During his studies at the prestigious design school Penninghen, Thomas Tyman discovered himself a passion for “bringing to life” graphic compositions through motion graphics and video. After graduating in 2004, his first short film experiments led him to direct several music videos and art direct two music videos for Moby: Dream About Me and Slipping Away.
His skill and contemporary style quickly attracted the commercial world and by 2008 he had signed his first films for Match.com, FNAC and Orange.
With a very graphic signature and sleek, modern look, Thomas is just as comfortable coming up with a pop music video for French Touch bands C2C and DSL as he is creating enchanting luxury universes for Chanel Hermès or Van Cleef and Arpels. Thomas was selected as one four up and coming French directors to create the viral campaign for the 30-year anniversary of alternative radio Radio Nova.
Thomas Tyman is the latest director to add film contributions to the J.M. Weston story with the short film "Paris est un ballet" and the music video of "Fade out" from British band Citizens!.
When did you first experience J.M. Weston?
In high school, my best friend at the time wore Weston shoes. They were already in fashion in the early 90s in the corridors of Parisian high schools...
You've made two films for J.M. Weston. Is this the first time you've worked with a shoemaker?
It wasn't for a shoemaker in the true sense of the word but I did once make a film for Hermès shoes.
Masculine elegance is a cornerstone of your work. Are you particularly sensitive to this attribute?
My dad is always very chic and well-dressed and this has made me style-conscious. Capturing the modern man, identifying his new ways of being and transposing them into image is a real playground for me.
What are the cinematic influences behind star dancer Mathieu Ganio's run in "Paris est un ballet"?
A sequence from a Leos Carax film, 'Mauvais sang', where the dancer Denis Lavant performs a sensational dance to David Bowie music. The entire scene is filmed as a lateral tracking shot. I found it incredibly powerful and wanted to borrow it for the "Paris est un ballet" film.
How did you manage to turn the race into a walking dance?
We had to find a good rhythm to avoid a classic sport style and keep the movements light and elegant. Mathieu Ganio has brought that grace to the film without overdoing it. The camera's viewpoint in lateral tracking mode also ensured a real sense of fluidity and minimalism. To my eye, this makes the film light, aerial and linear, like a single dance move. The music puts us in a sort of trance which could be likened to a contemporary dance performance.
The 'Fade Out' video clip by the Citizens! is similar to midnight movies from the 'Rocky Horror Show' genre.
The backdrop and light were intended to mimic the aesthetics of B films with fake spiders' webs creating an overtly kitsch, almost illustrative style like a cartoon.
PFor the actors' performance, I was actually inspired by something a little less refined than the Rocky Horror Show: Scooby Doo and all the farce and exaggeration of the cartoons. I was thinking of a group of friends that finds itself in a seemingly terrible situation. I put this performance idea to the guys in Citizens! just before we started shooting and I think they were great in their roles. I definitely wanted to avoid a heavy clip that takes itself too seriously. I was looking for a casual touch and irony in the style of a B movie. However I still wanted something chic that was both on-trend and elegant through the charisma of the characters and their looks.
What will you remember from filming in the Catacombs?
A damp and pervasive place.
From a star dancer at the Paris Opera to an English pop–rock band, would I be right in saying that the J.M. Weston man appears in many guises?
Weston is worn by a wide variety of people. But elegance and chic are the common denominator.
What symbolises a pair of J.M. Weston shoes for you?
An effective means of seduction.
What three words would you use to describe J.M. Weston?
Timeless, chic and mischievous.