Meet the local film director who prefers Fiveways to Dubai.

He's worked with the likes of John Malkovich, Ray Winston, and has told The Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts how to play drums. David Ward may not be a familiar name - save to the most avid film buff - but he is an award winning film director who has grand visions for the future.

Originally hailing from Berkshire, Ward has now been a Fiveways resident for four years and is a well-known face in the local community. He speaks with passion regarding the cultural and artistic diversity that drew him to Brighton: ‘I really love the place, there's so much going on and a kind of sense of freedom that you don't get in London' he said.
It's perhaps fitting that I should meet him in the Cleveland Pub, the best local pub he's ever had he assures me! He talks enthusiastically about the range of people who can be found at the pub and the great community spirit. It was also the scene of a chance encounter with film producer and Fiveways resident John Hay, who produced There's Only One Jimmie Grimble amongst other films. The local duo is now embarking upon the feature film Black Monkey, which will see them journey to Los Angeles.

However, Ward is no stranger to the glamorous locations. He has worked all over the world, including one infamous trip to Dubai the day after 9/11. I found myself envious of the places he has visited. Envy turned to disbelief when he said that he would rather be in Fiveways than Dubai! Why? Because he genuinely loves this local community: ‘I love it here, it's great. There's a great community spirit and a great range of local shops' he said. Although he did concede that Dubai does have better weather at this time of year. Really? What could be better than sub-zero temperatures in October!

Ward's many influences include the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar and the Coen brothers. He specialises in short films, black comedies and commercials with his CV boasting some impressive awards, including two Emmy awards and Best Cinematography Award at the Beverley Film Festival for his last film TUG. However, he feels that his career highlight was watching his film All Over Brazil play out at the Berlin Film Festival.

Apart from his film Life in the Ring which was shot on Brighton beach, Ward admits with some frustration, that local influences are largely absent from his work. This is because very little film production actually happens in Brighton despite the large number of successful individuals involved in film who reside here. ‘I'd love to make more films in Brighton, but it's not easy' he said. Ward believes that Brighton as a city does not do enough to promote itself to attract film makers, in stark contrast to Eastbourne which featured in one of the Harry Potter films.

Ward though, is a man of action - perhaps appropriate given his line of work - and not just words. Given the dearth in local film production, Ward now has access to his own local studio where he has the facility to carry out all the elements of film production. His aim, financial restrictions allowing, is to open up the resource to other people.
David Ward has already experienced the thrill of walking down the red carpet at a film festival. Who knows, in a couple of years he could be celebrating a film born in a pub in Fiveways at a much larger film festival. But something tells me he wouldn't swap Fiveways for Hollywood... 

You can see all of David's films online at

Sam Smith


Posted: 25th of November 2008