Q&A – Director Paul Ward tributes running crews in haunting new Puma video

Puma’s new video Outperform is a fast-paced, high energy look at a group of people hanging out, partying and, most importantly, running. The visuals are a departure from your typical inner-city run aesthetic; instead choosing wide open spaces and derelict buildings as the backdrop. Director Paul Ward explains the process behind making the video.

You worked with Daniel Ting Chong as the creative director on this. Have you two worked together often? 
Yeah myself and DTC were the agency for this campaign. I’ve worked with DTC on a number of projects now.

What was the creative process?
The urban running category is a very saturated market these days, in many ways, it’s like the underground club that was rad five years ago, and now everyone goes there so you don’t want to. So when Puma approached PWJDTC (thats me and Daniel’s agency) to conceptualise a film for the category, we wanted to stay away from the inner city, running at night aesthetic, and rather to focus on what made the urban running crews movement exciting in the first place. That was the energy, the attitude, the crew vibe, the fact that they didn’t follow running stereotypes, the fact that it’s a place for people to be themselves, and be loud and proud, and of course unite through running.

Where was this filmed?
The whole shoot was film in Piketberg (Western Cape) and the surrounding area.

Why did you choose Piketberg?
The decision to set the film in a one-horse town, far away from the urban reference, was key for me. I wanted to juxtapose the unique characters against a setting stuck in the past; symbolising to me the old way you think about running — with our performers being the future. The abandoned athletics field in the beginning sets up the idea that in the films world “conventional running” was dead.

I had this classic western cowboy film reference in my head, where outsiders come strolling into town, and everyone shuts the doors and goes inside, but still pears out the windows cause the are intrigued. Those are our performers, they are confrontational and strange to the conventional thought of running, as they go against the grain, and follow their own path not just in running but in all aspects of their life.

Is everyone in it from a Puma running crew?
Yes. All talent was selected from Puma endorsed running crew, from South Africa, Brazil, Paris, Turkey, Dubai.

There’s a party in the video — was it staged?
The party was staged, in that we set up the party environment in the basement of where we were staying, but once the party environment was set up, we had some fun and documented what went down. We had to cut the music every now and then to get some control, but by the time we wrapped it certainly felt like we had partied.

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