A Creative Life: Zoe McIntosh
Although best known as a hot director at global ’boutique’ production company Sweetshop, Zoe McIntosh still knows how to stay chilled. Read on and you’ll be booking flights to Auckland…
If we want a clue about the magnetic characters and stories of Zoe’s filmmaking, it might be in her fondness for life away from the big city. It’s enabled her to retain a sensitivity to surroundings that permeates award-winning work such as her most recent short, The World In Your Window, which has won a string of prizes around the globe.
Zoe has also shot campaigns for a host of major brands, including ALDI, Cadbury, Sky TV, Spark, ASB and YWCA. She is a former Cannes Lions Young Director of the Year, has judged the D&AD Awards, and has now joined the Cresta Grand Jury.
What is the best thing about living in Auckland?
The best thing about living in Auckland, is the fact that the city and where I live is only a 45-minute drive to the most beautiful beaches.
In which area do you live?
I live in Point Chevalier.
How would you describe the style of your home?
My home is a tiny relocated farm cottage close to the city. It’s modest, warm and homely. Natural light pours in all day and it’s filled with my books, art and a great stereo.
Tell us about your commute.
I don’t really have to be at the office every day, but when I do, I combat the traffic by listening to podcasts.
Do you have a favourite coffee shop near the office?
Eightthirty Coffee Shop is my favourite and they happen to be a short walk from the office.
What’s a typical work day for you?
To be honest, I don’t really have a “typical day”. The beauty about being a director is that every day is different. One day I’m in a casting with actors, then I’m surrounded by an incredibly talented crew shooting, and then another day I’m creative problem solving in an office. Just last week I was filming a tantra workshop, haha. So, it really does vary a lot! But that’s why I adore the job, you are constantly thrown into unusual worlds and are forced to stay curious.
Assuming you don’t have to work late for once, where would you head for a midweek evening out?
I have a roof tent permanently fixed on the top of my 4×4 truck. So, if I had a window of time, I would drive to a surf beach and camp over for the night. A sunset surf, in a stunning environment, followed by nice wine and a simple camp dinner is my ideal way to relax.
If you could only buy clothes from one designer, who would you choose?
Hmm, tricky. Wearing one designer would bore me. It would have to be a designer that had femininity and practicality.
Do you wear anything that has become your ‘signature’?
Not that I can think of. I like variety, so I am always changing it up.
What was your last ‘big’ purchase?
It would have to be my Feldon roof tent. It’s a premium product and it’s pretty much the 5-star hotel of tents. It’s been a lifestyle game-changer. Suddenly Auckland has become a playground and I explore so many new surf spots.
If you were having trouble cracking a brief, what or who would you turn to for inspiration?
Sweetshop (where I work) is filled with talented brains who I often call on. But beyond that, I’m lucky to be surrounded by masses of creative friends. If I’m really stuck or need to creatively unlock something, I find doing something physical and quite different to the task at hand always helps generate ideas and creativity.
Can you recommend a little known area of Auckland that visitors should explore?
Because I’m not really a bit city person, I would highly recommend heading out to our West Coast beaches. Waiheke island is worth the 30-minute boat ride to see the sites and sip on some local wine too.
Do you have a favourite bar or restaurant?
I love eating out in places which have soul, atmosphere and you can feel the people’s passion in their food. For this reason, Coco’s Cantina and Ima Cuisine are my top picks. The food is delicious, hearty and they always have great wine to match.
What do you most look forward to doing at the weekend?
I always look forward to getting in the ocean and surfing with mates. For me it’s the best way to relax and I generate interesting creative ideas. I also love geeking out on my own creative projects or going to exhibitions and reading.
apps, social media platforms and websites do you use most and how?
I’m trying to cut my screen time down these days. In saying that, working in advertising means it is important to stay current. Because so much of what I do is about telling stories through images, I enjoy looking at contemporary photography sites like LensCulture. My favourite app at the moment would be Kupu, it’s a new app which uses the camera in your phone to instantly translate objects into te reo Māori.
This piece was published by Cresta Awards on 27 May 2019.