutes.

Johnny Hardstaff lives and works in London.

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